Unicon XVIII - The World Unicycle Championships was held in San Sebastion/Donestia Spain 27.08.2016 – 07.08.2016. Australia sent 4 unicycle hockey teams to compete against the world’s best. It was our most successful Unicon ever for our hockey teams.
The Unicycle hockey was split into 2 divisions. Division A – The best of the best, only 7 teams in the world participated in this division. 2 Swiss teams, 4 German teams and the Australia Green team.
Division B saw 37 teams compete, consisting of 16 German, 5 French, 2 Danish, 2 Swiss, 1 Korean, 1 Hong Kong, 1 Czech, 1 Italian, 1 UK, 1 Netherlands, 1 Austrian, 1 Spanish, 1 Puerto Rican, and 3 Aussie teams - Australia Yellow, Australia Blue and Australia White.
The hockey venue was as an ice hockey rink, without the ice it was a concrete surface; smooth but not ideal. A lot of the A division hockey players did not like this rink claiming it was dangerous as a fall at high speed onto the concrete could cause injury. Many players decided to wear leg armour, knee pads and helmets.
The size of the rink and the walls were great for hockey.
The Australian Green Team comprised of Ash, Steve, Lachlan, Sam and Cris.
Australia Greens first game was against the top Swiss Team. Their speed and skills were just a step above the Aussies, with very accurate passing and shooting. Despite very determined play the score ended up being an 8:0 defeat, letting in 4 goals each half.
Australia Greens second game was against the German champions Morfeldon Jokers. The game started similar to the Swiss game, the aussies stopping many attacks but a couple of goals got through. Down 5:0, but then an opportunity, a miss control by one of the Jokers saw Ash make a break, a slap shot and goal. The Australians first goal was a big step in confidence for the Aussies. While Joker were still a step above the Aussies showed plenty of fight. A final score of 8:3 was something to be very proud of against the German Champions.
It didn’t get any easier, the next game was against Baukau. This team won the Championship last Unicon in Montreal where they beat the Aussie team 14:0. The game was a little different to the first two, Baukau took the ball back a lot, and tried to find the space to attack, less direct than the first two games. The Aussie defence was holding strong, it was going to be hard for the Unicon champions to get through, Baukau had most of the ball, eventually getting some very good goals. There were no goals for the Australian team in this game but a hard battle was fought resulting in a 4:0 loss. This was the teams smallest loss so far and a 10-goal turnaround from Montreal.
The results got better for the Australia Green team, game 4 was against a German mixed team, some of the best players from 4 different German teams. This was a fight, matching it with them but the Germans were a bit more clinical. The final score was 6:3 loss for the Aussies. But a great showing.
Game 5, against the Swiss B team. This game was very similar to the Swiss A team, hard fighting but the Swiss got on top, it was 2:0 and the swiss interchanged off their top players. But the game turned, two fast goals one to Ash and one to Steve saw the score become 2:2, could the Aussies get a win?
Then a moment you don’t see very often in unicycle hockey, a big interchange. Their best players back on, it was like what you see in ice hockey, very funny and a great show of respect and fear against loosing this game. The Swiss eventually got the winner, a 3:2 loss, so close for the Aussies.
The final game of the group stage was against Stuchelbaren, the young German team who are good friends with the Australians. Back in 2013 the Aussie captain Ash moved to Germany and played in the same club as Stuchelbaren in Dusseldorf, this was a great experience both for Ash and for Stuchelbaren. This time it was a victory for the Australians, a 4:3 win, maybe The Australian unicycle hockey teams best ever victory, not by score but by who they beat. Stuchelbaren are the current European champions and an A finalist in Germany.
The rounds were over, the finals were to be played in a different gym, a smaller hall with wooden floors, a very different game to the round games. The Aussies were in the minor play-offs, playing off for the 5th, 6th and 7th placings.
Their first finals game saw Australia Vs the German mixed team. The Germans fired off the blocks. Some perfectly fired through balls, with their left forward sweeping behind the defence to receive the ball just in front of the goaly. Awesome play, down 5 nill at half time, the Aussies second half was better, getting a goal, but loosing 8:1.
The Aussies final game, vs Stuchelbaren, a bit of a slug fest of a game, neither team wanted to loose this game, both teams had chances to win but couldn’t capitalize, the score ended with a 5:5 draw. Then into penalties. The penalties went the way of Stuchelbaren (3:2).
A disappointing end for the Aussies. But overall a successful campaign, really taking it to some of the best teams in the world, a huge step up from 2 years ago.
Message from the Australian Green Team Captain;
I am very proud of all our team, I am happy with how I played, scoring some goals against teams I haven’t scored against before. Steve was world class, scoring some great goals and setting me up a lot. Lachlan saved plenty of goals, no goals in the rounds, but with a small court Lach got 3 awesome goals in the finals. Sams first Unicon, saved plenty of goals, super strong in defence. Also I can’t be more happy with Cris in goals, Saving more goals than you can count.
8:0 loss to Swiss Team
8:3 loss to Morfelden Joker (Germany)
4:0 loss to Baukau (Germany)
6:3 loss to German Mix
3:2 loss to Swiss team 2
4:3 win against Stuchelbaren (Germany)
8:1 loss to German mix
5:5 tie to Stachelbaren (3:2 loss in penalties)
18 goals for - Ash 9, Steve 6, Lachlan 3.
45 goals against.
The Swiss Team were crowned the 2016 Unicycle Hockey Champions, beating Baukau 6:2 in the Final. Morfelden Joker beating Swiss Team 2, 14:9 for the bronze medal.
Australia yellow comprised of Scott, Amir, Charlie, Jamey and Mark. With a little help from Kristian Sommer from Denmark as in injury replacement when Jamey rolled his ankle.
Australia yellow was in a group of 5 teams (Group B7),
5:3 loss to UnicycleRS (Germany)
4:1 win against Austria
8:4 win against Wild Ducks (Germany)
3:2 win against Anim’A Fond (France)
Aussie Yellow finished second in their group and progressed to the elimination round. This is a first for an Australian team to make it through a group stage at Unicon hockey, an awesome result by the team. Their next game was against a German team named AB mix, who finished first in their group. The game was a good fight, but the win went to the way of AB mix, 3:6.
3:6 loss to AB Mix (Germany)
Australia Blue comprised of Max, Matt, Dave, Paul, David and Pete.
Australia Blue was in a group of 5 teams (Group B2), two wins and two losses saw them finish 3rd in the group and just missing a spot into the finals.
6:0 win against Die Grouper (Germany)
4:1 loss to Hong Kong
4:3 loss to Team Rhein-Main (Germany),
8:2 win against Bohemians (Germany)
Australia White where in a group of 4 teams (Group B4), The team comprised of Dennis, Juliette, George, Rochelle, Seb, Rod and Ben. A mix team of mostly new players to unicycle hockey, they lost their 3 round games but an awesome moment for Dennis getting there only goal in their final game.
8:0 loss to Turbo Ducks (Germany)
8:0 loss to Team GB (Great Britain)
9:1 loss to Sudmix (Germany)
The champion team in the B Category was Danish Dynamite, beating Neukirchen (Germany) 3:2 in the final.
UnicycleRS (Germany) took out third place, beating Junior Swiss Team 1, 3:1 in their match.
I hope everyone had a great time at Unicon, on top of the games there was plenty of pick-up games and friendly games happening. This unicon experience really is priceless, not just for the hockey but the whole unicon experience, seeing and learning from the best riders in the world, and making friends from all parts of the globe. I Hope to see the Aussie teams bigger and better at the next Unicon in 2018 in Seoul, South Korea.
Australian Unicycle Hockey Team
Full results are here: