I started playing Paintball in 1989, just before I packed up smoking. I was hooked!
I'd soon bought my first marker, a Black Widow, and Liz a wicked secondhand Bushmaster, and I formed my first team Stark Staring Bonkers, or SSB as the magazines started calling us.
We never won a tournament as SSB but did come second in a novice 5-man where the £350 prize money almost paid our paint bill.
Our first touney win came in the British Paintball League soon after we changed our name to Sonic (that's another story).
I started the fanzine Born To Dye and soon found myself as Chairman of the European Paintball Sports Federation, and as such worked directly with F8, the firearms division of the Home Office, to find a way of making Paintball markers legal. At the time they fell into the category of illegal weapons. Marcus Davies, then captain of the Predators -- one of the most successful teams in the world, has since claimed that I was responsible for legalising markers in the UK; I'd packed up Paintball by then but his accolade meant a lot to me. I also met with English Nature, and helped to draft their booklet on advice in setting up Paintball sites. I dedicated an awfull lot of time to, what eventually became, the UK Paintball Sports Federation, an awful lot of time. . . .
There were a few highlights, like playing for Press Gang in the World Speedball Championships, guesting for Godhead at Mayhem (only ever played three Mayhems) and upsetting Adam Woodyatt (Ian Beale in Eastenders, who used to play paintball too).
When a new 10-man league started, Sonic joined forces with Godhead to become Fusion, and we were sponsored with paint by WDP. Following some advice from Matt Tudor, publisher of Paintball Games International magazine and a player in Fusion, I made some decisions that weren't liked by the others, who mutinied and chucked me and Liz out of the team. We then joined Gulio Lucious which was a mistake and guested, amongst others, for Storm and Sid Spittle's Allstars.
In our first game for Gulo Liz worked forward up the middle and I was even further ahead up the right flank. When I looked around our backup hadn't moved! Should've realised that was how things were going to be with them.
I formed a one-off 10-person team of five couples for the Campaign Cup called Glory which WDP kindly sponsored for the day.
This photo was taken near the end of my Paintball career when I (back row right)
played for Newcastle-based "Smart As A Carrot"
More to follow soon. . . .