I remember clearly i started of this tournement with a match against Simon K.
I played him in Reading (last summer) and I can, after my two games vs him in Newent, say that he is an improved ko2-player. He started very well in the first game (7-2) and took deserverdly the lead in that match. After that 1-0 opening he missed several clear chances in a row. Had he nailed a few of those he could have pulled of a shock in that opening game. Second game was a different story (9-2)
Simon K was in the race for the second place in this tournament with just second rounds left. He did create quite a lot, at least against me, so I would suggest that for sure his midfield has improved since i played him last.
Next up was James Beard
. I played him in Rickmansworth two years ago, this in one of the more entertaining matches I have been involved in (6-6), too bad very few watched it back then. Considering my undoubted improvment after that tournament I started of in confidence I would do well. However, my confidence was more or less lost after only minutes into the first match. After 3-2 and 1-3 against James I consider myself as very lucky winning one of the matches. I do not know how many distance shots my keeper saved in that 3-2 win. Without my keeper pulling of a "man-of-the-match" performance in that 3-2 match, I would have lost it. In the second match I hardly had any shots at all and thus lost it (1-3).
I have during the latest 12 months played lots of opponents in the 5 tournaments I have partipicated in (Rome, Ostersund, Milano, Newent and Copenhagen) and I can without hesitation say that James defence is the best i have played against during this period, and I have played really good players this year, Gianluca, Gianni, Alkis, Luigi to mention a few. Just as in the other matches I did not miss any good chances really, I could hardly create any chances at all vs James defence, wich I again must state is of superb quality. Impressive performance, I cant belive you have never won a Newent
Next was Nick H
, alias 4fries (Robert had to tell me the story behind that nickname on the way back). Nick is also the first real football coach I have played against in kickoff2. He was troubled with my blc in the first match (15-1) but defended against them much better in the second match (9-0)
It is a shame I was too stressed thinking about my ko2-gameplay, that I never thought (until it was too late) about asking Nick about his work as a football coach must be like.
Severly improved player, Steve E
was next opponent. I was nervous before this match, this when i knew he was capable of doing damage. I think he did well in the first game (6-3) when that was a very tight game until the end of the match. The 6-3 result does not reflect that match very well, he could easily have taken point(s) from that. His performance in this game is a very good proof for me that he is a better ko2-player than he were in Reading. Next game was a different story (10-1)Robert S.
was coming up next. If winning against Robert I would be in great position for winning the tournament. I also had revenge to claim vs my (rather large) defeat vs him in Milano earlier this year. When this is a tight affair beforehand, and when I know Robert is a player that is rather perform better than worse in matches that matters, I was not very confident about winning. I had defenitely not counted with a doublewin vs him that evening (7-5, 8-5).
What i like much about kickoff2 is that you play so many different styles and tactics. Robert is a typical pbd-player. I find his frontmans dribbling as very difficult to deal with. I have accepted that when I play Robert I´ll leak a few because of these dribbling-skills of his.
Matches vs Garry
: Just as I know that Steve E. had improved, i knew beforehand that Garry would be stronger now in comp. with when i played him in Reading. I recall I was a bit nervous because of this. I did create quite a lot in both these matches vs Garry and had two good wins (10-1, 7-2). A shame we did not have as much time as we had in Reading, when I would not have had anything against a few beers and some ko2-tactic-talk with Garry after this tournament.
About my own
gameplay im very happy that my finishing did not click. Even if nervous, i did tend to score from a good/decent chance (this time without beer as well!). I hope I can perform like this in the upcoming worldcup as well, then I might be able to do some damage against the elite-players.
A small minus that Jon Greenway was not able to sort that window out in time, it would have been great playing him again.
Again, thanks for steering this tournament after my availability. Im very grateful for that.
At last, James: sign up for the world cup, with that defence you can defeat anyone.