It was finally upon us.
The first tour of the 2015 season for DreadLAX. We had a few new faces, plenty of regulars and high hopes as we arrived in Wroclaw on the Thursday. We had until Saturday before our first game but DreadLAX like to get acclimatised to the surroundings, meet the locals and hit the field feeling comfortable.
Thursday saw us revisit our spiritual home, the 24 hour bar around the corner from the hostel and did a tour of the local area to soak up the afternoon sun. At around nine in the evening the first of our Austrian friends arrived. We settled them in with a few jägerbombs and got to know each other!
Friday was the day the rest of the team was arriving and we had plans to do a bit of a walking tour around the town for those who haven’t been before. As we all emerged in the morning we headed to the river.
When we arrived at the river we spotted a pontoon with deckchairs, plenty of space and a well stocked bar, all basking in the morning sun.
When the rest of the team arrived around lunch time they came to find us and joined in with what became a fantastic day of team bonding, chicken eating and beer drinking. That evening we were taken to a local Italian by our guide and head supporter Magda. Later on the rest of our Austrian support, the offensive juggernaut (TM) Gaby Wagner and Christoph Kunert who was massively helping us out with a rare run in D this weekend.
Once again in the evening we met up with some of the local team who are always amazingly welcoming in their town.
Saturday was day one of the tournament and we arrived for our game against a team from Belgium, the Beasts. They were amazingly well drilled and led by their coach Greg they looked a serious contender for the title this year.
We came out of the blocks too slowly, didn’t take the game seriously enough and succumbed to defeat in our first game, putting out title hopes in serious trouble. On to game two against a representative team from the second division of the Polish Lacrosse League.
The opposition featured last year’s DreadLAX keeper Kacper who split his time between manning the pipes and the other end of the field in attack. Despite some scares we ground out a 6:3 win and hoped we’d done enough to go through, ideally with a favourable draw in the quarters…
We’d done enough, but we didn’t get a nice quarter final draw.
We had to face the Latvian team Druva Dynamite in the afternoon. Although first timers at Silesia we have seen them before at other tournaments including as champions in last years Austrian Open.
They were a physical team but they were much more than thugs with sticks, they could play some nice lacrosse. Despite putting some pressure on early in the second half we came out to a rough defeat 11-3. We were outplayed but still put some good periods together and felt we should have given a much better showing. The top shelf at Dread Towers would have to save a spot for next year…
We discussed the plan for the next day over a few last beers at the ground and headed back in to town to get ready for the tournament party.
We made our way to the party at a bar in what seems to be a disused industrial estate. Despite it’s inauspicious surroundings the bar is fantastic and has seen many a game of flunky ball in previous years and many moons ago was the place we learnt three man. We had to make sure we gave this place the respect it deserves so we set up camp on our favourite table, ordered a round and got the dice out.
Many hours later we had made some new friends, discovered the dangers and delights of hazelnut vodka, and gradually made our way to bed somewhat later than we had originally planned.
Sunday was our last day in town. Unlike previous years we had to leave Sunday night rather than Monday morning which was a huge disappointment, for us and for the tournaments beer tent.
We had the morning game against Grom Warsaw, the team who knocked us out of last year’s semi finals in another morning game after the tournament party…
This year however we came out firing and put in a 10-4 win to salvage some pride and show that sometimes (and only sometimes) DreadLAX can play in the morning.
We had a gap before our final game to unleash the water balloon sling for a few more rounds and await our fate in the fifth place play off. We quickly found out we would be playing a team making their debut in the tournament, SIS Storm from Czech Republic.
We closed out our 2015 Silesia Cup appearance with a 10-4 win to clinch fifth place, a few lower than we had hoped but we could go away with our heads held high having only lost to the two finalists, Belgium Beasts and Druva Dynamite.
With a few beers to watch the final with it was a good afternoon to sit in the sun chatting and making trades with the other teams. The final was a physical affair and the favourites Druva pulled out some impressive plays and some solid D to take an 11-4 victory.
Although we had to leave early we had a fantastic time in Wroclaw as always, and although we didn’t play our best we showed at times how we are capable of performing on the field. With two box and three field tournaments remaining in 2015 we have plenty of opportunities to put in some work!
Many thanks for the host organisers, and the whole club, for making us so welcome once again and we hope to see you next year.
Pictures courtesy of Magdalena Bodzioch and the Silesia Cup Facebook page