Match Day Nine
Good Games Chatswood
Thanks goodness for the modern wonder of air conditioning! As three sweaty exponents of the fine art of Subbuteo – Steve Dettre, Todd Giles and Eliot Kennedy – assembled in the cosy confines of Good Games Chatswood, they were joined by about 30 almost-as-sweaty young male exponents of Magic: The Gathering. Were it not for the air-co going at full blast, gas masks might have been compulsory.
As it was, the initially rather dank conditions – coupled with the effects of long-term storage of the slightly sticky pitches in their tubes – had the effect of slowing down the normally super slick Extreme pitches to a speed more reminiscent of the gluey pitches found at the ‘Elmerdome’ aka The Clubhouse. This was only fitting, given that the players were there to play three games of Parramatta Spring League.
In the first game, Steve and Todd played out an entertaining match. Your correspondent only saw the second half, but it was 2 – 1 to Steve at half time, with his two goals being countered with what was the goal of the evening: a long range shot from Todd that rocketed into the net with the ‘keeper stranded! The second half saw Steve stretch his lead to 3 – 1 but, try as he might, some good defensive flicks, fine keeping and the woodwork denied him any more goals. Then with just seven seconds left of the clock, Todd hammered in another well hit long range shot to make it 3 – 2 on the death. Well done Todd! Hard luck Steve!
The next game saw Eliot take on Todd. The air conditioning appeared to be having an effect not only on air quality, but also the pitch, which was noticeably faster as the evening wore on. This suited Eliot, who was trying to play an up-tempo game. This saw him miss a few flicks, but also score three unanswered goals before half time. The second half was a much tighter affair, with Todd having more of the ball. His continued good ‘keeping, good blocks and more woodwork than you’d see in a carpenter’s workshop meant Eliot could only get one more goal in the second half, winning 4 – 0. Todd’s game is definitely getting stronger with match practice and will only improve further as his tactical awareness further develops.
The final game saw the old rivals Steve and Eliot take each on yet again. It’s been about 40 years since these two old tragics first played each other, but both are still enjoying games against each other and, generally, as much as ever! This was a close but relatively open affair, with both players having plenty of chances to score. Eliot probably had slightly the better of the first half and took the lead with a well hit shot from some distance about ten minutes in, and it was 1 – 0 at half time. But big Stevie game out firing in the second half and only some good goalkeeping and a fair dose of luck saw Eliot hold onto his tenuous lead. As often happens, Steve left some gaps at the back in his quest to equalise, and Eliot eventually took advantage to score a second with about five minutes left. Steve never let up after that and could easily have scored at least one goal which would have made the last few minutes interesting, but it was not to be. Overall it was a very enjoyable match played in great spirit meaning, of course, there was only one winner…..(Subbuteo, you shall remain nameless).
(match reports by Eliot Kennedy)
Steve 3 Todd 2
Eliot 4 Todd 0
Eliot 2 Steve 0
The ClubhouseTo quote Steve Diasinos, “As soon as there’s a speck of rain, everyone turns into a complete tool that forgets how to drive!!!” Which meant that players descending on The Clubhouse from all corners found themselves late. So a quick reshuffle of the night’s games (and some switches for next week) meant things got underway a bit late – but they got underway. Fabrizio, with dad, Enzo, in tow for a final evening of Subbuteo watching before he heads back to Italy, took on Imojjen while Adam lined up against Dom. Imojjen learned a lot playing Fabrizio and was pleased with some of the flicks she succeeded in making in the confined spaces Fabrizio made her use. However, by full time, Fabrizio had scored 5 to get his evening off to a flying start. Dom and Adam made a fine pair, both limping around the table with their respective dodgy knees, but playing a very entertaining game. Both players attacked, both players made some crucial mistakes in both attack and defense, and both had great chances. Dom gradually took a firm hold of the game, getting to a 2-0 advantage, but then Adam pulled one back making for a tight finish as he searched for an equaliser in the last 5 minutes. Dom managed to hold on, however, to take the win.
By this time, those caught in various traffic jams had arrived safely. And so Dom took on Raffaele while Gordy lined up against Adam. Raffaele quickly took a stranglehold on his game, thanks in large part to Dom finding his travelling ‘keeper stranded on multiple occasions. Dom did manage to put one away of his own, but it was relatively insignificant compared to the 5 that he conceded in a comfortable victory for Raffaele. Meanwhile, the game of the evening was played out between Gordy and Adam. Adam was really beginning to struggle with his injured knee, but soldiered on and completely dominated possession. Gordy has spent a lot of time defending over the last couple of years but, this evening, that experience really came into its own. Everything Adam threw at Gordy was repelled in a goalkeeping masterclass. He saves to the left, he saves to the right, he’s Gordy Dudley, he saves them all night! On top of this, Gordy managed to earn himself the best shots to goals ratio in the entire league during the game. He has now had two shots on goal during the tournament, both of which were successfully slotted past Adam’s otherwise unused goalkeeper, giving Gordy a 2-0 victory.
The final games saw Raffaele play Gordy and Adrian take on Dom. Adrian and Dom played out a very open, even game. Dom took an early lead with a sweeping run and shot down the right wing. Both players had chances but it took until the last 6 seconds of the half for Adrian to find an equaliser with a soft, cheeky shot following a corner. The second half was similarly close, both players pressed, both players had their defences moved about. In the end, the factor that came to be decisive was the dreaded stranded travelling ‘keeper. This time however, in a reversal of his earlier game, Dom was the beneficiary, Adrian making the fatal mistake. With his 5th flick, Dom had a lone defender to beat with a shot and made no mistake. Adrian pressed hard for an equaliser but Dom held out. On the other table, all Raffaele’s frustrations from the previous two weeks worth of Subbuteo were poured out onto the one person he most blamed – Gordy. Gordy’s earlier heroics had left his goalkeeper exhausted. Raffaele pummelled him verbally and punished him on the Subbuteo pitch. Raffaele claimed something like 17 goals. The official results will record the mercy rule 5-0 result (the first time it’s needed to be applied this season). The truth was somewhere in the vicinity of 8 or 9. Ultimately, Gordy didn’t care – he’d picked up his win for the evening (his first ever in 2 seasons of league action) and went home a satisfied man.
(reports by Adrian Elmer)
Adam 1 – Dom 2
Dom 1 – Raffaele 5
Raffaele 5 – Steve 1
Gordy 0 – Raffaele 5
Imojjen 0 – Fabrizio 5
Adam 0 – Gordy 2
Fabrizio 5 – Adrian 0
Adrian 1 – Dom 2
With two weeks left to play, Fabrizio has slipped into the lead, with Eliot right behind him. Defending champion, Eliot, still has the title in his own hands – Fabrizio will need to beat Eliot in their clash in the last game of the season, as well as hope that Eliot drops points in one other game on the way. If that were to happen, that may also leave the door slightly ajar for Raffaele to sneak into first place as well.
for full results and table click here