Well, I don’t know how this has happened, but remarkably, the TechnoBotts are playing in the finals day today. It’s another luck of the draw thing, I suppose, and probably reflects on how well the other teams in our superteam have done. Although our performance this year has been considerably better than last year’s, playing 9 matches and winning 4 of them, we didn’t think we’d done well enough to merit a place in the finals. But at 10:00 we are playing team A.I. on pitch A2.
The boys are readying the robot, and I am preparing to go and stake out a good viewing position by the pitch. I still can’t quite believe we are in a match in the finals – this is amazing!
This first round looks like it’s the semi-finals, as there are 4 superteams involved, with 1 playing 4 and 2 playing 3. We are in the LWS Final 4 superteam, which is playing against the LWS Final 1 superteam – all matches are at 10 a.m. as follows:
Cenatex Light vs NR-1 (played NR-1 yesterday; they beat us) on A1
A.I. (Canada) vs TechnoBotts (that’s us! And we’ve played them before and beaten them) on A2
Taipei101 vs FRT-A on A3 (we played Taipei101 on the first day and they beat us)
How well the superteam LWS final 4 will do is really an unknown quantity. I think we can win our match today against A.I. and perhaps NR-1 can win theirs (although I don’t know how good Cenatex Light are), but I expect Taipei101 will beat FRT-A. Unless FRT-A are amazingly good, of course! So we MIGHT be in with a chance of getting to the final – at the least, I really hope we don’t let our superteam down.
Semi-final superteam match, pitch A2 at 10 a.m., vs A.I.
A.I. were a robot down at the start, due to a last-minute malfunction – apparently they had managed to fry the goalie’s Arduino processor just before the start of the match. They started off fielding just their red forward robot.
Our two Lego robots, although slow, are quite reliable, and they scored two goals in quick succession with no trouble, followed by two more.
Just after the kick-off after our fourth goal, A.I.’s forward attacked our goal and came close to scoring but our goalie was able to pull off a save and it didn’t go in. We took the ball up the pitch and scored a 5th goal, then swiftly followed that with a 6th. Following that we dribbled the ball back down the wall towards out goal. Both our robots were equally keen to get to the ball, and they impeded each other rather. A.I. left their goal wide open, but our robots were too busy fighting for the ball to be bothered to try to score.
A.I. were still a man down, and we put a 7th goal in. After the kick-off after this goal, A.I.’s red robot showed a couple of startlingly fast bursts of speed that reminded us how dangerous their robot could be if only its powers were properly harnessed.
The red robot then looked as if it was not responding to the ball at all and there were fears that it would have to go off as a damaged robot, but it turned out that it was just jammed against a wall and unable to move and picking it up and moving it sorted it out – otherwise A.I. would have been left without a robot on the pitch at all.
We scored our 8th goal just before the whistle blew for half time. A.I. had still yet to score. Would they be able to repair their goalie in time for the second half? Eric and Andrew almost forgot to change the robots’ batteries before the second half but fortunately remembered in time.
A.I’s goalie reappeared, working, just before the second half started. We duly changed ends, shooting towards the blue goal now, and the second half started.
A.I.’s goalie went off again, and we quickly scored 2 more goals. The score was now 10-0 to us. After the next kick-off, we captured the ball, dribbled it down the wall and put another goal in. A.I.’s goalie reappeared, and then there was a 3-way tussle in the middle of the field for possession of the ball between our 2 robots and A.I.’s red robot. Our forward robot fell over and had to be righted. Lack of progress was called, and the ball was moved to the neutral spot behind our goalie, which then reversed and scored an own goal – A.I.’s first. The score was now 11-1 to us.
We took the ball back towards the blue goal again, and then A.I.’s red robot went off damaged. It needed a battery change. We took advantage of its absence and scored 32 more goals – 13-1 to us.
Both of A.I.’s robots were now back on the pitch, and there were 2 minutes left to go. The ball went up to the yellow goal end of the pitch, and again lack of progress was called, the ball was put on the neutral spot behind our goalie, and we reversed it into the goal for another own goal. 13-2.
Their red attacker mounted a worryingly good attack on our goal after the next kick-off, but we saved it, then dribbled up the wall again towards their goal. Lack of progress was called again, and the ball was moved. We took it and tried to score but their goalie stopped us. Undeterred, we tried again, and scored just before the final whistle. The final score was 14-2 to us.
So, we had not let our superteam down, but unfortunately the other 2 teams in our superteam both lost their matches, meaning that we ended up playing for 3rd or 4th placed superteam against the superteam that lost the other superteam semi-final. Looking at the teams that the rest of our superteam had been drawn against to play, and how they had performed previously, it looked to us as if we were not likely to win any of the matches. We felt deeply envious of Team A.I., who, though not as good on the pitch as our team, as evidenced by the fact that both times we played them, we beat them soundly, had been drawn into a superteam consisting of two very successful teams and them, so were going to get 1st or 2nd place trophies in the superteam competition.
We heaved another large sigh when we saw the team we had been drawn against to play in the 3rd place match – it was Luwan Senior High School. We lost to them yesterday, 15-0, and they outclassed us greatly. The result of this match is therefore a foregone conclusion – the only uncertainty is by how many goals they will win.
Match for 3rd/4th Superteam place – A3 – 12.30pm
The match did not start well for us. We were sitting by the next table, A2, waiting for what was apparently a match going on on table A3 to finish, as interrupting a match in progress is not a good thing to do. It turned out that an Iranian team were just running their robots on the pitch with the Luwan team’s robots while waiting for our match to start. One of the Luwan people spotted us nearby and called us over and the ref then told Andrew and Eric that they were docked 3 goals for turning up late. However, that’s probably fewer goals than they would have conceded in 3 minutes of play against the Luwan team.
Anyway, the shortened 3-minute first half started. Our only hope was to play as defensively as possible and try to stop the faster robots from getting past us and to the goal with the ball. We began by dribbling down the wall at a glacial pace towards the goal. This took about a minute. The ref was clearly itching to call lack of progress several times, but we pointed out that our robot was actually moving the ball, albeit slowly, so he refrained. Once we got to the corner, and got the ball stuck in the corner, lack of progress was called, and then one of Luwan’s robots went off damaged, leaving us to attack their goal. We then took the ball back up towards the yellow goal, and thankfully lack of progress was called before we could score an own goal.
Our forward robot and their defender locked horns in front of the goal, and after a short while, lack of progress was called and the ball was moved again. The ball went down to the yellow end, and there was a 3-way tussle before lack of progress was called again. They attacked hard, and we saved a goal, then they attacked hard again but missed. Finally they got a goal in, and then another one shortly afterwards, making the score 5-0 to them. The ref was being “advised” (some might consider it hassling) by the Iranian team who were on the same superteam as Luwan and had a keen interest in them winning.
Luwan attacked again, and we defended well, and then fended off four more further attacks on the goal before letting another one in – 0-6 to Luwan now. We took the ball to the wall, but Luwan somehow hooked it out and put it in our goal again – 0-7 to Luwan. We then hid the ball in a corner so Luwan couldn’t get it, just as the whistle for the end of the first half blew.
The other Luwan robot returned during half-time so we now had two robots to face in the second half of the match. We were not expecting to win this one anyway.
The second half started. Fielding both robots, Luwan attacked aggressively three times. We fended off the first two, but couldn’t avoid letting the third in. Then the ball was kicked off the table, landed on the concrete floor, and stopped working, so the match was paused while a replacement ball was obtained.
When the match restarted, Luwan returned to the offensive and scored within 20 seconds, then scored again. 9-0 to them. We put in three more great saves; our defensive play is impeding them quite well. Once the ball is jammed between our two robots, it’s hard for the opposition to see it – we just need to keep it moving, and we kept the ball out of their sight for about 30 seconds. But then their robots saw it again, and Luwan scored two more goals in quick succession. 11-0 to them.
We managed to save 2 more attacks on the goal, then let in two more. It’s now 13-0 to them. It was hard to see what happened for the next couple of minutes, as a chap with a professional video camera appeared and started videoing the match, which was the cue for a large Chinese flag to be extended in front of me.
We then came close to scoring an own goal, but thankfully lack of progress was called just as our goalie was thinking about reversing into the goal with the ball. Luwan spotted the ball immediately it was moved; both their robots flew down the pitch and they scored again. 14-0. Our robots attempted to form a huddle around the ball again, but Luwan powered through and scored yet again. 15-0.
There was then a clash in the middle of the field, during which one of our robots lost a piece of Lego. Undeterred, they continued defending as ably as they could, before getting the ball in the corner again and coming painfully close to scoring an own goal after lack of progress was called.
Luwan scored again, bringing the score to 16-0, then we saved two more attacks on the goal, and managed to get the ball half way up the pitch before they attacked again, and again, scoring on their third attempt.
Following a tussle after the kick-off, they pushed the ball and one of our robots slowly backwards towards our goal, scoring again. One of our robots went off damaged (Eric hadn’t turned it on properly at the last kick-off and it wasn’t responding) and we struggled even more to defend against their might. Following several head-to-head clashes in midfield, they scored again, and then popped in one last one just before the whistle went, so the final score was 20-0 to them.
Well, we were never expecting to win that match… and anyway, participating in the superteam semi-finals and 3rd place rounds was a lot further than we got last year. I’m really pleased with the team’s performance this year. Well done Andrew and Eric.