Match Day 7
The ClubhouseA few rescheduled fixtures made for another packed draw at The Clubhouse. Raffaele and Big Steve were both back from their overseas junkets, meaning they could begin their tasks of catching up games. Raffaele had brought back a shipment of custom Subbuteo Parramatta TopSpin balls and these found their way on to the pitches for their first appearances. Raffaele drew Paul in his tournament opener, while Big Steve lined up against Adrian. Both Paul and Adrian were testing out new figures – Paul an as yet unpainted set, Adrian his new Subbuteo Parramatta replicas. Raffaele was returning from the World Cup, ready to use some of his new knowledge picked up from the world’s best. He played out a very tense encounter against Paul. Paul found his new bases a little heavier on the touch and so took a while to get used to this. In the end a single goal was all that could separate the two, Raffaele taking the victory, with a long discussion on a small rule technicality being the highlight of the closing minute. Meanwhile, Big Steve was taking the upper hand in his clash with Adrian. Midway through the first half, Steve found space behind Adrian’s defines and lined up for the shot. Adrian made a brilliant save. Unfortunately it was Steve’s white based figure that he saved, the ball sailing unopposed into the opposite side of the goal! Early in the second half, Adrian managed an equaliser as he grew more familiar with his new bases, but Steve’s class told out in the end, with two very well taken goals (using an orange ball now!) to round out his win.
The second round of games saw Dave take on Fabrizio and Steve back up against Gordy. t least that’s how it would have been, had Gordy turned up. Instead, he messaged through a feeble excuse about illness blah blah blah instead of actually facing up to his challenges. So Fabrizio’s dad, flown in direct from Italy to compete in the upcoming International Open in Melbourne, had a practise hit-out with Big Steve while his son gave Dave a lesson on shooting. David’s defensive positioning has improved considerably and he was able to keep Fabrizio at bay for long stretches. Fabrizio, however, only needed a few chances due to his conversion rate when shooting, some of the goals with outrageous chips, leading to a 5-0 victory.
Raffaele lined up against Dave in the next round, with Paul and Adrian clashing on the other table. Adrian had the early running, his second new trial bases for the evening giving him an edge when dribbling. His shooting, however, left much to be desired and his numerous shots never really troubled Paul. Paul then wrestled control and showed Adrian how it was done. The final of his 3 goals, in particular, was a master lesson on delicacy within a packed goal box. Meanwhile, Raffaele completed an identical 3-0 scoreline against Dave, whose outdoor goalkeeping skills were helping him pick Raffaele’s shots, frustrating Raffaele’s desire for complete domination.The final match-ups were the evening’s highlights. Steve and Paul continued their decades old rivalry. A see-sawing battle saw Steve take the lead, only for Paul to equalise by half time. In the second half, Steve again got his nose in front but Paul was not going to be dismissed easily and earned a dogged point with another equaliser before full time. On the other table, the Italians went head to head. Before long, Fabrizio had stamped his authority on the game and was 2 goals to the good with some dominating play. Even the Italian language couldn’t hide Raffaele’s frustrations at his own play. However, in a remarkable turnaround, Raffaele found first one goal, then an equaliser with one of the most outrageous shots from the attacking goal line as Fabrizio attempted to smother him and his chances of scoring in the final seconds before the half time break. With each player both dominating and crumbling at different stages of the half, the win could go either way, while another draw was definitely on the cards. In the end, it was, again, Fabrizio’s chip shooting that gave him the edge. What he had against Dave, he repeated against Raffaele, carving out just a few chances but finishing them with delicate precision. This half, there was to be no collapse and he took the game 4-2.
Another excellent evening’s play, with 3 of Subbuteo Parramatta’s 4 representatives getting solid practice in before the International Open (while the 4th was phoning in some very interesting results in some friendly matches he was playing against a highly revered ‘mystery’ coach!). So, Fabrizio and Paul head the table, though, with only one game left for him to play, those behind Paul, with games in hand, will now be keen to reel him back in.
(report by Adrian Elmer)
Raffaele 1 – Paul 0
David 0 – Fabrizio 5
Raffaele 3 – David 0
Fabrizio 4 – Raffaele 2
Steve 3 – Adrian 1
Adrian 0 – Paul 3
Paul 2 – Steve 2
for full scores and updated table, click here