The British Esports Association Championships kicked off its Rocket League Winter Qualifiers on Wednesday October 7th with an absolute belter of a clash between the Barnsley Griffins (Barnsley College) and Queen Mary Samurai (Queen Mary’s College).
Quade Simpson provides a recap of the match and looks at what else happened in the Championships.
In the first minute from kick off, the two sides were testing one another out, with a lot of hustling in the midfield. However, the game leapt into life thanks to Broccoli on the side of the Samurais, who blocked an attack by the Griffins and sent the ball to the other end of the pitch and into a vacant goal, giving QM Samurai an early advantage.
The battle of midfield commenced for over two minutes before we got the second goal in this intense opening match. After an unfortunate double commit by the Samurai Baka and Broccoli, their goal was left gaping and all it took was for the ever-poaching Virtualls to seize his opportunity to level it up at 1-1.
With a smell for blood, the BSA Griffins hounded QM Samurai and tried to take advantage of their lacklustre defending. With 30 seconds left in game one, who else but Virtualls – the Griffins powerhouse – to save the day? He came charging through the air to smash the ball into the top bins to make it 2-1, securing the Griffins a win in the opening game.
Unfortunately for the Samurai, the Griffins charged out into game two with different tactics. Intense pressure, faultless passing and clinical finishing, all culminating in the opening goal. With some nice play, the Griffins took an early lead courtesy of B1ngs07. Moments later, Virtualls nicked one on the goal-line as the ball from CivvicZ hurtled towards him, giving the oranges a 2-0 lead.
It soon became apparent that the Griffins’ confident double commits “could be exploited”, as identified by caster Tidsu.
Bread gave the Samurai a fighting chance, with a rather lucky deflection which saw the ball bounce off of Virtualls to find its way into the Griffins goal. 2-1. Game on.
With the fighting spirit they showcased throughout all five games, the Samurais came from 2-0 down to equalise at 2-2, with Baka pouncing onto a wall shot from Broccoli to take us into Overtime.
But the fairy-tale Samurai comeback was halted by the Griffins, as CivvicZ slotted home the overtime winner, seizing the ball after a speedy counter-attack. QM Samurai finished with more shots than the Griffins (7) but could not take their chances.
Things heated up further in game three Within the first few minutes, there were countless midfield dispossessions, scurries up the wall and multiple demolitions. Welcome to the British Esports Rocket League Championships.
A Baka own goal saw the Griffins take the lead at 1-0 with 2:30 left on the clock. No later than 20 seconds after and Baka found redemption, with arguably the best goal of all five matches. He dead-touched the ball, seeing it loft over B1ngs07 and CivvicZ, took on the shot and slotted it past Virtualls. The touch, the movement and the finish in a 3v1 situation was simply sublime.
With game number three reaching its final minutes it became abundantly clear that if you wanted to control the game, you had to shut down Virtualls. He was fast becoming the MVP, dictating play, controlling the tempo and moving up the pitch with precision and power.
With 48 seconds on the clock, Virtualls blasted home the much needed goal for the Griffins, making it 2-1. And just ten seconds after his last goal, the man of the match Virtualls scored again. 3-1. It was game over for Queen Mary’s.
But QM Samurai pressed on. They hurtled into game four looking like a team who were on top, not losing. Five seconds in, boom, a demolition (demo). Five seconds later, a demo again.
However it was the MVP Virtualls who opened up the scoring, taking the Griffins into the lead.
After almost three whole minutes of midfield mayhem, Broccoli smashed home the equaliser off the crossbar and then CivvicZ caressed the ball into the goal soon after for the opposition, securing the Griffins their fourth game win.
It could have been a different story.
Caster TofuElliot said: “The Samurai are unlucky not to have a game on the board yet, they could quite easily have taken any of the first three games”.
However, much to their dismay, CivvivZ scored inside the first minute for the Griffins, slotting the easy chance into an empty Samurai net. Bread and Baka flaunted their mid-air prowess halfway through the final game, elegantly double-touching the ball off of the backboard from one to the other. No goal came from it, but it was beautiful, like an artist with a paintbrush effortlessly demonstrating their craft.
Barnsley’s B1ngs07 delivered a fatal 2-0 blow to the Samurais and a minute later CivvicZ got his brace, securing the win for his team. The Griffins took all five games.
MVP (most valuable player): Virtualls, Barnsley College
Goal of the match:: Baka, Queen Mary’s College – Game 3
What the winners said: ‘A fantastic feeling’
Tyler Holmes, Level 3 Esports student and Rocket League Captain, said on this FE News post: “It felt really good to win and to perform in front of over 18,000 viewers, it’s always going to be a fantastic feeling after we’ve worked so hard in the try outs.
“It’s fantastic to be in form again and I hope we can carry this through the season, also huge praise goes to my fellow students Jason Bingham and Charlie Stoke. We communicated excellently throughout, working on our strategies in between rounds – which is something you don’t see on the stream. I can’t thank them enough, and we now need to stay complacent and humble. We can iron out the bumps with some more playtime and continue to improve.”
Kalam Neale, Sport Curriculum Leader at Barnsley College, added: “Featuring live on the British Esports Association stream was a great honour and a fantastic experience for our students. It marked a milestone in our esports journey and to see what started as an idea in 2018 turn into such an amazing experience yesterday for our students and staff is a huge achievement for everyone at Barnsley College.”
What else happened in the Championships?
Elsewhere in the Championships, in Group 1 the Derwent Steelers and Luxinate Esports both won their opening games, joining the Griffins at the top of the leaderboard.
In group 2, there were opening wins for the FisherFalcons RL 2 and the QM Samurai 2. The West Suffolk Wolves also won, seeing them join the other winners at the top of the table, securing our top 3 going forward in group 2.
Alva Alliance Esports sit at the top of table 3, ABSG esports for group 4 and Clyde Comets for group 5. Group 6 has Buteos sitting at the top.
Click here to see the Rocket League Winter Qualifiers standings so far.
Our League of Legends qualifiers also got off to a blistering start and we have this week’s matches live at twitch.tv/britishesports from 4pm BST Wednesday October 14th. FCOT Legends are currently top of the LoL overall leaderboard.
Click here to see the LoL Winter Qualifiers standings so far.
Our Overwatch Championships saw 16 teams win in their opening matches, already making for tough competition within the first week. Arthur Terry, BSA Griffins and BSFC all sit comfortably in the top three as we move into our next week of qualifiers.
Click here to see the Overwatch Winter Qualifiers standings so far.
Tune in to this week’s League of Legends match on Wednesday October 14th at 4pm BST at twitch.tv/britishesports
“Featuring live on the British Esports Association stream was a great honour and a fantastic experience for our students. It marked a milestone in our esports journey and to see what started as an idea in 2018 turn into such an amazing experience yesterday for our students and staff is a huge achievement for everyone at Barnsley College.”
Kalam Neale, Sport Curriculum Leader, Barnsley College