Every June the annual VX Festival is ran at the national center of excellence in Ripon. This event is one of the largest of the year containing competition for Seniors, Juniors, Imps and Cadets. As you can already probably tell there are a lot of players at this event and lots of action to spectate on, making one of the best events to attend throughout the season. The events within the festival names are: Imps/Cadets V4, Junior V4, Junior V10 and Senior V10. The later being the focus of the clubs at York.
The York VX Club was able to produce a team for the event this year, similar to one of 2 years ago, in the sense of it being a combined York Team. Both Phoenix and Raiders fought side by side this year with a 7 man strong team looking for the 3rd year in a row of winning the Senior event here. With only two games to play with a knockout format, every match, every quarter, every second mattered to each player as they battled it out against Scunthorpe, Easi-Rockits and Ripon.
From the start of the event, Ripon had to forfeit their matches. Having players drop out at the last minute, what would have been a team to watch and a high contender for the title was left in the mist, only playing friendly games to full fill the fixture slots. This had meant that Easi-Rockits had a straight road to the final with their first game being Ripon. With this in mind, the very first teams onto the court, Scunthorpe vs York, were more determined than ever to make sure they would make it to the final and what a game it was.
With Head Coach Carl Alsop unable to attend the event, assistant coaches Scott Snowdon and Jack Brown took the helm of the mixed squad for York. Scunthorpe had turned up to the event with what looked and soon to prove to be one hell of a strong team. With 8 players, each with their own unique set of skills, this was most certainly not a team that would go down without a fight. From the off it was intense and the mixed team of York struggled at first to get into their usual groove of power play. Scunthorpe played a very controlled game, making sure they retrieved every ball they through making it near impossible for the York team to get possession back. The first quarter finished with only about 10 points between the teams, with York in the lead. The second quarter saw the same display, only Scunthorpe began to bring back the deficit. York looked to have an intense half time talk and came out looking far stronger. Scunthorpe unable to cope with the new found pace and gel of the York team, struggled to hold their close points difference. The final quarter mimicked the third ending the game with York having a rough 20 point lead. After the game the York players agreed that Scunthorpe had been their hardest game all season.
York had a long wait between their first game and the final against Easi. A lot more confident against their local rivals, York went into the game more relaxed, know the weaknesses and tactics of the team that stood before them. The game was fast and great to spectate with lots of individual intense battles sprouting all over the court. York were confident at the start and had every right to be ending the game with over a 100 point difference. A well deserved win of the event.
Spectating the York squad you could really see that they had stepped up their game. The raiders players adapted massively to the Phoenix type tactics and brought a whole new level of skill to their game. The Phoenix players created an automatic bond with the Raiders players and the squad as a whole looked as though they played as a team in every event.
Overall it was a great day and a fantastic day for York, winning the National Knockout for the 3rd year running. A great mention at the end of the event was to Alex Stephenson who came runner up in the Player of the Tournament award. Well done Alex, your efforts and recent performances are really making an impact.