And so, we have reached the finals of the biggest and most competitive tournament ever held on European soil!
Whaka-tac had been putting on a show for their home crowd throughout the KO games and the crowd knew they were going to go all out for this final game. But the Austrian Team were by no means going to accept 2nd place. Both teams were going to put their bodies on the line and this would produce some of the best and most passionate plays of the European Tour series in 2019.
The story of the David vs. Goliath, the locals favorites vs. The Underdogs, the 3rd and final set of the European Championships! The crowd were tuned in with 100s of fans wathcing from all over the world.
Watch the final set HERE
Written by Simon Leonard, Ireland
Content by Czech Roundnet & Roundnet World
The Mixed Tournament - Biggest in the history of our sport!
After a long day of playing, organising and partying, the European Community woke up to yet another full day of Roundnet. This event would go down as the biggest mixed tournament in the history of our sport.
At 8:15am ,105 Teams from all over Europe rushed through the gates, some sore from the day before, others fresh and ready to perform at their very best on this beautiful sunny day.
Once more the Communities were welcomed and briefed by a hung-over yet euphoric member of the organisation team, Clemens from Whacka-TaC. After the group photo, none other than the Roundnet Anthem would inject the players with the last ounce of energy and motivation needed for a long day of Roundnet.
The Group stage would again determine which teams would make it through to the Professional Bracket, and which would battle it out in the Advanced, Intermediate and Rookie Brackets. Because of the magnitude of the event, it was impossible to predict which teams would be playing for the title.
An unfortunate head collision on Saturday between Ruth Troughton from UK and another player, meant that Tom Rogers from SJP-Fire lost a very strong partner for the tournament, meaning that one of the favourites for Sunday, HUNDY-P, had to drop out. Nonetheless, there were countless talented players participating on Sunday. Players from top teams like Pacjent-EOE, Streetgang, Whacka-TaC and many more were paired up with the best Female players in Europe. Even getting into the professional Bracket was an achievement to be proud of.
The day rolled on and everywhere you looked there were jaw-dropping rallies taking place. Decorating the side-lines were spectators of all ages and players from Saturday who just wanted to enjoy the day and watch some incredible Roundnet action. And they were not disappointed. The atmosphere and energy coming from the European Roundnet Community did not weaken in the slightest during the day. From the quarter finals the first teams were starting to finish their day and the wall of encouraging spectators started to thicken around the Centre Courts.
The Quarterfinals saw a strong Czech team, Poradna Americka, victorious over a Polish duo (SPIKEPOL). Poradna Americka would go on to face “Klein aber OHO” from Germany, featuring Johanna Schumann who won the Women’s Bracket the day before, paired with a young and incredibly speedy Paul Siemers from 1. Spikeball Club Köln.
Another Quarterfinal saw a very solid mix from Belgium and Germany falling just short of the semi-finals, beaten by a power couple from Cologne, the Nelly Nosebreakers. Merle, who lost her team partner Ruth on Saturday and Tobi from Whacka-TaC, who fell just short of the Men’s title, both had unfinished business and wanted to go home with nothing less than the tournament win. But the road there was tough, and they would have to deal with another force from Germany in the Semi-Final, M&Ms, featuring another uprising top-talent from Cologne paired with another Women’s Finalist from the day before.
Once again there were 3 teams from Cologne in the Semi-Finals. They really weren’t messing around! Could the team from Czech-Republic do what the Austrians managed in the Men’s Tournament?
The first Semi-Final to begin was Poradna Americka against Klein aber OHO. Gabrielle and Johanna who played with each other in the Begium Grand Slams, would battle it out for the spot in the Final. Cheered on by an amazing crowd, deservedly drinking beers and eating fries in the afternoon sun, the teams displayed spectacular rallies. In the end the Czech team didn’t have what it takes to stop the Germans from claiming the Final for their own. The impressive team, Klein aber OHO managed to progress to the Final after 2 Sets.
On the other Centre Court, 2 Cologne Teams were battling it out for their chance to claim the Title. Skill and determination took the upper hand and Nelly Nosebreakers stormed through to the Final. A large oval of spectators got their drinks and food and made themselves comfortable around the 2 matches that would be played next to each other. The small final started timely on of the centre-courts, featuring M&Ms from Germany and Poradna Americka from Czech-Republic. Both teams gave every last bit of energy to make it onto the podium. The experience of the Czech team saw them win the first set, after which the Final would begin.
Introduced by an emotional German with an English accent, slurring his words thanks to a long day of drinking beer, the finalists were met with a massive round of applause by the European Roundnet Community. The players, who knew each other very well on and off the playing field, made it very clear that fair play, respect and the passion for the Sport is the number one priority in the German Roundnet community. And finally, in true German style Lukas Schmandra kicked off the Final by the popping a bottle of champagne. “Let the Final of the biggest mixed Roundnet tournament begin”
The sun was low, partly hidden behind the nearby trees and the dust from the crop circle around the net entered the air. Over 100 lucky spectators were about to witness history. Nelly Nosebreakers took the first Set, whilst on the neighbouring pitch the determined Czech team, Poradna Americka sovereignly fought their way onto the podium, beating M&Ms in 2 Sets to 0.
The oval reformed around the Final, moulding a perfect circle around the last Centre Court. Klein aber OHO gave everything they had left, but it wasn’t enough to beat the more experienced couple from Cologne, runners-up in the mixed championship in 2018. Nelly Nosebreakers won the match in 2 Sets. Seconds after the last point, both teams were in each other’s arms and were swarmed by the Cologne Roundnet Community. The congratulations were as much for Klein aber OHO as they were for Nelly Nosebreakers. Both teams had come an extremely long way, and Klein aber OHO knew that on this day, they had no reason to be disappointed.
Tobi from Nelly Nosebreakers told us that “The win felt so good after coming so close in the Mens tournament with Whaka-tac and because of how fun the Mixed final was too”. Tobi continued to say that “playing at home and winning at home was so special. I was so proud of what the German and European Community had achieved over this weekend.”
And so, the historic tournament came to an end. Emotions were running high, especially for the organisation team who had spent more than a year preparing for the event. Hours and Hours of planning had gone into making the tournament what it was. Clements told us that "Being part of this Organisation Team, it was worth every second. The gratitude from the European players was overwhelming, and we couldn’t have hoped for a more successful tournament."
Hard work and planning formed the Structure of the tournament, but the passion, friendship and respect of the European Roundnet Community filled the weekend with an unparalleled atmosphere. Thank you for making this possible.
Written by Clemens Von Hanisch, Germany
Content by Roundnet Club Kloen, Czech Roundnet and Roundnet World