We finished the season a few weeks ago with the world hardcourt bike polo championships. So we headed to Berlin, where cheap beer and the best players of the world were waiting for us. Not only that unfortunately, but also a lot of rain and some tricky courts.
On thursday, about 40 teams played a preliminary tournament to get one of the 14 last spots for the world championships. With our 2nd place at the french championships, we were part of the teams that were already qualified. So our games were to start on friday.
We get 8 games to play between friday and saturday. when we’re done, we have to be part of the 32 best teams (out of 64) to get access to the next step (finals on sunday).
Matt and marmou arrived on thursday morning to support the french teams involved in the preliminary tournament. The Rouen teams DBAA and Broken Legs made it, as well as the Euro Threats, a mixed team consisiting of Edouard and Stephan from Paris and Jono from London. Sadly a big thunderstorms messed things up on thursday evening and made it impossible to play the few remaining games. Our friends René Dadou and Thomas finished 15th partly because of that, so close to the qualification..
We’re all meeting up on friday morning to find out who we’re going to be playing. We get three games on that day: one team from Seattle, The Odds (north american champions this year) and our friends from karlsruhe, Polo d’Oro.
We’re playing our first game of the day on the main court, court number 2, against the second Seattle team. Drew, who played with Seattle Superstars (Leon, Seabass, Drew) last year when the guys came over to europe, and polony, my friend Dave that i had met 2 weeks earlier in London, are part of that team. We’re leading 3-0 quite fast. The atmosphere around the court is already quite good. A lot of people are excited for the Europe vs United States confrontation. I score the last goal and we beat our opponents 4-1
2nd game of the day, on court number 2 again, this time against The Odds. They beat us 4-2, despite the fact that we led the game 2-0 for a little while. We did our best but they were definitely better. The last game of the day is more laid back, as we’re playing against our karlsruhe friends Polo d’Oro (without Recep). We beat them 5 -0 and that’s the end of our first day.
Some the amazing pics taken by just.ekosystem.org
On saturday things aren’t that good, it’s been raining all night and morning and the courts are still wet and slippery. First game against Netto, Mirek and i crash, i hit the wall pretty hard and BOOM, bent frame… At that time we we’re already leading 2-0. The game ends at 3-1, and i don’t have a bike anymore. Fortunately the polo community is one big family and Quentin from the Camel Toe (Rouen) lends me his bike for the rest of the competition.
After a good hour spent switiching the parts from my old bike to Quentin’s, we’re ready to play again. 2nd game of the day is against Los Manguis from Barcelona. The way the guys from barcelona play had been quite harsh on us at the euros so we were a little worried. We win 2-1 in a game that was physical and not always clean, as planned.
I must admit i don’t remember who we played next, but we won. Then we lost 3-2 against Shark Attack in a game in which we messed up. The court was really wet and i’m pretty sure that none of the 6 players brakes were working properly anymore. Anyways, on a court full of water, i’m not surprised that the sharks won over lions.
Last game of the day was quite funny.Marc (Apologie) had mistaken the name of the team we were playing and had told us that we better be careful because they were actually pretty good. We were still quite flustered about the last game (Shark Attack) so we decided to play hard. I scored 5 goals in less than five minutes, which got us these words from one of our opponents at the end of the game “thanks for humiliating us” (Guys if you read this, we’re sorry, go polish bike polo!).
At the end of these 2 days with 6 victories and 2 losses, we’re 12th and qualified for the double elimination tournament. Things are about to get real.
Sunday, our first game is Dans Ta Gueule Puceau. Victory wasn’t out of reach but we did make some mistakes and the Puceaux took full advantage of these. They beat us 3-1.
We’re now in the looser bracket and again we’re meeting a french team, the Rolling Hoods from grenoble. They start really good, leading 2-0. Slowly we’re getting back into the game. I score a first goal with a big shot in between Mapple’s wheels. The Hoods seem tired, Marmou scores a second goal, everything is possible again now. The 2 last minutes are crazy, both the Hoods and us miss the one goal that will kill the game, until i score at 30 seconds from the end. Victory, MGM is still in.
It’s definitely not our lucky day, as we now have to beat Polosynthese (German champions) to get through. they lead quite fast with two big shots from Mo. Matt gets out of the goal and scores. Mo shoots a big one again, that hits Marmou’s arm and falls right into our goal, unlucky. 5 minutes from the end now, I pass to Marmou who shoots and scores. The game is stuck at 3-2, with occasions on both sides, until David definitely steals our last chance when he scores at 30 sec from the end.
4-2, MGM is out and we finish 17th.
The good thing with being out early is that you can watch the other games. My 2 favorites were The Odds/Cosmic3 and machine Politics/Fuck the Border (Mixed team Alexis, Jonny, Kevin).
In the cosmic/The Odds game Todd scores one of the best goals i ever saw.
unfortunately Cosmic won’t make it through. To me They’re definitiely the team with the nicest/most enjoyable game in europe.
The other game i loved was FTB/Machine Politics. Under a pouring rain, the two teams played at their best, not even minding the slippery court. Chicago seemed better but FTB did not let them any rest, catching up at 5 seconds from the end thanks to Jonny Hunter who was 200% into the game. Machine Politics still won but it really could have been FTB.
The end of the tournament was full of surprises and it seems the north american absolute domination is no more. Well sure they’re still 2/3 of the top 3, and these teams were truely one step above all the others. But on the other hand, The Odds, team Smile, and the East Van teams, which all play amazingly, were all kicked out of the tournament by some europeans. And the top 10 compared to last year’s, is quite even.
Last games of the tournaments were awesome. L’equipe confirmed their european superiority by beating the Toros. They played the loosers brack final against Machine politics, who lost the winner bracket’s final to the Beaver boys. The double european champions are defeated in a very intense game. Too intense probably, because the chicago players, who obviously put a lot of effort in it, lack the strentgh to resist the beaver boys. The final is won 5-1 by Milwaukee.
Beaver Boys are the second world champions of the history of hardcourt bike polo. It’s a very complete team that knows how to put physical intensity in their game when it’s needed. They finish the day undefeated. One more time, best team gets the victory.
Some of my favorite pics of the worlds.
© Kevin Walsh, the complete set is here.
© just.ekosystem.org, the complete set is here.
©Marc Sich, Apologie, complete set is here.
©Virginia321, the complete set is here.
© Guidoline, complete set here.
© Steffen Mackert.