DreadLAX embarked on their second tour of the summer with a trip to Vienna for our first appearance in the Austrian Lacrosse Open (ALO). With several last minute drop outs (through varying combinations of injury, budgeting and ineptitude) we took a squad of just 11. As is our aim, the squad was very international comprising of British, German, Dutch and Polish players some of whom had made some serious road journeys to make it.
Arriving on Thursday night for the welcome party at the fields we met up with our friends from Bulgaria and some of the Vienna White Coats team. As the party wound down we headed to town with a couple of the White Coats and found ourselves in a bar named Chelsea’s where it became apparent that come midnight we would have a birthday boy in the team.
After a few too many jägers, a cab ride home and one lost northerner we arrived back at the hostel to find the Dutch had arrived and were keen for a beer to catch up with the rest of the team.
Friday morning saw the start of the games, we were drawn to play Slavia Praha and a Vienna combined team, both on a very slippery grass pitch. We started poorly against Slavia and eventually lost to a well drilled team, the game was sloppy but we should have done better and would come to regret our slow start to the tournament. Next game we beat the mixed Vienna team who were severely weakened by the lack on Austrian national players.
Some of the teams in attendance looked very handy but we felt we could match up to them if we gelled as team and began to play like we knew we could.
Putting aside our disappointment of the early loss we hit the beer tent and got out the dice. We mingled with the teams from Germany, Austria, Latvia and Switzerland and shared games and stories from previous tournaments. By the end of the night we’d spread the good word of DreadLAX far and wide, given Ultravox some well-deserved air time (Oooh Vienna…) and despite the home made Rakia bought by the Bulgarians we’d had a smashing time.
The bar at the ground had to shut so we had to leave and made our way back across town to the hostel to regroup for the morning’s quarter final against our final opponents from the Silesia cup, the Bratislava Tricksters.
We put up a fight against the Tricksters but didn’t get the result. A few more big dodgers and some training together for the defence might have been the difference but in the end we lost to a good side to put us out of the running for the competition. We had to put it behind us and concentrate on our remaining placing games and enjoying the rest of the weekend, something we take very seriously.
We watched some good quality lacrosse and chilled out in the sun ready for our last game of the day against one of the Latvian teams. Both Latvian teams showed the kind of dedication that shows exactly why DreadLAX love European lacrosse so much, they bought a bus down to Vienna for the tournament, which was a 20 hour trip each way!
The game was rough with the Latvian’s showing some of the aggression their national team is famed for and their attack outsizing our defence comprehensively. Despite a few ‘moments’ the game was largely enjoyable but another poor team performance from us gave them the victory and a hot at 5th place in the tournament. The loss meant DreadLAX had a tricky 10am face against Bundeswehr (the German military academy team) the morning after the tournament party.
After the previous night’s excellent bar entertainment we settled in to watch the last few women’s games and got to know our host bar staff even better. The beers were flowing, as was the jäger and we joined in with the Austrian/German equivalent of a conga before eventually making our way across town to prepare for the tournament party.
The party was in a club in town and we arrived fashionably late after negotiating our way across town. The bar’s projector showed a slideshow of the pictures from the tournament and the bar was suitably stocked for a great party with players from all over Europe!
We made the 10am face and began the game slowly going a couple of goals down early on. The start of the game was not great with neither team playing their best lacrosse after an early start, the second half picked up however and we played some good offence against a solid D unit from the Germans. Despite a strong second half we lost the game and ended up eighth in th e tournament, a very disappointing placing given the standard of our roster.
We should be able to take some lessons from this though and it is all a learning experience as we become better at blending players from all over Europe into a team.
As always the ALO was a fantastic weekend with a perfect mix of good organisation, good lacrosse and great partying to be had. A disappointing display on the pitch hasn’t didn’t tarnish the excellent weekend we had and I’m sure many of the roster will be keen to return.
Two tours down for the summer and now our attentions turn to the Tilburg Lacrosse Cup in the Netherlands at the end of July!