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For one very special weekend we are honoured to welcome to Birmingham our friend and international KOA guest, Volker B, co-organiser of the 2010 KOA World Cup.

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We all know people we instantly click with and Volker is certainly among them for me. And he’s fitted in/put up with our hectic household just fine too, and when my youngest Ellie gave Volker a farewell hug, I knew he was like part of the family already!

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Yep, I was thrilled to hear of Volker’s plans to visit and the prospect of a KOBRA International.  Given he’d made such a journey and out of respect of his playing experience in Germany we agreed to play two tourneys with two different settings. To start with we played with slides (i.e autofix and trapfix=N) Just like when you first take a dip in the sea, returning to these icy waters, was a bit of a shock to my system, but like venturing into the sea, it’s worth it in the end!

Garry C 3 – 5 Simon K
Garry C 5 – 5 Steve E
Volker B 4 – 2 Garry C

I can’t excuse myself with autoslide penalties or the like but my evening got off to a slow start. No matter how I much I tried to impose myself in my opener against Si, it was never enough, and Si always had another goal up his sleeve, winning 5-3. Things were looking up after the 10-goal thriller against Ste which ended an amicable 5-5. I was unbeaten in our practice games earlier but now it was time for competition Volker. Volker seemed to step up a gear and I felt powerless losing 2-4. At least Volker claimed his first KOBRA victory – shame it had to be against me!  After round one, I was bottom of the league without a win.

Simon K 5 – 6 Garry C
Steve E 5 – 6 Garry C
Garry C 5 – 0 Volker B

Round two and it was time to up my own game! Revenge wasn’t so sweet in another close battle against Si though i was grateful for 3 points at last. Another high scoring battle followed with Ste, with me edging it this time, 6-5. My second round revival was complete with a 5-0 victory over Volker which pushed me up to joint-second in the league. The first title, however, went to the man with the best defence once again, Simon K! Well done mate!

FULL RESULTS

Steve E  5 – 2  Volker B
Garry C  3 – 5  Simon K
Garry C  5 – 5  Steve E
Simon K  6 – 3  Volker B
Steve E  4 – 3  Simon K
Volker B  4 – 2  Garry C
Volker B  2 – 6  Steve E
Simon K  5 – 6  Garry C
Steve E  5 – 6  Garry C
Volker B  1 – 4  Simon K
Simon K  4 – 3  Steve E
Garry C  5 – 0  Volker B

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For the second tourney we reverted to slidefree settings (i.e autofix and trapfix=Y), and form-wise for me it continued from the second round of the previous tourney.

Steve E 4 – 8 Garry C
Garry C 4 – 2 Simon K
Volker B 3 – 7 Garry C

It started with a bang too, with probably my biggest win over Steve ever. Not that the match was ever that one-sided, not that it ever could be! The game remained close in goals until my second half purple patch of goals where almost everything went in, and for once put me out of reach of Steve. I must point out, however, that Ste had considerable joystick problems during the night and had to contend with switching between two different sticks, which is always a major distraction.

Next up I then had the equally tough challenge of resurgent Si. Bit of a gruelling encounter to be honest where I was behind 1-2 but managed to perservere to secure a signifant 4-2. I was on my way but knew next I would be facing my rollercoaster friend!  Although I come out on top of this thrilling 7-3, this scoreline belies several ups and downs, with Volker once again taking the lead against me, iirc. My 100% start put me top of the league and feeling on top of the world!

Garry C 3 – 5 Steve E
Simon K 3 – 3 Garry C
Garry C 6 – 2 Volker B

More of the same, I told myself, keep it going with more of the same. I tried to push from my memories thoughts of tournies where I suffered a second half collapse. But this wasn’t going to happen (or was it?) because against Steve I was quick out of the blocks again with a 3-0 lead within 90 seconds! Even though Steve clawed one back before HT I still felt comfortable. Think the Evil one had a teamtalk with himself during the interval because second half he performed big style, not only repelling everything I could throw at his defence but reversing the deficit to complete a quality 5-3 win.  Refusing to accept that things could go crumbly again, I was up against it when playing Si. 1-3 down with roughly 45 seconds on the clock, I summoned Kobraman once more, and claimed a memorable, get-out-jail 3-3. A key moment for me.

My first KOBRA title beckoned but Volker stood in my way. If I lost and Si won, he could have got the double!! Ste too could claim the title if my Kobracoaster hit a sudden dip at the end. As it happened, I held my nerve against Volker who although had lost the game, ended it with a swagger of a walk-of-shame goal. We both laughed, as it kinda sent the message, ‘you might have won this time, Garry, but tomorrow’s another day!’ Nevertheless he gracefully congratulated me on my first KOBRA title, as did Si and Ste, for which I take a little pride!

The more I reflect about the evenings events the more I was pleased to be able host a gathering where we were able to easily and conveniently play with two different sets of preferences. I appreciated more than ever the KO2CV 1.04 features. I’m sure they’ll be many who disagree with me and maybe I’m getting too idealistic but I feel the APT choice has great potential. Although I agree that its almost always likely to be used where both players select the same (autofix and trapfix) settings, this is still a far from useless option. Having this choice as you enter a game (rather than being tucked away in the options menu where you might forget to reset it afterwards) means it gives the opportunity for both players to consider each others preferences, perhaps to reach some compromise even! It certainly aided proceedings at last nights KOBRA imo.  Maybe, just maybe, 1.04 enables all of us to be more sporting and make gestures of fair play that hadn’t previously been possible in quite the same way? And that has surely got to be for the good of the KOA.

FULL RESULTS:
Volker B  3 – 3  Simon K
 Steve E  4 – 8  Garry C
 Steve E  7 – 1  Volker B
 Garry C  4 – 2  Simon K
 Volker B  3 – 7  Garry C
 Simon K  4 – 3  Steve E
 Simon K  6 – 0  Volker B
 Garry C  3 – 5  Steve E
 Volker B  3 – 3  Steve E
 Simon K  3 – 3  Garry C
 Garry C  6 – 2  Volker B
 Steve E  7 – 5  Simon K

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