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Australian Grand Prix – Teams Tournament Report

The teams event at the 2017 Australian Grand Prix provided great entertainment and quality with fierce battles played on the Extreme Pitches in Leichhardt. For the first time, 6 different Australian club teams were represented with teams coming from Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne and three from Sydney (Parramatta, Sydney TFC and Northern Falcons).

teams panoramaIn Group A, Melbourne TFC began their title defence with comfortable wins over Sydney TFC (3-1) and Brisbane Subbuteo Club (3-0). This meant the match between Brisbane and Sydney was effectively a semi-final playoff. In what was somewhat of an upset, the Brisbane lads pulled off a 3-1 victory with young Daniel Sirmai etching his name into Brisbane Subbuteo folklore. His 3-0 victory over Terry Koutzas proved the turning point in the first ever team win for Giuseppe Tardiota’s men.

The Northern Falcons were the seeded team in group B and they made a strong start dispatching Perth Subbuteo Club (4-0). However, they faced a more difficult task in their game against crosstown rivals, Subbuteo Parrammatta, The final score was 3-0 with Parramatta’s Adrian Elmer nabbing a result against Jonathan Ball/Hermann Kruse. Adrian’s result proved to be vital as Parramatta had drawn with Perth in a thrilling contest earlier in the day (1-1). Parramatta progressed in second place on games difference, knocking the Perth lads out of the competition.

This year we were able to include a 5th place game in which Sydney TFC won their first ever team game by defeating Perth.

The semi-finals went down to form with the falcons knocking down Brisbane 3-1 and Melbourne defeating Parramatta 3-0.

This meant the Grand Final would be a repeat of the 2015 Grand Prix between the Falcons and Melbourne TFC. The Falcons may have had the home state advantage, but Melbourne was running high on confidence, with their players having performed strongly in the individual event the day prior.

Teams finalists - Melbourne TFC (red) v Northern Falcons (purple)

Teams finalists – Melbourne TFC (red) v Northern Falcons (purple)

The grand final matchups were as follows

Peter Thomas vs Eliot Kennedy
Benji Batten vs Steve Dettre
Paul Mercer vs Hermann Kruse
Benny Ng vs Jonathan Ball

There was great tension as the match began with the individual match-ups failing to produce a goal inside the opening 7 minutes.

But the deadlock would be broken by Melbourne’s Singapore International, Benny Ng, and soon the goals were flowing. Benji Batten went a goal up against Dettre and Paul mercer took the lead over Hermann Kruse. The exception to the trend was Eliot Kennedy who stunningly took the lead against Peter Thomas. Thomas equalised before the break but this gave the Falcons much needed confidence going into the half time break.

Down 3-0 at halftime, the Falcons were up against the wall and things got little better as Peter Thomas took the lead against Eliot. Paul Mercer and Benny were able to stretch their leads out and despite a late flurry from Hermann Kruse and Steve Dettre (who nabbed a draw against Benji Batten), it was a case of too little too late.

Melbourne took the win 3-0 and claimed the Teams cup, thus becoming the first team to go back-to-back in winning this event.

It all shapes up brilliantly for the 2018 edition with Melbourne looking to claim a three-peat but they will face international challengers as the event doubles up as the 2018 Asian Cup of Table Football.

Report by Benji Batten

For more photos, click here.

For full results, click here.

A Letter from the Acting ATFA Board President

Dear players and supporters of Subbuteo Table Football in Australia

I am writing to you on the back of a very successful weekend of table football in Sydney, with the 2017 Australian Grand Prix an overwhelmingly positive experience for players.

To the players who attended, I hope you had an enjoyable time. To those who couldn’t make it this year, I hope to see you at next year’s Grand Prix as well as our club events, which will run around the country throughout the year.

During the weekend we held an Australian Table Foootball Association (ATFA) board meeting where we discussed some plans and ideas we will be implementing this season. Please read below to learn about these key updates

1. ATFA BOARD
Following the recent decision by Steve Dettre to step down as president, an interim board of ATFA has been formed until the next AGM:
President – Benji Batten
Vice president – Vacant
Secretary General – Peter Thomas
Treasurer – Eliot Kennedy
Communications Officer – Adrian Elmer
Board Advisors – Steve Dettre, Luke Radziminski, Giuseppe Tardiota

tardiotta, giuseppe web 400The board is very keen to expand its membership to include more of Australia’s playing regions. To that end, I am very pleased to announce that Giuseppe Tardiota from Brisbane has this week agreed to join the board immediately as a Board Advisor. It is great to have Pino on the board.

There will be a full election of the ATFA board later in the year. We will publicise the roles and their definitions, as well as the process of nominating and being elected to the board. In the meantime, the current board will continue to operate.

2. ATFA MEMBERSHIP
Due to the need to fund ATFA’s small number of annual expenses, as well as the desire to continue the growth of Subbuteo table football, ATFA will be introducing a formal membership process whereby players can become official members of our Association for the upcoming 2017-18 season. This will entitle you to play in FISTF events both in Australia and around the world.

Membership will involve a small membership fee, sufficient only to cover our basic expenses (annual FISTF registration fees, fees for our incorporation as an association, website renewal fee, etc). Full details will be published in the coming months, but we look forward to our players’ support as we begin the process of building our national membership base.

3. 2018 AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX/ASIAN CUP OF TABLE FOOTBALL – Save the date
After a very successful 2017 Grand Prix in Sydney, ATFA is excited to announce the 2018 Grand Prix will be held in Melbourne on the 20th and 21st of January 2018. The event will be co-hosted by the Western Flickers Table Football Club and Melbourne Table Football Club. This event will also double as the 2018 Asian Cup of Table Football (it is Australia’s year to host the event) with players expected from Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia. This event has the potential to be the biggest table football tournament in Australia’s history. I ask that you all save the date in your calendar as it would be fantastic to see you all in Melbourne for another fun filled weekend. Further information on this tournament will be made available in the coming months.

4. 2016-17 AND 2017-18 FISTF CALENDAR
Seeking expressions of interest for other FISTF events in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons

Following FISTF, each season runs from 1 September to 31 August the following year. Until now, our FISTF calendar has involved two larger FISTF events – a Grand Prix (GP) and an International Open (IO) – which so far have been held only in Sydney and Melbourne, the two largest playing centres – as well as a series of WASPA events staged by our affiliated clubs around the country.

We are keen to expand the FISTF calendar to four events a year to promote the game nationally, and the first step in this direction is a FISTF event to be held in Perth in July this year (see our website for details).

For the time being, we plan to continue to hold the Australian International Grand Prix in either Sydney or Melbourne in January each year, with an IO in the city not holding the AGP that year, normally in September/October. We would like to expand this calendar to include an additional IO and an additional Satellite tournament each year. (We can only organise one GP per year, but can hold up to two IOs and up to three Satellite events)

ATFA is therefore seeking expressions of interest from its clubs to host the remaining three events in the 2017-18 season

These events are
– International Open (1 day) in September/October 2017- Note: to be hosted by a Sydney club
– One FISTF satellite and one IO event, or two Satellite events (1 day) – can be hosted within the current season (ie by 31 August 2017) or at any point next season subject to approval from the ATFA board.

We are asking for clubs interested in hosting the event to send an e-mail to Adrian Elmer (ajebec@netspace.net.au), Communications Director, with the following information:
– why you want to host the event
– why you feel you deserve to host the event
– how many players you aim to attract for your event
– where you would look to host the event (general location or a few venue ideas is more than fine, no set venue is needed)
– what dates you would like to host the event

Interested clubs can refer to the FISTF handbook available on the FISTF website for the minimum requirements for each tournament type.

We encourage all clubs to get in touch and submit their interest in hosting an event. Two or more clubs can co-host an event if they are based in the same city.

5. 2017 AND 2018 EVENTS CALENDAR
The best way to maximise attendance at events is to plan as far in advance as possible and ensure we can space out our events. In the near future we will have the Asian Cup in Japan in June, and also a FISTF International Open in Perth in July.

I encourage all clubs to send through the dates of planned league, cup or WASPA tournaments, and even friendly club meetings, to Adrian as soon as they know them, so we can advertise the dates on the ATFA website. The more advance notice is given, the better we can promote the event which leads to a higher attendance of players.

6. FEEDBACK
I am really interested in getting feedback and ideas from all players throughout the year, so feel free to send me an e-mail or a Facebook message. I’d be more than happy to chat about new ideas or ways we can do things better. So I am looking forward to being in touch with as many of our players as possible this year.

I hope you all have a great year. Please let me know if you have any questions and I hope to see you all in action on the Subbuteo pitch this year.
My e-mail address is benjibatten@hotmail.com

batten, benji web 400Benji Batten
ATFA President
On behalf of the entire ATFA Board

24th WASPA BLC Tournament

Seven players turned up to compete in what was supposed to be a 37 Degree furnace, to be pleasantly surprised, it was only 36.

We decided to play a round robin with the top 4 going into semis and a final.

The first round saw last month’s finalists Rik and Gus  go head to head in a drab 0-0 draw, neither keeper  really called into action. Giuseppe fresh back from Sydney took on his nemesis Andy Ridgen, and Andy finished the better winning 3-1. The other game was a 2-0 victory to Gareth over our youngest member James.

Round 2 saw our Sydney FISTF warriors Rik and Giuseppe (Pino) go head to head with Rik emerging victorious 2-1. Derek the Seagull beat James 3-0 and an interesting encounter between Gareth and Gus, where Gareth parked the bus for literally ¾ of the game before conceding a goal and then losing 3-0, Gus was relieved.

Round 3 saw a very tough match between a solid Rik and a pumped Andy end 1-1 with Andy taking the lead. Giuseppe very surprisingly lost 1-0 to Gareth who introduced a very interesting victory dance to all. Derek gave Gus a tough time, and again last month’s champion had to be very patient before breaking through to eventually win 2-0. Derek’s play is certainly improving fast.

Round 4 went in order of the favourites, Andy beating a spirited James 4-2, Rik took apart Gareth who wanted to see Rik at his best, he got what he asked for. Giuseppe beat Derek but only a goal to nil.

Round 5 ended with a 5-1 win to Andy over Gareth, James lost to his Dad 3-0 but got some great tips along the way (which went in one ear and out the other, who listens to Dad ?) and Rik saw off Derek 3-1

Round 6 had a couple of hard fought games. Gareth beating the Seagulls of Derek 3-1 which would eventually see him make the semis, and a great game between the two Sunshine Coasters Andy and Gus finish 1-0 to Gus after a very swift and deadly finish. Giuseppe beat James 4-0 who by this stage wanted to eat his own arm (those of you with boys will appreciate this).

The last round finished with Andy securing 3rd spot beating Derek 3-0, Rik rested some of his best players and beat James 3-2 whilst the crunch match of Giuseppe and Gus saw Gus win 2-0 finishing the league top with no goals conceded and condemning Giuseppe to 5th place, the first time ever not to make the semis. Unfortunately, Gareth who finished 4th had to go home so Gus got  a bye to the final.

The Semi.

Rik vs Andy. Andy was pumped, this was going to be his day, Rik is Australia’s #2 Brisbane’s new #1 – he was not going to be defeated. A very fast and tough game ensued, Andy had been composed all day, sweeping all but Gus to victory or a draw with his new found calm efficiency. Game plan out the window, Andy was going too hard, and found himself  2-0 down. He did however mange a blazing goal back, to go into half time 2-1.  Andy’s half time cup of tea failed to calm him down and his over eagerness to get back cost him dearly as the lethal Rik fired 3 well flicked goals past him to end the game 5-1.

The Final. Gus had not conceded a goal all day, but the only opponent he failed to beat was Rik. Rik also had not lost a game all day, so it was a fitting match up for the final. The first half saw few chances as the two players locked horns and were desperate not to give anything away. However just before the whistle of half time, Gus gave away a ‘back’ which the referee adjudged to be in the shooting area giving Rik a great opportunity which he did not waste. 40 seconds later it was half time. As much as Gus huffed and puffed Rik had the answer, and more.  Rik piling on so much pressure that Gus gave another ‘ back’  to Rik in the shooting area, which the “Narangba Assassin “ despatched with aplomb to make it 2-0. Gus then went all out in desperation to claw himself back into the game, however, there was only to be one winner, Rik found his way through and dealt the killer blow 3-0. So Gus’s chance of the treble ended at the hands of Rik, who is a worthy champion, not only with his skill and cunning, but the great sportsmanlke way he plays the game.

Another great competition with great games and great goals shared amongst friends. We can’t wait for the next one in March.

2017 Australian Grand Prix Set for Take Off

 

10931524_1534778550141070_785821066451635780_nThis weekend from the 3rd to 5th of February, the Australian Table Football Association will host the 2017 FISTF Grand Prix of Australia at the Associazione Napoletana in Leichhardt.

The tournament will feature more than 30 players travelling from all over Australia and Singapore to compete in the event.

The individual event is sure to be hotly contested with world #45 Peter Thomas (Australia’s highest ranked player) the tournament favourite. Thomas will face stern competition, notably from Singapore’s Benny Ng and Australia’s Fabrizio Coco and Eliot Kennedy who will each be seeking to cause a big upset and take the title.

There is a truly national flavour to this year’s event as the Perth Subbuteo Club brings a team for the very first time. Brisbane Subbuteo club will also play in the teams event along with Melbourne Table Football Club, Sydney TFC, Subbuteo Parramatta and the Northern Falcons TFC.

Saturday will feature the individuals battling it out in open and junior categories, while on Sunday a teams competition will take place with the current champions Melbourne Table Football club competing against 6 other teams. Additionally, the Sunday will play host to the first all-female table football tournament in Australia with 4 players contesting for the title of Australia’s top female player.

As always, the event is sure to be a cracker, with great fun to be had players and spectators who will be immersed in the excitement, action and drama that will unfold over the weekend.

Entry for spectators is free and we encourage people of all ages to come down and watch, with spare tables on hand for beginners to try out the game. For anyone interested in playing Subbuteo table football, this would be the perfect opportunity to come down and see what all the excitement is about.

Please direct all enquiries to Benji Batten – Tournament Organiser.

benjibatten@hotmail.com

 

Western Invasion – A Successful Operation

 

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Feature Poster

A total of 13 players ventured into the quiet and industrious suburb of Altona within Western Flicker’s premises and the home of Benny Ng, who kindly allowed MTFC to organise the tournament. Special mention goes to Yago Dzelalija who travelled from the Canberra especially to participate in this event.

The format was 3 groups drawn at random where Peter Thomas, Benny Ng and Luke Radziminski winning their groups respectively. The third group winner and runners up (Luke and Yago) had to play barrage round against the second placed players from the first and second group in order to proceed into the semi finals.

Luke was narrowly defeated to Benji Batten and Yago defeated Paul Mercer on penalties after a 0-0 draw.

Peter Thomas then went on to defeat Yago 4-0 in the first semi final while Benny managed to defeat Benji in an intense, testosterone-fueled arm wrestle in which both players had created chances in each half.

Peter Thomas, representing MTFC then went on to comfortably defeat Western Flicker’s co-founder Benny Ng (5-1) to take home the chocolates.

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Batten Down

In other news, the ‘Wall-shelf of death’ made an appearance in the tournament picking a fight with 3 players in separate incidents on record. The alleged victims; Benji Batten and Paul Mercer sustained bruised shoulders while Luke received a cheeky head-butt that no one noticed. An effective ‘Anti MTFC’ device deployed against the MTFC invasion.

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All 13 Participants (Incl. 3 Juniors)

For more photos, they are featured in the Melbourne Table Football (Subbuteo) Club Facebook Group

Final standings
Pos Player
1 Peter Thomas
2 Benny Ng
3 Benji Batten/Yago Dzelalija
4 Benji Batten/Yago Dzelalija
5 Luke Radziminski
6 Paul Mercer
7 Adrian Connolly
8 Greg Hall
9 Benjamin Ng
10 Kevin Grant
11 Simon Briffa
12 Alex Briffa
13 Harrison Briffa

The Games

Group A
Home Score Away
Benji Batten 4 1 Alex Briffa
Peter Thomas 6 1 Kevin Grant
Kevin Grant 1 4 Benji Batten
Alex Briffa 0 0 Greg Hall
Greg Hall 1 0 Kevin Grant
Benji Batten 0 4 Peter Thomas
Peter Thomas 5 0 Greg Hall
Kevin Grant 1 0 Alex Briffa
Alex Briffa 0 4 Peter Thomas
Greg Hall 0 3 Benji Batten
Group B
Home Score Away
Paul Mercer 0 1 Benny Ng
Adrian Connolly 1 0 Harrison Briffa
Harrison Briffa 0 4 Paul Mercer
Benny Ng 2 0 Adrian Connolly
Paul Mercer 0 0 Adrian Connolly
Harrison Briffa 0 2 Benny Ng
Group C
Home Score Away
Luke Radziminski 3 0 Simon Briffa
Yago Dzelalija 1 1 Benjamin Ng
Benjamin Ng 0 3 Luke Radziminski
Simon Briffa 1 2 Yago Dzelalija
Luke Radziminski 2 0 Yago Dzelalija
Benjamin Ng 1 1 Simon Briffa
Consolation round
Home Score Away
Adrian Connolly 1 0 Benjamin Ng
Benjamin Ng 1 1 Greg Hall
Greg Hall 1 1 Adrian Connolly
Consolation Semi-Finals
Home Score Away
Simon Briffa 3 0 Alex Briffa
Kevin Grant 2 0 Harrison Briffa
12th/13th place Play-off
Home Score Away
Alex Briffa 0 0 Harrison Briffa
Consolation Final (10th/11th place Play-off)
Home Score Away
Simon Briffa 0 2 Kevin Grant
Barrage round
Home Score Away
Luke Radziminski 0 1 Benji Batten
Paul Mercer 0 0 Yago Dzelalija
5th/6th place Play-off
Home Score Away
Luke Radziminski 1 0 Paul Mercer
Semi-Finals
Home Score Away
Peter Thomas 4 0 Yago Dzelalija
Benny Ng 2 0 Benji Batten
3rd/4th place Play-off
Home Score Away
Yago Dzelalija  X  X Benji Batten
Final
Home Score Away
Peter Thomas 5 1 Benny Ng

2017 Australian Grand Prix

The Australian Table Football Association is pleased to be able to announce the full details for the upcoming Australian Grand Prix.

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The tournament will take place over the weekend of February 3-5. Our venue this year will be the premises of the Associazione Napoletana, found at 1A Marion St, Leichhardt, Sydney.

In a packed weekend of Subbuteo, the majority of individual tournaments will take place on Saturday, February 4, including the Individual Opens tournament and Individual Junior Tournaments in U19, U15 and U12 categories (subject to numbers). The individual tournaments will consist of a group phase with the top 2 place-getters in each group progressing to the knock-out stages. For players in the Opens Individual tournament who are eliminated early, a separate WASPA tournament will then take place.

Then, following on Sunday, February 5 will be the club teams tournament and, for the first time in Australian Subbuteo history, a FISTF Ladies Tournament. Another WASPA tournament will also be held for any players not participating in the Teams or Ladies tournament.

The Australian Grand Prix is open to all players, regardless of age, gender, experience or ability. New players are very welcome.

Pricing

For any player aged above 19 (Open age), the tournament entry fee is $30. Your entry fee covers all play for both days, including venue hire and all FISTF fees.

For Junior players (Aged 19 and Under), tournament entry is Free

Payment can be made in cash on the day though payment in advance by bank transfer is much preferred. Online payments can be made via Melbourne Table Football Club Incorporated who will be collecting the entry fees on behalf of ATFA.

Melbourne Table Football Club Inc.
B.S.B: 013 355
A/C No. 2914 879 38
(please include your name and ‘AGP2017’ with payment)

Friday Night Dinner

This year we will again be hosting a dinner on the Friday Night before the tournament. This dinner will take place at the tournament venue. The draw for the weekend’s matches will also be conducted. All players are highly encouraged to attend this dinner. Payments for the dinner will be made separate to the tournament entry fee. The price per person for the dinner will be determined closer to the event as it is dependent on exact numbers (though we are estimating $30.

Attendees will also be free to organise friendly practise matches during the evening.

Registration

To register for the Australian Grand Prix, please submit your full details below.

Subbuteo Parramatta New Year’s WASPA Tournament

group shotAfter a holiday hiatus, Subbuteo Parramatta got back into the swing of things with a New Year’s WASPA Tournament on the evening of Monday, January 9, at the Subbuteo Parramatta clubhouse. With newly placed air-conditioning, the normally sweltering in summer clubhouse was cooled to just ‘warm’ and, from all reports, no perspiration was dropped onto any of the pitches. A field of 7 players, representing 4 of Sydney’s clubs, came together to battle it out.

In the opening games, Costa, struggling with strapped knee and elbow (a mix of the stresses and strains of Subbuteo and slot car racing) lost a hard fought match against David. Adrian took a 2 goal lead against Tony before Tony pegged a late one back to make the final couple of minutes uncomfortable. Fabrizio proved too experienced for the improving Heidi on the al fresco pitch in the summer breeze on the verandah.

Heidi and costa on the al fresco pitch

Heidi and costa on the al fresco pitch

By the time the pool games were finished, Fabrizio had come out on top of the larger group undefeated, followed by David, then Costa, then Heidi. Paul Magee also remained undefeated, topping the smaller group with wins over Adrian and Tony. So Fabrizio went to the first semi to face Adrian, Paul squared up against David, and Tony and Costa headed outdoors for the Consolation Final. Tony made light work of Costa who was, by now, flagging terribly under his body’s protests, taking the game 3-0. Meanwhile, the major semis went to form with Fabrizio putting 2 unanswered past Adrian and Paul edging David by the lone goal.

In the 3rd/4th play-off, David owned the first half and was finally rewarded with a swiftly moved goal in the dying seconds. In the second stanza, Adrian threw everything at David but he, with some help from the woodwork, stood firm to claim his first competitive victory over Adrian and 3rd place in the tournament. Meanwhile, the grand final proved to be one of the more open games of the evening with both players pushing for goals. At half time, Fabrizio held a 2-1 edge and, in a tighter second half, held on for the victory and his 2nd WASPA title in the space of a month.

Paul v Tony (foreground), Fabrizio v David (background)

Paul v Tony (foreground), Fabrizio v David (background)

An excellent evening of friendly play. Special mention to Heidi’s son Angus who came along and had his first introduction to the game with some friendly flicks with Paul. With the Australian Grand Prix fast approaching, most of the players will all be using the evening’s tournament as a starting point for their intensive training for the next month, while Costa will be heading for some intensive sessions on the physio couch.

For full results, click here.

Statement from Steve Dettre

I am writing to inform all players that I have resigned as president of the ATFA, due to family reasons, but also work related.
However, I intend on keeping active in the game, playing with the Northern Falcons and attending as many events as I can, and providing advice to the board when asked.
As is only fitting, I have passed on the active organisation of the federation to our Vice President, Benji Batten, and the rest of the board.
It’s not a decision I made lightly, but it has nothing to do with the state of the game or the others on the board, and has everything to do with balancing family and available time.
I am proud of what we have all achieved in the last two years: the game has grown to 14 clubs in Australia, and we have more than 125 active players. That number is growing each week as the new clubs expand and players take part in tournaments.
We have developed deep relationships with other associations and players in our region, forged through Benji’s idea of an Asian Cup of Table Football.
For any players that don’t know Benji, he is the founder of the Melbourne Table Football Club and has been one of the game’s driving forces in its most recent revival. He has already served on the ATFA board as Secretary General, Vice-President and Treasurer whilst organising many of his club’s tournaments and a number of ATFA’s large tournaments, including the 2015 Asian Cup and the 2015 Melbourne International Open.
Benji has been appointed as acting president by the board until ATFA’s Annual General Meeting which will take place before the end of the financial year.
At this meeting, all positions on the board will be up for election. Details of this will be announced to all players in the next few months.
Benji’s first key task will be to take a lead role in organising the 2017 Australian Grand Prix which will take place on February 4th and 5th in Sydney.
I call upon all players to support the ATFA in organising and taking part in the event. Registrations will open very soon, and I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible at the event.
Steve Dettre

2016-17 Northern Lights Summer League

Match Day One – Saturday 03rd December 2016

Luke takes on Carl in the sunshine.

Luke takes on Carl in the sunshine.

Table Football finally arrived to Melbourne’s inner northern suburbs as Preston was the venue for Match Day One of the inaugural Northern Lights Summer League. A field of eight took part in an intense afternoon of Subbuteo as each player competed and pitted their talents against every other competitor. In total, 28 games were held (12 minute halves) as quick rotations from one round to the other became the order of the day.

Match Day One pitted Luke Radziminski against pre-tournament favourite Carl Young. The contest didn’t disappoint with some very impressive open play and although Young took the honours, a last minute opportunity for Radziminski to salvage a point went begging. A fierce and lively contest to open proceedings in what was to become a good example of what was to follow during the remainder of the day’s fixtures.

Paul Mercer put his Gridiron refereeing responsibilities to the side as he re-entered Melbourne’s burgeoning Table Football scene. One of Subbuteo’s early pioneers in Australia, Mercer was the early pace setter on the day picking up three consecutive 1-0 victories (against Grant, Garagounis and Eveleigh) in his opening three matches. It was an impressive start for the veteran and although the ‘Mercer Train’ didn’t go on to pick up any further wins for the day, he continues to remain a formidable opponent.

Adrian and Kevin battle it out.

Adrian and Kevin battle it out.

Snapping at Mercer’s heels is Tasmanian stalwart, Adrian Connolly. Another member of the ‘Old Brigade’, Connolly notched up two victories against Simon Briffa and Kevin Grant and secured a further three draws to place him fourth on the standings, only two points behind Mercer. One gets the feeling that if Connolly makes a good start on Day Two, then a podium finish is certainly not out of the question.

Christos Garagounis and Beth Eveleigh must have been separated at birth if the standings are anything to go by. Both competitors finished on six points (acquiring one win, three draws and three losses in the process). A solid defence were distinct features of both their games although there will need to be a reassessment of their offensive approach if they are to threaten opposition defensive structures and make a push up the league ladder during Day Two of the event.

The two newest members in Melbourne’s Subbuteo scene – Simon Briffa and Kevin Grant – proved to be the day’s biggest talking point. It is incredible to see the rate of improvement both players have displayed in their overall game play since entering the picture. Grant has a free flowing (almost nonchalant) flicking technique that will undoubtedly cause higher ranked opponents no end of trouble in tournaments to come. Briffa on the other hand employs a combative approach and is never really ever out of the contest. He was immensely unlucky not to notch up two victories on the day, Garagounis scoring late in their respective contest to secure a draw.

15319291_1178444732262942_6906642708423098491_nOverall, a great afternoon of Table Football which saw 28 matches played. In total there were 64 goals scored at an average of 2.29 goals per match (or a goal every 10.5 minutes). This clearly goes to show that resolute defences were the order of the day. Although the Premier’s Plate appears to be a two horse race between Young and Radziminski, a couple of upset results on the day will go a long way in determining the final league ladder. Huge interest also surrounds the minor placings as all positions essentially remain ‘up for grabs’. Every player will be determined to bring their ‘A’ game for Match Day Two (on the 28th January 2017) as competitors reacquaint themselves for the thrilling final instalment of the Northern Lights Summer League.

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