Author Archives: Subbuteo Australia

Anzac Eve Battle for Testicular Cancer Awareness

In support of Testicular Cancer Awareness Month, a showpiece Table Football match will be hosted at South Melbourne Football Club’s Lakeside Stadium between Melbourne City Football Club captain Scott Jamieson and Football Federation Victoria (FFV) President Kimon Taliadoris on the 24th April.  Testicular cancer is dear to the hearts of the Table Football community, with the current President of the Australian Table Football Association (ATFA) Adrian Connolly presently undergoing chemotherapy as he battles the illness.

“Whilst it is the most common cancer for young men, testicular cancer is rarely spoken about”, says Adrian Connolly.  “To my surprise three of the top 50 Australian Table Football players have privately come forward to me to disclose they too have fought the cancer.  It reminded me how so many young men must go through this alone because guys simply don’t talk about their balls!”.

“I’m a pretty resilient guy, and at the age of 43 I’m on the old side for the cancer” Adrian goes on to say.  “I really don’t know how I would have coped if this happened to me in my 20s, which is more commonly the case for non-seminoma testicular cancer like I have been diagnosed with.  In fact, I’m not even sure I would have had the balls to act on it early enough had it happened back then.”

Throughout April ATFA are encouraging each Table Football Club in Australia to run a tournament with participating players to make a donation to Movember Foundation.  Adrian’s Oncologist has worked with the charity to create new resources under the banner “TRUENTH” to educate and support people throughout the testicular cancer journey, from detection to treatment to recovery.

Help stop men dying too young.

#awarenessdownunder

Melbourne City FC captain Scott Jamieson, left, with Australian Table Football Association President Adrian Connolly prior to his diagnosis.

Melbourne City FC captain Scott Jamieson, left, with Australian Table Football Association President Adrian Connolly.

Green takes Gold in Bondi

Open winner Rob Green, Women's winner Beth Eveleigh, and Junior winner Jonty Brenner

Open winner Rob Green, Women’s winner Beth Eveleigh, and Junior winner Jonty Brener

January 18-20th the 2019 Australian Grand Prix of Table Football was held in iconic Bondi, Sydney.  It was one of the largest events ever held in Asia with 38 entries in the Open category, 12 juniors, 6 women, and 6 club teams.

The festivities began on Friday 18th January with the dinner and draw, supported by DT38 Australia guest speaker Donna Giuffre to raise awareness for testicular cancer in what promises to be an ongoing relationship between DT38 and the Australian Table Football Association (ATFA).

The draw saw 2 groups of 3 players and 8 of 4 in the Open; 3 groups of 4 in the juniors, and 2 groups of 3 in the women’s, and in the Club teams there was one group of 3 and one group of 4 – the fourth being “Barbarians” composed of players without sufficient club numbers.  The Barbarians were not eligible to progress beyond the group stage.

As always seems to be the case there was a “group of death” in each individual category:

  • The juniors saw Hong Kong’s Nicholas Carabillo drawn with Charlotte Wright and Benjamin Ng in Group 1;
  • The women’s’ draw saw Melbourne IO finalists Beth Eveleigh and Juliette Browne drawn together in Group 1; and
  • In the Open event saw Raffaele Lombard drawn with 2018 World Cup representative Paul Mercer and Adrian Elmer.

Juniors

In the junior event, the first upset occurred when one of the favourites, Benjamin Ng, was an early casualty from the group of death.  Group 3 finished level, requiring a penalty shootout between Jonty Brener and Daniel Sirmai to separate the two at the top of the table, with Jonty prevailing.

In the Barrage, Northern Falcons’ Jonty Brener and Torben Pfister overcame Charlotte Wright and Daniel Sirmai to join Nicholas Carabillo and Gabriel Lombard in the semi-finals.

Both semi-finals were tight affairs, with Torben overcoming Nicholas 2-1 on shots after a pulsating 2-2 draw; whilst Jonty defeated Gabriel 1-0.

This made it an all-Northern Falcons final, demonstrating all the good work Hermann Kruse has done for the juniors of the club in recent years.  Hermann will be sorely missed when he departs Australia in a few months’ time.  In what would become the theme of the day, the finalists could not be separated in normal time.  Jonty scored the important golden goal in extra time to take the honours 2-1.

ATFA President Adrian Connolly presenting Jonty Brenner with his Junior title

ATFA President Adrian Connolly presenting Jonty Brener with his Junior title

Women’s

In the women’s event, Juliette took out Group 1 on goal difference, while Charlotte Wright topped Group 2.  In the semi finals, Beth defeated Charlotte 1-0, while it took penalties to break the deadlock in the other semi-final with Juliette ultimately prevailing to set up a repeat of the final of the Melbourne IO in October 2018.

The final was a typically tight contest between Beth and Juliette.  This time Beth held her nerve in the shootout of a major final to take the Australia Grand Prix title 1-0 on shots. the first FISTF title for her club Northern Phoenix TFC.

Women's AGP 2019 competitors

Women’s AGP 2019 competitors

Open

In Group 1 the games went largely as expected, though Adrian Connolly pushed top seed and 2018 Asian Cup runner up from Hong Kong Antonio Carabillo all the way in a 2-1 loss to make Antonio earn his top spot.  This would be the last goal the Antonio would concede until the final.

Group 2 was the “group of death”.  After a narrow 1-0 win by Raffaele Lombard over Paul Mercer, Adrian Elmer knew he was up against it.   Raffaele then won 2-0 over Adrian with a very late second goal.  Adrian needed to defeat Paul in the final game and did so 2-0 to deservedly qualify from the group.   Unfortunately for Paul, his game may have started to suffer from the distraction of the great work he had done with the fixturing and driving the schedule for the event. Many thanks go to Paul for his great work over the weekend and leading up to it.

Group 3 saw Eliot Kennedy top the group with an impressive 13 goals without reply.  Canberra’s only entrant Nicholas Brill progressed to the barrage in second place.

Group 4 was another tough group.  4th seed Benny Ng had drawn tournament dark horse Daniele Lombardi, fresh from his win in the inaugural Sydney Cup.  The clash of the two highest ranked players was one of the games of the tournament, finishing in an incredible 3-3 draw.  The group was then decided by goal difference, with Benny prevailing, to send Daniele into the barrage.

Group 5 saw Australian World Cup representative Fabrizio Coco top the group impressively with 14 goals from his 3 games.  Jonny Ball did well to take second place by defeating both Neil Brenner and Billy Wright, and also putting a goal past Fabrizio – one of the few players to do so over the weekend.

In Group 6, there was the only seeded player eliminate at this stage of the tournament.  Australian Veterans category World Cup representative Hugh Best found the going tough, finishing goalless on the bottom of the group.  Brisbane’s Giuseppe Tardiotta looked full of confidence, taking out the group comfortably with three wins and 13 goals.  Junior champion Jonty Brenner progressed with him in second place.

Group 7 had its first casualty of the event with Paul Magee who had to withdraw at the last minute due to the effects heat stroke from the scorching hot Sydney weather the previous day.  Thankfully he was in a group of 4 so as to not throw the draw into turmoil.

This presented a great opportunity for Kevin Grant to progress from his group again at a FISTF event and took this with both hands by comfortably defeating Louis Dettre.  Australian veterans category World Cup representative Rob Green, who had travelled all the way from Stockholm, Sweden to compete, topped the group without conceding to set up an exciting barrage clash with the winner of group 10 – Luke Radziminski.

Group 8 was a tight group from which the two Northern Falcons prevailed, Steve Dettre taking the group on goal difference from Adrian Grunbach thanks largely to his merciless 4-0 win over debutante Victoria Hampshire.

Group 9 went down to the wire.  Both Nicholas Carabillo and Tony Madiona went undefeated.  At half time of the final games, it was Tony and Geoff Sirmai who were set to progress.  However, a winner by Nicholas in the second half against Geoff saw him top the group, and sent Geoff out of the tournament despite just one narrow loss from his three group games.

Luke Radziminski started off Group 10 in ominous fashion with a 5-0 over Junior finalist Torben Pfister, and then an impressive 4-0 over Tony Credentino who rarely concedes many goals.  Tony, as expected, progressed in second place behind Luke in second place to enter the barrage.

The barrages saw comfortable victories for Nicholas Brill, Daniele Lombardi, and Tony Credentino over Kevin Grant, Adrian Grunbach, and Jonty Brenner, respectively.  The 4th barrage game was much tighter.  Tony Madiona was 1-0 up over Jonny Ball in the last minute, before giving away possession in attack.  Jonny capitalized and scored an equalizer with 10 seconds to go.  Jonny then took the momentum into extra time, scoring the winner to progress.

In the round of 16, top seed Antonio Carabillo needed extra time to break the deadlock against Tony Credentino and take out a narrow 1-0 win.  Steve Dettre and Fabrizio Coco both won 3-0, against Nicholas Carabillo and Adrian Elmer respectively.  Raffaele Lombard easily defeated Jonny Ball 4-0 and Benny Ng had a comfortable 5-1 win over Canberra’s Nicholas Brill.  Benny’s club mate Adrian Connolly had a shock 2-1 win over Guiseppe to see them both progress to the quarter finals.  In what many saw as a potential final prior to the draw, Rob Green overcame Luke Radziminski 3-2, the only time Rob conceded multiple goals in a game over the entire weekend.

The quarter finals saw 3 Northern Falcons in four of the games.  Steve Dettre was the only casualty, going down 2-0 to Antonio Carabillo.  Rob Green narrowly defeated Raffaele Lombard 1-0 after Raffaele failed to capitalize on long periods of pressure.  Eliot Kennedy repeated his 3-1 scoreline from the Melbouren IO 2018 semi-final over Adrian Connolly, although this clash was much tighter than their previous encounter.  Adrian could consider himself unlucky to be 2-1 down at half time, with time running out at the end of the first half following an accidental handball by Eliot just outside the box from a shot by Adrian.  In the remaining quarter final Fabrizio Coco needed to come from behind to defeat Benny Ng with a golden goal in extra time to see the last of the Victorian contingent eliminated.

The semi-final draw saw Northern Falcons stalwarts of the game Rob Green and Eliot Kennedy clash. Rob Green’s defiant defence again proved the difference, with Rob taking out his second consecutive 1-0.  The other game saw equally strong defensive play.  After a goalless game between Fabrizio Coco and Antonio Carabillo, Antonio prevailed 1-0 in extra time to see the top seed progress into the final.

In a final fitting of an international quality event, the two players who had travelled the furthest to compete were pitted against each other – Hong Kong’s Antonio Carabillo and Australia’s Stockholm resident Rob Green.  Rob looked in control for much of the game but only held a narrow 1-0 lead.  In the dying moments, with possession at a corner, Rob chose to attack rather than maintain possession.  With possession conceded, and seconds remaining, this gave Antonio one last chance.  With an incredible long pass and shot on the run he equalized with the last flick of normal time to raise the roof on the venue!  But Rob Green regained his composure in extra time and avoided too much regret for this error by scoring the important golden goal and take the Australian Grand Prix 2019 Open title 2-1.

Open winner Rob Green proudly raising hit title.

Open winner Rob Green proudly raising hit title.

Club Teams

Six teams entered the competition, Sydney TFC, Northern Pheonix TFC, two from Northern Falcons TFC and two from Western Flickers TFC.  To give other players more games, a team of “Barbarians” was also entered in to Group 2, but were not eligible to progress from the Group stage of this FISTF tournament.

In Sydney TFC topped Group 1 with wins over Northern Falcons B and Western Flickers B.  Norther Falcons B joined them after accounting for Western Flickers B.

In Group two, both Northern Falcons and Western Flickers accounted for Northern Phoenix.  Top place was decided with a narrow victory for the Northern Falcons over the vastly improved Western Flickers.

In the semi finals, the two seeds progressed.  Northern Falcons easily defeated their B team.  Whilst in the other semi, Sydney TFC was forced to throw on their “super sub” Raffaele Lombard to ensure they took out victory 2-1.  Again credit to Western Flickers’ improvement to be able to push this club much harder than they were able to at the Asian Cup in 2018.

The final was a local derby between Sydney TFC and Northern Falcons.  In a fitting finale, there were 2 wins apiece, meaning the result was determined by total goals scored, with Sydney TFC taking this out 5-4.

Club Team title winners Sydney TFC

Club Team title winners Sydney TFC

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2019-AGP-tables-Team

In closing, a special thanks to all those involved in organizing and running the tournament, and the many players that travelled far and wide from all corners of Australia, and the world, to compete, referee, and generally have a great time at a fantastic event in a superb location.

Proposed 2020 Table Football Downunder Tour

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Hot on the heals of the success of the Australian Grand Prix of Table Football in Sydney last weekend, and in preparation for the imminent Expressions of Interest process for FISTF 2019/2020 season events in Australia, I have produced a proposal to create a “2020 Table Football Downunder Tour”.

This proposal is downloadable here:

2020 Table Football Downunder Tour

Note that whilst I am the President of ATFA, this is my personal proposal and is not yet sanctioned by ATFA.  I have released this with the hope of attracting international interest on top of that already received, as well as local support.

The aims are to:

– create a marketing opportunity for our game in Australia to continue the growth of the game.

– create even greater excitement for local players to attend these tournaments and improve their own game.

– attract overseas players, both for marketing but also for the benefit of local players who have not (or may never) travel to Europe to compete.

– support the awareness campaign for testicular cancer through a sustained period of two weeks.

– support the improvement of our leading players in the lead up to the 2020 World Cup of Table Football.

– avoid clashes with European major FISTF events

– avoid clashes with peak domestic travel cost periods such as the Australian Open Tennis in Melbourne for the AGP (benefitting both domestic and international travellers to Melbourne).

Not all cities of Australia could be accommodated within a tight timeline preferred by those in Europe that have expressed interest to date.  I have chosen locations to minimise the international and domestic airfares and domestic travel times of international players to attend events and see some of the many sites this large continent contains.

Adrian Connolly

Table Football gives Testicular Cancer the Flick

Table Football gives Testicular Cancer the Flick

Australia’s table football players have united with the Dylan Tombides Foundation to raise awareness of testicular cancer in the lead up to the 2019 Australian Grand Prix of Table Football this month.

The cooperation is the result of Australian Table Football Association President Adrian Connolly’s personal brush with testicular cancer after being diagnosed just before Christmas.

ATFA President Adrian Connolly

ATFA President Adrian Connolly

Like many men, Adrian says he knew very little about testicular cancer.

“I was shocked to find out how common testicular cancer is for young men and that the rate has been rising. The form of testicular cancer is typically found in men in their 20s and 30s so all males from the moment they become a young adult should become informed, be aware of their body, and most importantly take action if you think something may not be right.”

The Australian Table Football community is uniting behind Adrian and have joined forces with DT38 Australia, a charity raising awareness of testicular cancer to save lives that was set up in memory of Dylan Tombides. Dylan was an Australian International and West Ham United professional football player who passed away aged 20 in April 2014 after a 3 year battle with testicular cancer.

“In the weeks before Christmas I found a lump. Before I knew it I was having scans and being referred to a specialist by my GP.” Adrian said. “I then had further scans and surgery to remove a tumour which was later confirmed to have been testicular cancer.”

“Breaking the news to my children on Christmas Eve was particularly difficult.” Adrian went on to say. “The good news is that the surgeon believes that the surgery was curative.”

“The initial scan to find out if you have a tumour is non-invasive, a basic ultrasound which for me was also at no cost as it was bulk billed. There really is no excuse to get anything checked out.”

The draw for the Australian Grand Prix tournament will be held on Friday 18th January and will feature special guest representatives of DT38 Australia.

The tournament will take place 19-20th January.  World no.25 Antonio Carabillo will be travelling from Hong Kong to take on the best Table Football players from across Australia.

Background:

Testicular cancer is not a common cancer, but it is the most commonly diagnosed cancer after skin cancer in men aged 20–39. In Australia, about 850 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer each year, accounting for about 1% of all cancers in men. It occurs most often in men aged 25–40. ^1.

^1 Cancer Council. https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/testicular-cancer/

DT38 Australia is part of the DT38 Foundation which was set up in memory of Dylan James Tombides. Dylan was an Australian International and West Ham United professional football player who passed away aged 20 in April 2014 after a 3 year battle with testicular cancer. The West Ham Family thought so highly of Dylan that they retired his number 38 and made DT38 one of their principal charities.  The charity has been formed as a result of Dylan being misdiagnosed. Their vision is to change the way testicular cancer is diagnosed by implementing best practice diagnostic guidelines for patients who present with testicular symptoms.  DT38 also aim to arm future generations of young men with the necessary knowledge about testicular cancer that will enable them to be confident when taking health matters into their own hands.

DT38’s mission is to raise awareness and change the stigma associated with men’s health issues with a focus on testicular cancer. They aim to do this through providing educational programs and opportunities for the youth of our community, to help shape a generation of children who are self- aware about their health and wellbeing.

The Australian Table Football Association (ATFA) governs Sports Table Football which is based on the Subbuteo table top game that reached its peak in the 90s before making a retro comeback in recent years. Clubs are located in each capital city plus major regional centres. ATFA is a member of the world governing body for the sport, the Federation of International Sports Table Football (FISTF).

The Australian Grand Prix of Table Football will be held 18-20 January 2019 at the Margaret Whitlam Recreation Centre in iconic Bondi, NSW.

www.subbuteoaustralia.com

For more information contact:

Adrian Connolly (Melbourne):  0410 479 036

Steve Dettre (Sydney): 0408 420 234

Melbourne City fans try their hand at table football

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Victorian table football’s three clubs united to promote table football and support the Melbourne City FC pre-game entertainment prior to their A League clash with Newcastle Jets on Sunday 2nd December at AAMI Park.

There was a touch of “table football’s coming home”.  After all, it was through a fan forum for the then Melbourne Heart FC that current Melbourne Table Football Club (MTFC) President Luke Radziminski and former Australian Table Football Association President Benji Batten met.  These two players founded MTFC and then played a key role in getting table football back on track in the state.

It was a great opportunity to showcase table football to the thousands of football fans in attendance thanks to Melbourne City FC.  Many fans tried the game outside AAMI Park in City Square, both those new to table football and those that had seen or played the game before.  It was fantastic to see people of all ages, male and female, eager to play.   This is truly one of the great things about table football.

Inside the venue, table football was also available in the VIP corporate room of McDonald’s.  The McDonald’s workforce that were in attendance had fun trying their hand (or should that be finger!) at table football both pre-game and during half-time.  Dual AFL premiership player Leigh Colbert, present at the event, noted that his son was particularly keen on the game.  He was one of many bitten by the table football bug!

Hopefully this was the start of ongoing involvement between table football and Melbourne City FC.  With this on the back of similar activity held by Brisbane Subbuteo Club prior to a Brisbane Roar A League game, and the planned Perth Subbuteo Club’s involvement with Perth Glory pre-game, it is great to see involvement between table football clubs and Hyundai A League clubs.  Exciting times for Australian Table Football!298E4A09-6811-4D0E-B3E8-2A6CC4D35A19 39DE3797-6950-428A-BDFB-D698F2A40532 9B32FB06-A092-43AF-971B-CB82DE4D26EC 1D0C93A0-B71D-49D7-BF21-54A7B1A7921F ACF8746D-03B5-46A6-861E-6F225F47AE5F

Flicks In The Sticks #3

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In what has become a highlight of the Victorian Table Football calendar, the 3rd edition of the annual “Flicks in the Sticks” (FITS) WASPA was hosted by Kevin Grant at his property. The event drew its largest number of entries to date, highlighting that many players earmark this as one they must attend.

Nine Open and five Juniors competed. Both events were the traditional FITS round robin league format. This time with the number of players it was a lightning 1×20 min match format.

In the juniors it was again Charlotte Wright who was dominant and taking out back-to-back junior WASPA. Three wins from four games without conceding was an impressive set of results. Not far behind were Billy Wright and newcomer Liam Browne who showed his debut form at the Melbourne IO weekend was not fluke. Jayden Truter took out 4th after defeating debutant Sean Browne in the final game.

In the Open category, from the offset Benny Ng was again the player to beat.
Christos Garagounis took out the clash of the Club Presidents in the opening round with a tight 1-0, making Adrian Connolly pay for hitting the right upright on three occasions.
Tonly Madiona proved tough to beat, only losing to Adrian and Benny on the day. His draw with Christos allowed Adrian to climb to second leading into the final round of games where most ladder positions remained up for grabs.

With Adrian winning 6 in a row after his first round loss, his clash with Benny would determine the WASPA winner. Benny won the toss for the kick off and took an early lead. An open attacking game somehow ended with neither player adding to the scoreline for Benny to take the title.

Christos was held to a 2-2 draw by Benjamin in his final game to finish in 3rd place. Steve Wright took out 4th place with his final round victory over Beth Eveleigh. A further win behind was Tony Madiona on goal difference Kevin thanks to their 0-0 stalemate in the final round. It was a rare lean day of scoring for Kevin who usually is involved in several high scoring clashes. Junior competitor in the open category Benjamin Ng finished in 7th, ahead of Beth on goal difference by virtue of Benjamin’s strong final round performance against Christos. Juliette Browne finished 9th and did well to contain all players – there are no easy games in the Open category!

There was also a WASPA Teams category held with the results between three players from each of the two clubs counted for this (Benny, Adrian and Steve from Western Flickers and Christos, Kevin and Beth from Northern Pheonix). The Western Flickers took out this title to prove that West is Best 🙂

Finally, thanks again to it host Kevin Grant for this much loved event. A great rural location for us all to escape to and play the game we love with good friends.

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ATFA releases Vision 2023

After consulting with Australian-based Table Football players via an online survey, the Board of the Australian Table Football Association (ATFA) has produced a Vision Statement to focus on what we aspire for Table Football in Australia to become by 2023 in our key focus areas of Growth, Community and Excellence.

Vision 2023 is available from the Documents section of the ATFA website where you can also find other useful information such as the ATFA Code of Conduct, Constitution and information for tournament organisers.

Vision 2023 icon

Williamstown SC to host Table Football Evening

The Western Flickers Table Football Club are pleased to announce that a “Come and Try” Table Football exhibition will be run on Tuesday 20th November from 6pm at the Williamstown Soccer Club, JT Gray Reserve, Kororoit Creek Rd, Williamstown, VIC 3016. Everyone is welcome to come along, find out about this version of football (soccer) and have a go!
Western Flickers Table Football Club, based in Melbourne’s western suburbs and originating in Hobson Bay, are excited by the possibility of this being the start of a long term affiliation with Williamstown SC. In addition to Williamstown SC being a local soccer club in the Hobson Bay area,  they share many of the same values as demonstrated by the growth of this community focussed soccer club that now has over 30 teams to cater for all ages, both genders, and all abilities.

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2018 Melbourne IO Report

2018 Melbourne IO Report

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FISTF Women’s IO

The women’s event kicked off the weekends’ festivities.  It was contested between Beth Eveleigh of the Northern Pheonix and two Western Flickers TFC Members – Juliette Browne and Charlotte Wright.

A tightly contested round robin league ensued.  Beth drew both her games 0-0, meaning that Charlotte’s 1-0 win over Juliette in the final game decided the proceedings.  Charlotte took out her first FISTF title, with Beth runner up, and Juliette third.

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Beth Eveleigh (runner up), Charlotte Wright (Champion) and Juliette Browne (3rd) with their awards from the Women’s FISTF IO

FISTF Junior U19 IO

The junior event was contested by 8 players in two groups of four.  The top two from each group progressing to the FISTF IO semi finals.

Benjamin Ng and top seed Gabriel Lombard early on showed they were the players to beat in this competition and took out their respective groups.  Charlotte Wright backed up her win in the Women’s event with a strong showing to progress from her group to the semi finals and defeating the vastly improved Aidan Deverell in the 3rd /4th playoff.

In the final, Gabriel played some quality Table Football but it was the killer instinct in front of goal that proved the difference with Benjamin Ng winning the Junior title 3-0.

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Benjamin Ng receiving the Junior title from ATFA President Adrian Connolly

Junior U19 WASPA

The junior WASPA was held for all those eliminated from the FISTF event.  Second seed for the FISTF Junior competition, Billy Wright, overcame his disappointment at elimination from the main event to make the final but didn’t join his sister on the winners’ list, going down on penalties to promising debutant Liam Browne in the Junior WASPA final.

MTFC Open WASPA

The Melbourne IO Event also saw the debut of the Power Rankings to decide the outcome of a WASPA tournament.  The rules were:

– 1. Players not occupied referreeing the Junior, Women’s or Teams events on the Saturday were free to organise themselves games on the spare tables and record results.

– 2. The final standings were made using the new Power Rankings system given that not all players played a similar number of games, or games against players of the same standard.  Only results on the day counted.  A win over a player who had performed well on the day was worth more than a win against a player who was winless.  

– 3. All enquires on how Power Rankings are calculated should be directed to Richard Wilson.

– 4. For disputes on the outcome, see rule 3 !  

The completion was narrowly taken out by Raffaele Lombard from Eliot Kennedy and Giuseppe Tardiota in a good indicator of players to watch in the main Open event on Sunday.

FISTF Open IO

Sixteen players competed in the Melbourne IO.  Top seed Raffaele Lombard and third seed Eliot Kennedy would have been more pleased with the draw than second seed Benny Ng or fourth seed Steve Dettre, and it would turn out to be the case.

In Groups 1 and 3 Raffaele and Eliot cruised though their group games, with Eliot particularly impressed with three 5-0 victories.  Steve Wright progressed in second place in Group 1 on goal difference with his final round win over Juliette, whilst Kevin Grant went through in second place from Group 3 by defeating the 2018 Melbourne IO Junior Champion Benjamin Ng in the contest of that group.

Groups 2 and 4 were both wide open going into the final round of fixtures.  Second seed Benny Ng was at risk of not progressing after letting a 1-0 lead slip against Giuseppe Tardiota to go down 1-2.  Benny needed to defeat Luke Radziminski or hope his club mate Charlotte Wright could do him a favour in the final round of group games.  In the end Luke and Giuseppe got the results they needed to progress, with Luke topping the Group.  Prior to the event, several good judges saw Luke as a dark horse to take out the title and by topping this “Group of Death” this appeared to be the case.

Group 4, the “Presidential Group”, pitted fourth seed FISTF President Steve Dettre, ATFA and Western Flickers TFC President Adrian Connolly, Northern Pheonix President Christos Garagounis, and Adam Deverell.  Adrian put himself in a good position to progress with a 1-0 win over Adam thanks to a goal in the dying seconds of their first round clash, whilst Steve took the pole position expected of the seed going into the final round thanks to a big win over the luckless Adam. Christos drew his clashes with Steve and Adrian and as such needed a win in his final game against Adam, possibly by two goals, to progress.  However, it was not to be with Adam doing his club President Adrian a favour by defeating Christos.  The clash to decide the group winner was one of the games of the event.  Steve took the lead early, but Adrian responded immediately with a goal from the kick off possession and then scored a second goal soon after to take a 2-1 lead.  However, with seconds remaining, Steve drew level with the final action of the first half to tie it up at 2-2.  The second half was much tighter. Ultimately a relentless sequence of corners by Steve Dettre creates the decisive opening for the third and winning goal that saw Steve take out the Group.

The quarter finals pitted Raffaele against Kevin; Eliot against Steve Wright, Steve Dettre against Giuseppe Tardiota, and Luke Radziminski against Adrian Connolly.

The first two games went comfortably I the in form seeds Raffaele and Eliot.  However, in the other games Giuseppe showed his improvement from his time in Italy to overcome Steve Dettre; whilst Adrian Connolly caused an upset by defeating Luke Radziminski 3-1.  This meant 2nd in Group 2 had eliminated 1st in Group 4, whilst 2nd in Group 4 had eliminated 1st in Group 2.  Given both Giuseppe and Adrian only progressed at all from their groups by virtue of results in their final group games this demonstrated how tightly contested this half of the draw was.

The semi finals therefore featured players from each of the three states competing – NSW, Queensland and Victoria.  Given Adrian’s Tasmanian origins and his decade living in WA it could be argued that the semis truly had a National feel. 

In the first semi final Raffaele extended his run to 5 games without conceding a goal to go through to the final with a 2-0 win.  Whilst in the other clash Eliot capitalised on some defensive blocking errors to take a commanding 3-0 half time.  In the second half Adrian became the first player to put one last Eliot’s keeper.  A gripping end could have been set up had Adrian taken a good chance with a minute to go, but a good save by Eliot saw him also comfortably progress to the final 3-1.

The final was therefore contest between two of the travelling contingent from NSW.  The high quality game was streamed live in high definition with the latest technology – timber, rubber bands and an iPhone!  Eliot took an early lead but the top seed Raffaele responded well to equalise and then take the lead. Eliot found the net a second time with a great finish prior to half time but unfortunately the goal was ruled out in what later found to be an error by the referee.  Eliot as always showed why he is such a respected player with the way he handled the decision.

The second half saw Eliot needing to chase the game and in the last minute he had a good chance to score but sent his shot narrowly wide.  Raffaele then attacked and scored a third goal in what would be the last action of the contest.

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Adrian Connolly (3rd), Eliot Kennedy (runner up), Raffaele Lombard (Champion), Guiseppe Tardiota (3rd)

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Club Team Champions - Western Flickers TFC B Team

Club Team Champions – Western Flickers TFC B Team

WASPA Open

To ensure the WASPA was complete prior to the FISTF IO Final, the format was a straight knockout competition with 2x10min halves and penalties (no extra time).  There were 9 competitors in the WASPA Plate Event, with the previous days’ junior runner up Gabriel Lombard joining the 8 players eliminated from the FISTF Open event.  Gabriel played Charlotte Wright in the barrage.  After a scoreless draw Charlotte won 2-1 on penalties to move into the quarter finals.

In the quarter finals, Charlotte continued her impressive run of results by defeating Adam Deverell 2-1 on penalties.  This set up a semi final showdown with her brother Billy who progressed after Beth Eveleigh needed to forfeit due to illness.  Benny Ng accounted for Christos Garagounis to set up a clash with his son Benjamin in the other semi final after Benjamin defeated Juliette 1-0. 

In the battle of the Wrights, it was Billy that prevailed 2-1 on penalties after a scoreless draw.  In the other semi Benjamin continued his run of wins over his father to progress to the final 3-1.

The final saw two of the Western Flickers’ juniors battle it out for the WASPA Open win.  In the end the FISTF Junior IO winner,

Benjamin Ng, proved to strong for the WASPA Junior IO winner Billy Wright.

Thank you to all the travelling contingent from interstate who added so much to the atmosphere and the quality of play.  

A special thanks must also go out to all those involved in organising the event:

Juliette Brown for obtaining the venue

Steve Wright for managing the budget, registrations, payments.

Kevin Grant for all the hard work moving the boards to the site (the boards of which he of course has made himself!) as well as his ingenuous “camera stand” for the live stream.

Beth Eveleigh for again running the best raffle!  Great prizes and a great little fundraiser to help with costs to keep fees down.

Adam Deverell for the BBQ.

Benny Ng as tournament head referee.

The clubs and players that made their boards available 

NP TFC for the WASPA Plate Event.

MTFC for use of their umbrella for the WASPA on Saturday.

All players for stepping into their referee duties when asked, including the visiting Carl Young who walked in to watch at the wrong time when we were one short!

Paul Mercer for his great tournament template to record the results and run the event.

Richard Wilson for use of the Power 

And finally a pat on my own back for keeping you all on track to finish 10mins prior to my schedule on both days, and somehow not losing any of the competition match balls!  Just don’t mention my ability to count to four in the final 😞

Adrian Connolly

ATFA President