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It was just as exciting in the A Class, where RAFSPA Venom and Bacchus were tied in 2nd place after Round 8 and had to break their tie with an extra round. Last and best, the Rookie Class teams needed a jump-off round for the gold medals when RAFSPA Shadow and Fireflies were tied in 1st place after Round 8, one single point ahead of Flying Fossils in 3rd place.
The AA Class story goes even further back and began at the UKSL May meet where silver medalist Pajama Pumas won with a 9.3 average after six rounds. Vantage won the 1-round meet over Pajama Pumas in June and then the 5-round meet in July. Pajama Pumas came better prepared to the national championships and won this duel by four points. However, Salty Jacks were the unknown factor, with only a 15.0 average in the team records after the World Challenge 2017. All three teams battled for the top spot over the eight rounds in August.
UK Nationals 2017
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Pajama Pumas made the UK headlines at the very first competition in May 2016 when the team scored the first point in the last round of the meet for a 0.2 average. The first lineup also gave the team the name. PaJaMa puMAS includes the names of the original members.
Matt Cumming remembers that very first point in team history: "In our first competition it took us the full six rounds in Langar to score our first point, but we finally built a K (Hook) in Round 6 giving us an overall score of 1 and a 0.17 average. We didn't even know what the 2nd point was supposed to be, as our coach had only prepped one point with us for the last round!"
A year later, Pajama Pumas won the silver medals at the national championships in the AA Class with an 11.4 average, and they rank 4th in the AA Class world.
Matt Cumming said that Pajama Pumas had "fallen in love with 4-way training and competition" and wanted more of the dive pool. They almost skipped the A Class and attended only the ESL Championship 2016 in Saarlouis where they won the gold medals for the UK delegation in this category with a slightly different lineup.
The end of the 2017 season with national silver medals in the belts was apparently even more motivating, as Pajama Pumas have new plans for the 2018 season with the next big step into the AAA Class. The team is ready to deal with long sequences and slot switchers a year and a half after the 0.2 average in the Rookie Class:
"We can't wait to move up to AAA next year now and will be back in the tunnel soon as we head into winter. We'd have never believed we'd be moving up to AAA just a year and half after our first point in rookie!"
UKSL May 2016