The M Club, Maroubra Beach was the venue for the latest Hipfingerz Sydney East TFC invitation tournament – this time co-hosted with its emerging neighbour Botany TFC.
A bumper turn-out was the first noticeable feature of the night with 18 players – including 5 juniors – in attendance for what turned out to be a fun and competitive night!
There were 6 representatives of Sydney TFC, 5 from Botany, 4 Northern Falcons and three Hipfingerz.
Viking Pizza was ordered for all and cheery, patient barmaid/duty manager Maggie kept the troops refreshed.
Kiki and Dimitris Barbaris first played off in the junior rookies ‘curtain-raiser’, with Kiki narrowly besting her younger brother 1-0 (courtesy of an unlucky own-goal).
In a keenly contested youth round-robin, where each game was decided 1-0, Jonty Brener claimed the honours, ahead of Gabriel Lombard and Daniel Sirmai.
In the open division, Group 1 proved a tight affair with three draws and three narrow wins providing just 3 goals.
John Palamara and Paolo Credentino shared top spot with identical goal-difference, unable to be separated except by the drawing of lots. Gabriel Lombard was unlucky to finish only a point behind and Jeremy Simpson was 4th.
Group 2 – the group of death – saw Fabrizio Coco unsurprisingly take top spot, but not before having to squeak a 1-0 victory over Steve Dettre.
Steve ultimately finished 2nd on goal-difference though, just pipping Jonty, while newcomer Stefanos Milatos continued his impressive improvement in playing three very modest losses, including just 0-2 to Fab.
Group 3 – the group of life – saw Eliot Kennedy win through relatively untroubled, with the highlight a dramatic late winner in a 2-1 defeat of Raffaele Lombard. Both accounted for Neil Brener and jovial co-host Kostas Barbaris who finished 3rd and 4th respectively.
In the final group three 0-0 draws proved fortuitous for Geoff Sirmai whose narrow loss to Tony Credentino saw him sneak into 2nd place on goal difference behind the Italian master. Vincenzo Coco and Daniel Sirmai were the unlucky ones in equal 2nd place to miss out on the knock out phase.
So to the quarterfinals where Raffaele accounted for John, Tony defeated Steve (2-0 each) and Eliot won 4-0 against a fast-improving young Paolo. The only drama was in the 4th quarterfinal where match full of saves and near misses at both ends saw Fabrizio defeat a dogged Geoff on shots after the match finished locked at 0-0.
The semi-final pairings brought three Sydney TFC leaders to the fore with the Northern Falcon’s last remaining representative Eliot was edged out 2-1 by Fab and Raffa defeated Tony 3-1.
A predictably exciting final went 1-0 to Fabrizio over Raffaele – fortunately before the cock began to crow… and a happy crowd enjoyed the cup and medal presentations – which included a popular Best and Fairest medal for Vincenzo!
Many thanks to all for attending – and special thanks to Steve for all his help and for running the competition app on the night. Full results attached here. Have a great holiday season, and see you again beach-side soon!
(story by Geoff Sirmai)