Bad Santa 2012
Jono is currently living in Bris Vegas and travelled to Melbourne last weekend to compete in Bad Santa as The Sleighers (excuse the pun) with Danny (of Be.Right.On fame) and Daniel (of Sydney bike polo fame), here’s a write-up.
Unfortunately Erin and I missed the Friday night party as we didn’t fly until Saturday morning (at 4am no less), but apparently it was great and was held at Will’s new bike shop (Swift Whip).
The tournament itself was held across two courts in Flagstaff Gardens, the surroundings were idyllic and the playing surface was incredibly smooth (think Hackney Downs). The boards were a little low, but you can’t have it all.
Day one involved 6 rounds of swiss for qualification and was a joy from start to finish, one of our most fun games was against Dog Soccer which despite being a tie was fast and frantic throughout. We managed to eek out marginal wins in all our other games to be seeded first for day two.
The other teams that were playing well were NASFWG (fast breaks with great link-ups between Ned and Scott), Melbourne Anchor (Anja’s playing particularly well at the moment and was linking up well with Damon and Lee) and Polo Face (Erin, Jamie and “Big Shot” Ollie).
Day two meant double-elimination and Polo Face were off to a bad start after Baby Jamie’s bike was destroyed by a large truck (with a driver that had particularly poor vision?), the bike was run over whilst it lay on the grass by the courts! Jamie took it all in his stride and played his remaining games on a loaner bike.
Sleighers had a good start and were linking up more successfully as the day progressed. Polo Face dispatched Dog Soccer and Sleighers dispatched Melbourne Anchor to face each other in the winner’s semi-final. We came back during the winner’s semi to narrowly steal a win against Polo Face and a place in the final. In the loser’s bracket NASFWG beat Dog Soccer (despite losing to them earlier in the day), Melbourne Anchor beat NASFWG and Polo Face beat Melbourne Anchor to replay us in the final.
It was decided that there would be one epic untimed final to keep the crowd happy (they rarely do a double-final in Australia). The final was great fun with friendly banter throughout and LOTS of crowd support/heckles, both teams were defending well which turned the final into an epic 45 minute endurance test. There was only ever one goal in it and after some tense plays Danny managed to score the deciding goal… it really could have gone either way.
Melbourne put on a great show with a free BBQ each day (veggie and meat), free Gatorade to help keep the players energised in the heat, a polo boom box, player-brewed ice cold beer on tap and a washing service after day one for your sweat-soaked kit! Australian polo has improved ten-fold since the Sydney Bench Minor I attended in February 2011 and the active spectating/support/heckles here makes for an awesome atmosphere.
Thanks to everyone for such an awesome weekend, especially Danny and Lucy who were epic hosts (vegan breakfast for the win) and my team mates who were a joy to play with. Below is a quick video edit that should give you a feel for the event (I only had enough free space for the first 10 minutes of the final, oops):
All images copyright of Will Jetnikoff.