With an uneventful flight we arrived in Auckland, a little time waiting for our ride and we were on our way to pick up our gear from TNL, who were kind enough to have transported it up earlier for the team.
With a couple of stops for food and liquid refreshments we arrived at our lodgings, the Mineral Park Motel, whereby once we finished unloading we got changed and jumped into the large hot pool that gave the place its name and just soaked in the relaxing atmosphere knowing that we would be doing a lot of running for the next couple of days.
Friday morning and it was a nice early start to get gear ready, get breakfast into us and then travel the 30mins to reach the area that we were to game in, which turned out to be a pretty spectacular and quite large field.
We began to gear up, wondering while we did how the day would turn out because showers had begun to sweep through, a few being quite heavy, this lead to the briefing for the day being delayed.
Eventually we got underway, it turned out the day was not going to be as tight as expected with teams able to turn up to the competition area whenever they wanted to and also splitting their time with a sniper shoot and green opâ€™s as well.
NAC decided to head to the sniper shoot first, we all ended up having a go using the only two sniper rifles available thanks to Nick and Sam. There were three targets at varying distance and the objective was to get two shots onto each within a total 15 minutes which to do so while also being allowed a ranging test shot off each target beforehand, overall the team felt they did well even though a lot of us were not experienced with the airsoft sniper technique.
After the shoot we headed to the competition area where a couple of teams were playing already, the gameplay looked intense and the field was open enough for snipers to get a few shots in. When it was our turn we were briefed that there would be four round robin games, each one different and first up was a capture and hold mission, this involved players holding either the middle stronghold or the opposing teamsâ€™ stronghold.
This seemed pretty straight forward but was anything but when we started, we worked out quickly that it was going to be nigh on impossible to get the enemies base so concentrated on the middle stronghold which we gave the codename â€œcastleâ€.
15 intense minutes later and the game was over, we felt that we had done alright, but there is always room for improvement, so we settled down and reloaded and watered up and waited until we were up next.
Over the course of the next 7 hours we played three more games, these were an object retrieval scenario which we managed to dominate in, then followed a codebreaker scenario that involved players memorising lines of letters and numbers in the correct order and letting the DS know back at the spawn area, turns out we werenâ€™t too bad at this either with our team getting almost all 10 rows of code written, last but not least was the team death match, this was a fast paced 10min game which at the end we found that we had re-spawned 13 times to our opposing teams 35 which felt an amazing achievement considering the excellent opposition that the TAR team put up.
With the day drawing to a close we decided to skip the night game and head back to town for dinner and another soak in the hot pool, with an even earlier start time the next day we all hit the hay early, ensuring our gear was good to go first so all that we needed to do was have a feed then bug out to the field.
We arrived at the field and got our gear on, the weather was still a bit touch and go but cleared up after the briefing.
This was going to be a big day with lots of players and quite a few objectives, we headed out to our HQ, 5 minutes after getting there is was game on, getting straight in to it we charged back to the centre of the field to hold a hill we had passed, the rest of the day went like, a lot of walking, some really good firefights, a bit of miscommunication due to our team leader being in the field as well but otherwise it was an enjoyable day with explosions, UN envoys and artillery to contend with.
It all ended earlier than expected with our team overrunning the enemies HQ and setting off the explosives, sadly our team was not part of this glorious assault as we were holding one of the flanks.
We were all absolutely knackered by the end of this, so it came as a bit of surprise from the officials when they told us that there was a draw in points between us and TAR, which then turned into a couple of points between our teams, so it was agreed that a recalculation would be done and that the final results would determine the winner.
While we waited for this to be done it was time for the individual shooting competition, the last (hopefully) physical activity for the day. We headed to the cqb field to see the set-up, it looked quite interesting involving running three pistol targets with a mag change and two rifle shots on the reverse of the pistol targets. Even though we were all buggered we all put in 100% and most of us came away feeling pretty good about the event.
During this time we were informed that from the recalculation there would not be any need for a rematch, we all heaved a sigh of relief and proceeded back to the van to get changed and cool down before prize giving.
This turned in to quite an unexpected event with the prizes this year being quite substantial with televisionsâ€™, a tablet, a playstation and a ridiculously large bag of bbâ€™s being given out.
This yearsâ€™ prize giving had a sense of de-ja-vu to it with NAC retaining the championship yet again, Nick taking best individual shooter however there were a couple of outstanding surprises with Rhys winning the sniper competition and a TV and given that he had sold his sniper rifle to get to Nationals then borrowed Nicks to participate in the shoot it was priceless, another good surprise was Danny taking second place in the individual shoot, which with this being his first Nationals was an amazing feat and to say he was stoked is an understatement.
With prize giving over it was time to tuck in to the BBQ food, say good bye and head back to the motel for a quick spa. We then suited up and headed in to Auckland to celebrate properly, which meant a trip to the casino.
An unexpected trip down a few blocks to check on Jamie, Nick and Giacamo and a feed from burger fuel we were back on the van heading back to the motel, the trip back being a lot more quieter due to all the sleeping that was going on.
With a good hard sleep behind us we packed up and headed in to the ASGC cqb building for those who hadnâ€™t been before to give it a go, this writer would have played as well but having got there was disappointed to find that it not changed at all in three years since he was last there.
During this time Jamie and Nick turned up, still in suits and looking a little worse for wear as by agreement they had decided to stay in town and continue partying.
With those who played satisfied to have given the field a go we got a feed and then headed back to TNL to pack our gear back in the crate. Then it was on to the airport for our flight back to Nelson and to our much needed sleep in our own comfortable beds to recover from another successful Nationals competition.
Written by Edward NeesÂ (Snakeeyes)