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Coventry College’s Esports team picked for special, one-off match

@CoventryCollege’s #Esports team continued their preparations for another year of growth after being selected from more than 70 teams to take part in a special, one-off clash against the sport’s national body.

Six former and current Coventry College students came together to represent the Coventry Crosshairs against a side made up of tournament administrators from the British Esports Association.

Both sides did battle virtually on the online first-person game Overwatch, where players work as a team to defend and control locations on a map. 

After an hour-long session, Coventry Crosshairs won all three of their matches against the British Esports Association Admin team – and were asked to continue playing as the Twitch stream was full of eager Esports fans. In the end, Coventry Crosshairs won five maps out of five. 

The match formed part of the team’s pre-season preparations, and came about after the Coventry Crosshairs impressed British Esports Association officials with their tournament exploits in their debut season, after making it to the semi-finals of the British Esports Association’s national Overwatch Tournament earlier this year.

Shoubna Naika-Taylor is the team manager for the Coventry Crosshairs and is also curriculum lead for Creative and Digital at Coventry College.

She said: “I’ve been with this team from the very start and to see what they have achieved already has been inspirational.

“In their latest match, the students were able to experience what life is like competing as professional Esports gamers – including two weeks of preparation strategising with a brilliant coach, and having the backdrop of online commentating and the match being screened live to anybody around the world.

“In the matches we managed to build a strong team strategy around our main tank player, John Cuffley, getting into advanced positions to gain an advantage and punish the enemy team, which seemed to work across all five maps, and resulted in John being chosen as the ‘most valuable player’.

“Also, our 2019/20 substitute player, Ashan Alponsu, stepped up his game and played in every match, putting in a stand-out performance as he looks for a starting place in next year’s team.

“The students were playing against vastly experienced gamers from the British Esports Association, so this whole experience will definitely stand the team in good stead for the year ahead.

“Prior to the Covid lockdown the team had made the regional semi-finals of a Super Smash Bros tournament, and we are hoping to be given the chance to resume this over the coming weeks.”

 Coventry Crosshairs’ team is mainly made up of games production and interactive media students, and trials are being held throughout September for new recruits so that the College can expand its presence in Esports by adding a ‘B team’ to their roster. They’re hoping to reach out to students across the College and are looking for a diverse range of players and skills. 

Jack Masterson is the new team captain at Coventry Crosshairs, and explained the benefits of being part of the team.

He added: “Being part of a team isn’t just fun; it is also a great way to build teamwork and cooperation. While being on the Overwatch team I have developed a lot of skills and have made new friends. It’s also given me an insight into the esports industry which I now wish to pursue.”  

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