So, ETC finally over, home at last.
After traumatic car troubles (in which we were pushing a 4x4 on the highway emergency track at 01:00 am in the middle of rural Greece) and a miserable first day of singles (one narrow win and two depressing losses), the team tournament went surprisingly well, with 5 wins out of 6 for my fearless Cossacks.
I lost 1-6 to Poland's Michal Jozwiak of Sexy Sixes fame (playing Soviet Tanks), and was able to pick up a trick or two from the Polish cavalry players that were of very good use later.
In the second game, I defeated Nemanja Kacavenda of Serbia (playing Italian Bersaglieri) 4-3 after a very hard fought game in which he pushed me to the very limit.
The third game was easier, against Ahmet Ilpars of Turkey (playing US Mechanized). He was not very experienced (just like we were at our first international tournament), so I could allow myself a tempo which saw a comfortable win with a minimum of stress, 5-2.
The fourth game was the hardest and the most taxing, against Maurus Markwalder of Switzerland, playing British Indian Infantry. The game was very open and we had both very good opportunities to secure the win, but a good roll on a skill check saw my mounted Cossacks deny him the objective, while my KVs secured mine, giving me a very hard fought 4-3 win.
The fifth game saw me pitted against Dave Madigan of New Zeeland, playing German Tanks, and I was all over him in the first round, but some bad dice denied me the chance of a successful charge on his tanks and he managed to hold on the objective. As my attack stalled and hope faded, Lady Fortuna chose to smile on me and the pressure got to Dave who moved his troops off the objective by mistake, thus allowing me to grab the win. No bragging rights about this one, and I truly feel for him, but the point was secured and a 6-1 win.
The last game I played was against Stephen Hughes of Scotland (playing German Mechanized). He was severely handicapped by the scenario and the troops he could field proved no match for the mad rush of mounted and dismounted Cossacks. A series of savage assaults saw guns and Panthers being destroyed and the rest was just waiting for turn six and claiming the 6-1 victory.
All my opponents were great guys and even if some of the games were stressful and tense, I enjoyed every one of them. Poland went on to win the trophy ahead of the US and England, while we placed 17th (out of 22). A fair placing, but one still has the feeling that a better place was definitely in for us, had we been more ruthless. We learned a lot however, both tactically and strategically (I was sadly not very good with the pairings and even if we managed to deny our opponents, I wasn’t able to maximize to our advantage – lessons to be learned here). I want to thank my team mates as well for being supportive and giving their best sometimes under stressful and difficult circumstances.
ETC 2016 is over and now the work begins for 2017. Salamanca is where we aim to impress and hope to break through to become a contender for the Top 10.