Yes that’s right, the Australian national fistball team has finished fourth in the inaugural Asian Fistball Cup! The fact there only were four teams in the tournament does not diminish this historic achievement. After coming out strong and taking the first set against Nepal, the Australian team failed to keep the upper hand and went down 1-3 in some tightly contested sets. The cheering cries of the capacity stadium failed to rally the Aussies as the Nepalese attacker sent home well placed smashes. A life time of altitude training probably played a factor, whilst our tactical use of Nepalese sledges such as “Kathmandu? More like Kathmandon’t” and “You guys are Nepalling!” Were rendered ineffectual by their front rows lack of colloquial English.
Well played to the Nepali team though, good comeback under pressure.
In the final match, a gutsy India took on the larger and more physical Pakistani squad. In another nail biter, the Pakistanis finally prevailed in the 5th set decider to the immense delight of the home crowd. An amazing pyrotechnic display ensued as the largely female crowd engulfed the field to congratulate the players and extinguish the grass fires. Team photos and presentations to the winning teams ensued as more media, shirt exchanges and a dazzle (unsure of unit of measure) of photographs took place.
An exhausted Australian camp will certainly be doing a little soul searching tonight as the ‘what could have beens’ are contemplated. If only we had learnt the Nepalese translation for our tactical sledges, we just might have got over the line..
While the team came home winless, we take solace in the fact that we were a chance to win every match we played, and only a lack of a killer punch stopped us from making an appearance in the final. The international experience will be invaluable for the next appearance we make.
More photos, footage and diary updates to come.