|Date||27th - 29th September 2019|
|Venue||Figueiró dos Vinhos, Portugal|
|Players||Brexit, HammerTime, Hamster, Juice, Ricktion, MrP, Rocket, Silent BOB|
|Hangers on||Jim Warped, Mandy, Jenna|
|Result||Win / Win|
Paintugal is the one of the highlights of the paintball calendar. The game is alongside beautiful surroundings, culture, wonderful hospitality and and very heavy drinking that all mix to offer a great time.
It is also located in a five dimensional hyper-parabola, meaning that no matter your orientation you are always running uphill. This, combined with the huge amounts of pork and cheese make it a top quality location to have your first cardiac event.
It also is paired with Europe’s largest and longest awards ceremony, Awardugal. This regularly lasts several months, with huge portions of Portugal’s economy dedicated to producing raffle tickets, prizes and other award related items.
Once again, this year's Portuguese pilgrimage was started with Ricktion's Transit van departing UK shores laden with the team's equipment and new for this year, UEs very own salad hating Hamster. This provided a suitable offset for Ricktion's vegan footprint. The van worked its way down through France and Spain, eventually arriving in Portugal about a week later.
Despite looking like a homeless troupe they enjoyed some cultural interchange, drinking Bordeaux in Bordeaux and Port in Porto. As they say... when in Rome!
It must be noted that the van did not visit the biblical city of Sodom.
The rest of the team contingent followed several days later (Friday) catching flights from the UK and the Netherlands. With the full UE force, converging on Porto airport we proceeded the drive to Figueiró dos Vinhos where we had rented out our very own vineyard which conveniently came with accommodation and a pool.
This year also marked a new era where UE are able to officially claim the title of 'Most Dutch team in attendance', clearly putting our brothers in arms, Lima Bravo in their place. Lima Bravo could not attend this year, as they were still at the final stages of Awardugal 2018, which was just starting to wrap up.
The Friday evening was a relaxed affair, with us deciding to have a barbeque. With food and drinks acquired we proceeded to crack open our potations and admire our surroundings. It was not long before we were joined by a number of our Portuguese brothers (and sisters) who, after a small amount of chest beating, rubbing of sticks together and chanting, had whipped up a raging fire with which they then proceeded to cook the food. Cheers lads! A fine start to Paintugal 2019.
A relaxed start to the day saw us tuning into a the rugby, with a very cosmopolitan commentary in German. England delivered a stunning Japanese result, beating favourites Ireland. Even more surprising Hammertime came out with his first ever joke.
A number of us decided to take a walk around the local town of Figueiró dos Vinhos and take in the sights, while others decided to relax and rehydrate by the pool.
That afternoon we proceeded to the site for the Portugal vs the rest of the world scenario. Last year we were caught out when the game actually started on time. This year we were ready on time with only minor hangovers, and the game kicked off again without a hitch.
We entered the game zone to be faced with the all too familiar up-hill climb. Overall this year’s terrain was good, giving a generally open field while still providing ample cover to utilise. As usual, the all-too familiar hills were also there.
The game itself centred around a communications tower and associated buildings at the top of the main hill situated between to two game entry points. This year also saw the introduction of a couple of vehicles (one for each team).
Saturday night is party night and this year was no exception. This year, the Players Party started with the meal at the local restaurant Retiro Figueriras. We opted to arrive a fashionable half hour late only discover we were one of the first groups to arrive. Undeterred we turned the situation to our advantage and wasted no time in acquiring a drink or two as the hundred or so other paintballing patrons arrived for the meal. The traditional pork cardiac onslaught was served, to good reception.
After the meal the events moved to a new venue - a local basement night club, where the customary Paintugal Cake was revealed. As seems to be the case in Portugal, the nightclub was a downstairs room, with a school DJ. There were several mothers with prams. So, the northerners in UE felt right at home.
Beers were drunk and jokes were made... a quality night was had by all!
Sunday offered another relaxed start for most, but those who were particularly refreshed the previous night were suffering. Those who were sensible woke and enjoyed the Wales vs Australia World Cup Rugby before heading to site for the main game.
This time we were entering the field from the other entry point only to be confronted with yet another uphill climb, completely putting the kibosh on our previous excuse for the opposite team having the terrain advantage in the previous day's game...
The first half of the game involved us playing the scenario with protection duty for our General while the rest of the team progressed with the other objectives. The second half saw us joining up with the rest of our team and pushing back toward the main summit for the final battle. Unlike previous years, the final objective was held by a small third faction supported by the tanks.
With the end of the game we gather to the true reason UE turn up each year... Awardugal. This year was no disappointment. Awardugal offered 68,723 separate awards, meaning that each player was earning on average 1.43 awards per minute of paintball played.
Most importantly; once again UE are able reaffirm their status as a 'Multi-award winning international team', which we accepted without any sense of irony.
Overall; a top event and UE will see you next year!