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The Paella and The Plate

panoramaThe extra long weekend saw the opportunity to sneak in some extra Subbuteo and 11 players turned out to take advantage. With players competing for The Paella Plate, a Spanish theme was used for the tournament, with play preceded by lunch of paella, tortilla and vino, then players each choosing a Spanish club to represent in the Swiss format competition. 10 players competed, while newcomer, Bay, elected to watch and play a few friendly games to get himself acquainted with the rules and techniques.

Highlights of the day’s play included AGP U/15 champion, Jonty Brener (Villarreal), win one of his first senior matches in the first round, Harley Ullrich (Espanyol) scoring one of the goals of the day with a low, drilled far-post rocket from a tight angle, Adrian Elmer (Hércules) picking up his first competitive points against Fabrizio Coco (Athletic de Bilbao) in 18 months and Dave Sultana (Celta de Vigo) firstly scoring his first competitive goal, then picking up his first competitive points with another goal in a 1-1 draw in the following match.

final standings

final standings

After 3 rounds, 3 players were level on 7 points. So, heading into the 4th and final round, Daniele Lombardi (Atletico de Madrid) was ahead on goal difference from Steve Dettre (Valencia), who he would face, and Eliot Kennedy (Barça) who was paired with Neil Brener (Málaga). Daniele came out victorious in the first of those match-ups 2-0, including a trademark goal on the run to finally settle the very tight match, while Neil’s ‘keeper was in inspired form, keeping Eliot out for large swathes of the match. While Eliot picked up the result to keep him level with Daniele, he was unable to beat Neil’s ‘keeper enough times to rein in Daniele’s superior goal difference. Meanwhile, both Tony Credentino (Deportivo de La Coruña) and Adrian, hoping to slip past Steve into a minor placing, cancelled each other out in their tight 0-0 draw, relegating them both to mid-table obscurity.

Maybe it was the food, maybe it was the wine, maybe it was the holiday, but the afternoon was one of the most relaxed tournaments in recent memory, with all players competing sportingly in great spirits. Many thanks to those who played, making it a great afternoon.

group photoFor full results, click here.
For more photos, click here.

Subbuteo Parramatta Spring League – Match Day 9

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 Clubhouse

Fabrizio defends a shot from Imojjen.

Fabrizio defends a shot from Imojjen.

To 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
Dom kicks off against Adam.

Dom kicks off against Adam.

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.

Gordy makes yet another defensive flick against Adam.

Gordy makes yet another defensive flick against Adam.

Raffaele vs Dom, with Fabrizio refereeing

Raffaele vs Dom, with Fabrizio refereeing

Unlike events over in Chatswood, there was no air-conditioning at The Clubhouse, just an open door with a fan blowing in the outside air which was cooling only slightly. Those on the pitch closest to the door felt it a little. On the far pitch, drops of sweat were pooling on the pitch. Steve Diasinos took on Raffaele while Adrian faced Fabrizio in the next round of games. Both turned in to non-events. The two Italians wiped the floor with their respective opponents – Steve putting one past Raffaele but crumbling 5 times under Raffaele’s deluge, while Adrian could fare no better against Fabrizio than his daughter had earlier in the evening, conceding 5 unanswered goals.

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.

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for full results and table click here

Subbuteo Parramatta Spring League – Match Day 7

Match Day 7

The Clubhouse

Paul and Steve to and fro in their drawn match.

Paul and Steve to and fro in their drawn match.

A 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.

Raffaele (on the left) battling for midfield possession against Fabrizio.

Raffaele (on the left) battling for midfield possession against Fabrizio.

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

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for full scores and updated table, click here

Subbuteo Parramatta Spring League – Match Day Five

Match Day Five

The Clubhouse

The pitches were mown and watered (well, the Subbuteo equivalent, they were given a good vacuum). With a few weeks passed since the close of the transfer window, new figures were close to full match fitness, so Dave and Todd were able to pull out their brand new teams (Arsenal 2015/16 and Newcastle KB 1978 respectively) while Imojjen’s bespoke pink and gold army had been transformed from their white blankness.

On the southern pitch, Todd started his Subbuteo bender evening with a game against Adrian. In the early stages, he was undone by some inexperience, allowing his defence to be pulled out of position leaving wide open spaces for Adrian to take the lead. Todd learned quickly, however, and no such spaces were left for the rest of the game. Unfortunately, a traveling ‘keeper error allowed Adrian a two goal advantage at half time. The second half was a much more closed affair and, though Adrian finished the game with a 4-0 victory, Todd showed that he continues to learn quickly, becoming more and more competitive as the minutes drew on.

Todd and Daniele crowd the pitch.

Todd and Daniele crowd the pitch.

Todd then took on Daniele, who was still hurting from his loss last week and was in no mood to take things easy. Daniele’s quicker game caused Todd problems, though, again, as Todd became accustomed to the speed, he grew into it and was able to get speedy, well-positioned defensive flicks in. Daniele’s shooting, however, was the telling difference. A steady stream of goals throughout the game, with a mix of delicate chips and deadly pile-drivers. The result finished at 5-0. Todd then left to make the drive across to Parramatta, where he was due to play his 3rd game of the evening. A champion effort in playing and a happiness to accommodate which was much appreciated by the fixtures organiser!

Which left Adrian and Daniele to play out the final game. Adrian was determined to keep his defense tighter in the opening phases after Daniele had scored in the opening 30 seconds of each half in their last clash. This time, while Daniele dominated possession, Adrian combined some tighter defense with some good goalkeeping to hold Daniele out, and began to hold his own possession. Then, in a swift move up the middle of the pitch, Adrian scored, putting the moving ball into the back of Daniele’s unattended goal. This kicked Daniele into action. By the end of the half he had carved Adrian up to score three unanswered goals, the last of these being a great shot from distance through a crowded box. The second half was a little tighter, with possession shared. However, Adrian’s final touches to get into the shooting area were dreadful, meaning he couldn’t get clear shots on goal. Meanwhile, Daniele scored a fairly simple 4th then scored the goal of the evening. He had stolen possession from Adrian’s traveling ‘keeper but could not get any good angles on goal due to Adrian’s defensive flicking. His 4th touch was on a sharp angle and he managed to hit the post, but the ball rested, agonisingly, just in the field of play in front of goal. For his 5th and final flick, not a single player on the pitch had a clear path to the ball. His only option was to put his traveling ‘keeper in his own goal area and take a pitch length shot at the ball, with a 5cm window between two of Adrian’s defenders. He took it perfectly to the amazement of all. Adrian did manage a late consolation but Daniele ran out a deserved 5-2 winner.

(report by Adrian Elmer)

On the Northern Pitch, the first match was between Imojjen and (Little) Steve. Whilst initially a little nervous, Imojjen soon settled into a nice groove. Steve’s pointers were generally cut short as Imojjen displayed a very keen knowledge of what she should be doing without his help! Whilst she defended soundly, it was Steve who still managed a 1-0 lead into the break. 2 quick-fire goals at the beginning of the second half extended his lead, however Imojjen found herself with 1 or 2 chances of her own. Having never scored a competitive goal before, she was absolutely delighted to have found herself in behind Steve’s defence, duly dispatching a wonderful goal into the bottom left corner – the game finishing 3-1.

Æowyn getting ready for Dave's corner.

Æowyn getting ready for Dave’s corner.

Next was Dave, with his almost complete new Arsenal squad (top job Adrian!) being put to the test by Æowyn. The game was contested in good spirit, with both players trying as hard as they could to breach one-another’s stoic defense. Both had some good chances throughout, some thwarted by good saves, others by that dreaded offside rule! The game was eventually decided only a minute and a half from time – an error from Æowyn close to her own goal gave Dave a free kick which he worked very well and slotted away neatly – the game finished 1-0 to Dave.
The final game saw Steve take on Dave. Dave, by his own admission, deployed a slightly more defensive tactic, and was keen to control the pace of the game. This proved a master stroke as he came away with a deserved 0-0 draw. Steve certainly edged the chances, but some poor finishing, one amazing save from Dave (who later told me he is a goalkeeper in the outdoor game!), and some good defending pushing Steve to wide angles on goal, all contributed to the result. Dave was not to be outdone though – able to move the ball quite well, he did create a few of his own chances. One resulted in a corner, and another saw him 1-1 with Steve’s ‘keeper, which he will regret not putting away! 0-0 the final result.

(report by Steve Diasinos)

Adrian 4 – Todd 0
Todd 0 – Daniele 5
Daniele 5 – Adrian 2

Steve 3 – Imojjen 0
Æowyn 0 – Dave 1
Dave 0 – Steve 0

New Trafford

The night started in great spirits at “New Trafford”. Although the new landlord may need to have a couple of words with the local curator as Carrington (The New Trafford training complex) seems to be equipped with better lighting than the main pitch! Would this play havoc with some of the more seasoned veterans? The night’s play will tell the story.
The first round of matches saw Mat taking on Dom on the Old Trafford pitch, with Paul and Fab playing on the highly visible Carrington. These were 2 crackers to start the night. Mat and Dom played one of the most exciting 0-0 results played. Both players hitting the post, and only some nice saves from Mat late in the 2nd half when Dom’s experience saw him starting to win the arm wrestle kept Mat alive, as Dom pressed with 3 consecutive corners in a 60 second period. How this still finished 0-0 with the amount of perspiration still left on the pitch from both players, is still making me sweat!

Over at Carrington, Fab lead on 3 separate occasions, only for the man “Who loves a cliff hanger” to keep up his shooting touch and equalise on 3 separate occasions. This kind of shooting from Paul will see more favourable results in the coming weeks – just wait ’til he finds his touch with his new bases. I’m glad his match against me has already been played! In the end this game set the tone for the play for the rest of the night. Great skills, spirit and sportsmanship.
The 2nd round of Matches saw Eliot make his OT debut against Adam (closely resembling a certain X-Man). Could Adam’s powers keep out the top seed? Eliot quickly took control of the game, scoring 2 quick goals before Adam really got started. Adam pushed a couple of chances wide against Eliot with 3 shots hitting the side netting in the first half, before a late counter at the end of the half saw Eliot take a commanding 3-0 lead to the break. The 2nd half saw Eliot put a coaching hat on for segments, which was of tremendous benefit for Adam and the referee/student, Mat. After Eliot scored another 2, Adam started putting in some real consistent touches and clawed a late goal for the score to finish 5-1.

Over on Carrington, Fab and Dom played a very entertaining 1st half. Going into the break at 2-2, all things were set for another “Cliff Hanger”, however Fab found some fine flicking form in the 2nd half and put 3 unanswered goals past Dom to take out a 5-2 result, much to the surprise of the dispersing Old Trafford crowd.
The 3rd round of matches saw Eliot taking on Mat, who was hopeful of taking advantage of the home ground and new teachings from his mentor/nemesis of the night. This wasn’t very forthcoming with Eliot continuing his teachings, this time with actions. Mat had some good spells in the first half, making Eliot produce one or 2 nice saves, but really spent his time facing a man in good swing. 3-0 was the margin at the half. Much more of the same in the 2nd saw Eliot take out a 5-0 result and not really break into any real sweat, which Extreme Works would be thankful for following round 1.

Paul took on Dom at Carrington, with the venue fast becoming the home of the “Cliff Hanger”, a great game, played in great spirits saw a 2-2 result. Dom, after playing 3 games on the bounce was thankful for the downhill walk from the O.T. penthouse. The intense pressure of facing Mat, Fab and Paul on the bounce had Dom asking for the fastest way out of there!!
The final match for the night saw Todd arrive from a series of matches earlier in the evening at The Clubhouse, for his catch up tie against Paul. Paul, deciding to break in his new iBases, didn’t take long to get his touch. Going into the break at 2-0 with some posts hit as well. Todd saw some much improved play in the 2nd, with some brilliant build up play, but Paul’s defensive tactics isolated his counters on a couple of occasions. When in possession, he took full advantage scoring another 2 in the 2nd to finish the match with a 4-0 victory.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the way they played on the evening. Some fine banter, even better play only to be topped by the sportsmanship (and all the guys leaving to toilet seat down after use in Emma’s bathroom) saw the real winner of the evening being Subbuteo! – Thanks to all.

(report by Mat Barrie)

Dom 0 – Mat 0
Eliot 5 – Adam 1
Mat 0 – Eliot 5

Paul 3 – Fabrizio 3
Dom 2 – Paul 2
Fabrizio 5 – Dom 3
Paul 4 – Todd 0

Points table after Match Day Five.

Points table after Match Day Five.

For full results and updated table, click here.

Subbuteo Parramatta Spring League – Match Day 3

Match Day Three

Toongabbie West

Fabrizio took on Todd In the evening’s first game at Toongabbie West. Fabrizio’s went to half time leading 3-0 against his far more inexperienced opponent. Todd was showing some good flicking skills but was struggling in his attack and sense of positioning. In the second half, Fabrizio was able to close out the game with another two nice shots from the corners of the shooting area. Todd then took on the host, Adam. The first half saw Adam take a 1-0 lead, scoring with a nice shot from distance, something that has become a trademark for Adam. Adam lead confidently but Todd had a couple of good chances to draw. The second half was pretty much the same as the first one but Adam pushed forward to score his second goal and then, near the final whistle scored his final goal with a shot from just outside the penalty area, which he cut nicely onto the post and into the goal to close the match with a 2-0 result. The final game saw Adam take on Fabrizio. From the begin until the end of the match Fabrizio pushed Adam into his area, trying to score as many goals as he could. He finally scored a lucky goal where Adam positioned his defender perfectly but the ball still managed to roll into the goal. After a couple more chances, Adam finally created a chance to draw level, but a post and then the bar of Fabrizio’s goalkeeper somehow kept the ball out, leaving the score at 1-0 at the end of the first half. In the second half, Fabrizio had some more chances to score at least 2 goals but 2 posts, 1 crossbar and a couple of nice saves from Adam left the result at 1-0, though that was enough for Fabrizio to get the 3 points.

(report by Fabrizio Coco)

Fabrizio 5 – Todd 0
Todd 0 – Adam 3
Adam 0 – Fabrizio 1

The Clubhouse

Gordy went into a panic attack around midday on Match Day Three – how could he face the might of both Paul and Mat in one evening. A quick excuse of some work function was scrounged together and his apologies were sent. Keen to improve on the automatic 4-0 result that a forfeit might give each of them, though, the two quickly agree to having the games rescheduled to a later date, meaning Gordy will still have to face the music. For tonight, Mat and Paul were still itching for a game, though, so made their ways to the clubhouse for their single fixture. It turned out to be well worth it. Mat took an early lead with a bold shot, only for Paul to equalise before half time, keeping the game in the balance. The second half was more of the same though, this time, Paul was able to put away his chances while Mat couldn’t. Paul’s change of polish since last week enabled his Superfooty bases to move much more cleanly and his more composed play gave him a 3-1 result.

This time Eliot doesn't score against David, the ball flying back off the crossbar.

This time Eliot doesn’t score against David, the ball flying back off the crossbar.

On the other table, Adrian faced Eliot in the first fixture. Adrian was determined to keep Eliot out and was disciplined in defence. Eliot dominated possession but couldn’t find a way through. A few counter-attack chances developed for Adrian as the half progressed and Eliot left gaps in his defence as he pushed for the goal but neither player was able to break the deadlock. After the break, Eliot redoubled his efforts and piled on the pressure. Adrian’s ‘keeper was now called into action and a series of good saves kept him in the game. With just over 5 minutes left, Eliot finally got his reward and scored to his great relief. The game finished at 1-0. David then lined up against Eliot and the opening minutes were very promising for him, as Eliot seemed to lose his intensity for the second game. David pushed Eliot around in the attacking half, but couldn’t quite carve out clear scoring chances. It took Eliot 7 or 8 minutes to regain his composure and begin pressing David. His ability in front of goal finally paid off and a quick fire 4 goals saw him take a stranglehold on the game by half time. The second half found David lift, keeping his defence more organised and holding possession better in the midfield. Eliot scored one final goal, however, to make the final result 5-0. In the final game, schoolboy friends David and Adrian faced each other competitively for the first time in nearly 30 years. In a predictably tense game, Adrian dominated possession early, but didn’t create any clear chances. David then came into his own and only some poor final touches meant his great build-up play went unrewarded. In a classic sucker punch, Adrian broke the deadlock 30 seconds after David missed his best chance at the other end, Adrian countering swiftly and delicately chipping David’s ‘keeper with his shot. The second half saw Adrian continue to press but David defended well, until a fatal mistake with his travelling ‘keeper left Adrian in front of an open goal with a simple tap-in to take the game 2-0.

(report by Adrian Elmer)

Paul 3 – Mat 1

Adrian 0 – Eliot 1
Eliot 5 – David 0
David 0 – Adrian 2

The table at the completion of Match Day 3

The table at the completion of Match Day 3

For full results, click here.

Subbuteo Parramatta Spring League – Match Day 1

Match Day One

The Clubhouse

I’m not going to lie. It was my greatest ever Subbuteo moment. The ball had stopped just outside the 6 yard box, near its left corner. Steve’s ‘keeper was just 3 or 4cm from the ball ready for the block. The only figure that had a clean run on the ball was deep inside my own half with a few centimetres of wiggle room between defenders. I lined it up, flicked. The figure glided down the pitch. Struck the ball sweetly. Cut the angle perfectly. Chipped the ‘keeper at point blank range. Cannoned into the top right corner. I yelled. “Did that go in!??” From my angle, I couldn’t quite tell if it was the goalposts or the back of the goals that had rattled. But it had looked good. Steve was frozen. Jaw dropped. He eventually confirmed. Nothing but back of the net. The only problem with having your greatest ever moment is that things can only go downhill. After holding on to the lead for three quarters of the game, Steve put his equaliser past me with 40 seconds left on the clock. Bastard.

The Subbuteo Parramatta Spring League swung back into action with the opening match day of the 2015 edition. An expanded field of 15 will battle it out over the next few months, with multiple venues needed to handle all the fixtures. At The Clubhouse, after a few introductions, meeting some new players, things got underway well. Imojjen, making her début, showed that she already has a strong grasp of the Subbuteo Parramatta spirit – it’s not about whether you win or lose, it’s how well you can sledge Gordy. In her opening match against Todd, she conceded an early goal before settling her nerves and putting in a solid showing, the score finishing at 1-0. On the other table, it was generally agreed that Gordy and Steve played their tensest, highest quality match against each other, with Steve also taking a single goal advantage to full time. The second round saw Æowyn sub in for Imojjen to face Dom, fresh from his second place in the AGFA Cup on the weekend. The years of experience told with him winning 5-0, though not without having to make a save or two of his own as Æowyn got a couple of shots on target. Meanwhile, Gordy and Adrian played out another tense match, with Adrian winning by another solitary goal. In the evening’s final two matches, Dom settled quickly and ended up putting 3 past the ever improving Todd, while on the other table…

Steve in training for Match Day 2

Steve in training for Match Day 2

Having robbed Adrian of his moment of glory, Steve finished the evening by really stretching his hosts’ hospitality, stealing half a pavlova.

(report by Adrian Elmer)

Imojjen 0 – Todd 1
Dom 5 – Æowyn 0
Todd 0 – Dom 3

Steve Di 1 – Gordy 0
Gordy 0 – Adrian 1
Adrian 1 – Steve Di 1

Toongabbie West

Mat and Fabrizio battle out the season opener in the foreground while David watches Adam and Paul's clash at the far end.

Mat and Fabrizio battle out the season opener in the foreground while David watches Adam and Paul’s clash at the far end.

Over on the other side of the railway line, an equally enjoyable evening played out. An inspired scoring spree by Paul Magee set the tone for the action. Paul raced to a 3-0 lead against Adam before Adam could respond, but Paul closed out the match for a 4-1 win. On the other table, Mat Barrie was benefitting from a rusty Fabrizio, who missed a raft of chances to go in 0-0 at halftime, Mat’s ‘keeping skills getting a real workout. But the patient build-ups eventually paid off and, though Mat did create a couple of chances, Fabrizio took a 3-0 win. David Rudd was making his competitive return after a decade off and, despite two losses, showed some flashes of skill. Steve and Fabrizio shared the spoils in their match-up. Steve opened the scoring in the opening minute with a cracking long shot, but made silly defensive mistakes with the freestander, allowing Fabrizio to score the equalisers. Steve then gave Matt (who, by virtue of alphabetical order, had a horror opening night’s draw!) his second 3-0 beating. Meanwhile David managed to push Paul all the way before Paul could claim his second win.

(report by Steve Dettre)

Mat 0 – Fabrizio 3
Fabrizio 2 – Steve De 2
Steve De 3 – Mat 0

Paul 4 – Adam 1
Adam 2 – David 0
David 0 – Paul 1

Full results and current table can be viewed by clicking here.

Where Are We Playing?

Mat: There’s a message on my phone from Steve saying, “Can you give me a call?”
rings Steve, talks for a few seconds
Mat: Hey, Adrian – Steve wants to talk to you.
hands phone to Adrian
Adrian: Where are you guys? You said you’d be here in 5 minutes – 20 minutes ago. We need to get started!
Steve: Yeah, you don’t want to know where we are. But we’re gonna be a bit late. We’ll be there in half an hour.
Adrian: What?!! OK – will you be going anywhere near your house on your way here? We need an extra set of goals. Long story.
Steve: Ummm… well… I… Look… it’s all Gordy’s fault. We’re actually at Good Games in Chatswood. When I picked Gordy up and asked him for directions, he convinced me the comp was on here, not at Parramatta.
Adrian: Wait – doesn’t Gordy live in North Parramatta?
Steve: Yeah – we probably could have walked from his place, but we drove to Chatswood instead. It’s all Gordy’s fault!

Those who had been privy to all the trash talk within the Subbuteo Parramatta training sessions and online conversations in the few weeks leading up to the first inter-club tournament of the ATFA era knew that this chain of events would now be enough ammunition for taunts for a good three and a half years – at least. Subbuteo Parramatta members have been known to walk away from the game completely rather than face another bout of sledging, so the big question that arose out of today’s tournament – more significant than the results, more pressing than the foundations of inter-club rivalry that were laid – was: Will Steve Diasinos and Gordy Dudley be able to stand the future onslaught? Only time will tell.

Adam, Mat and the little table that couldn't.

Adam, Mat and the little table that couldn’t.

The day had begun inauspiciously – wanting to use 4 identical pitches, Adam Reynolds volunteered his, attached to its table. The main problem was the incompatibility of the solid-as-a-rock table and the front door, found at the top of 3 flights of stairs, of The Games Cube. After he and Mat Barrie had hauled the beast up, 20 minutes of forcing, thinking, twisting, turning and swearing weren’t enough to find a way to get it inside the venue. There was nothing for it but to turn around and drag it all the way back down. A hasty alternative board was slung together, but needed some non-screwed in goals. Adam and Mat took off to Toongabbie to get some, Fabrizio Coco cooled his heels sitting on Strathfield station having missed his train, Steve and Gordy made the long car trip to their home ground, and a hastily rescheduled tournament
We can't all be No. 1 - so either Mat or Eliot is wrong! All the players from the afternoon.

We can’t all be No. 1 – so either Mat or Eliot is wrong! All the players from the afternoon.

began. Let’s not lay the blame for ALL of the day’s woes on the Subbuteo Parramatta boneheads, though. A complete lack of interest from the once proud and mighty Northern Falcons meant that they had to rope in a few outside extras and still failed to fill their two team quota!

While initial omens were worrying, once play got underway, the day was simply brilliant. Parramatta A started against Falcons B, with the Parramatta players teaching relative newcomers Neil and Jonty Brener and, playing his first ever game, Todd Giles, how to make their way around a subbuteo pitch in good natured matches. While the results all went as expected to give Parramatta the first win of the day, foundations were laid for the future progress of the new players.

By the time of the second game, all the errant Parramatta players were on board so that they could face the might of Falcons A. Adam snuck a late goal past Eliot to go to the half time break at a very respectable 2-1 down, before succumbing to the Kennedy onslaught in the 2nd. Falcons’ guest marquee man, Paul Magee, had a calm and measured win over Mat. The other two games were crackers, with Gordy and Louis Dettre playing out a see-sawing 2-2 draw. Meanwhile, Steve, having been relegated to Parramatta B for his earlier misdemeanours, was drawn against his arch-nemesis, Steve (Dettre). Another great game saw Big Steve take the lead early in the second half, only to be pegged back by Mini Steve with a few minutes to go. With 2 wins to the Falcons, they took all 3 points.

2v2 on each table. Action from the doubles game.

2v2 on each table. Action from the doubles game.

Next up was the day’s most fun game – the doubles. Pairs were drawn randomly from within each club, then opponents drawn via the usual teams process. Gordy and Daniele Lombardi put one past the Brener father-son duo with Adam and Mat subbing in in the second half and repeating the feat, while Raffaele Lombardi and Mini Steve took out a narrow victory over Todd and Louis (with Paul as sub). Two matches won gave Parramatta the victory in the overall game but Big Steve and Eliot finding the back of the net and keeping Fabrizio and Adrian Elmer at bay saw them record a hard-fought, and well enjoyed, match victory.

Next up were the reverse singles, beginning with Parramatta B against Falcons B. All 3 Falcons had improved noticeably over the course of the day and accounted for themselves well. Parramatta took two close wins to go with a draw across the 3 matches, to take the points in the game, giving the club an unassailable lead before the A team clash.

Despite the result having been rendered academic, there were some intense rivalries that were being renewed, so there was no love lost between the A teams. The showdown saw both clubs follow orthodoxy in the match ups, with the top seeds playing each other, 2v2, 3v3 and 4v4. Adrian battled Louis and scored a goal each half to take a 2-0 victory. Daniele did likewise in his match-up against Paul with an unanswered goal in each half. However, to even up the scores, Raffaele went down to Big Steve in a tight tussle and Eliot let out his largest celebratory yell of the day when he finally breached Fabrizio’s defences, having failed to do so in a few previous encounters. With 2 results each, the game was drawn, leaving the final points tally at Subbuteo Parramatta 10 : Northern Falcons TFC 4.

The victorious Subbuteo Parramatta teams, resplendent in their new club jerseys.

The victorious Subbuteo Parramatta teams, resplendent in their new club jerseys.

Of significant note was the fact that, following the end of play, and in the ensuing posting of photos and thanks all ‘round on Facebook etc, little mention was made of the actual result! The great day’s play, the doubles fun, the nature of playing in teams instead of as individuals and the all ‘round camaraderie were what was discussed. A great success and, hopefully, the first of many inter-club tournaments to come. Many thanks also to The Games Cube in Parramatta, our ever supportive and accommodating hosts for the afternoon.

For photos of the tournament, click here.
For full results, click here.

Subbuteo Parramatta Club Night WASPA

An open invitation was given for anyone to come along to a WASPA tournament at the Subbuteo Parramatta clubhouse but, as it turned out, for the first time ever, all participants were also members of the Subbuteo Parramatta club. A good field of seven included new player Tony Testa, who had a couple of friendly games to learn the rules and was soon playing with as much passion as anyone.

Mathew shows the best positioning of the tongue to keep your body correctly balanced. Playing against Gordy, with Adam and Fabrizio looking on as Steve battles Tony in the background

Mathew shows the best positioning of the tongue to keep your body correctly balanced. Playing against Gordy, with Adam and Fabrizio looking on as Steve battles Tony in the background

Two groups were set up. Mat Barrie’s constant practise over the last few months, along with his new, slick Manchester United teams, gave him the confidence to really push Adrian Elmer, their game ending in a hard fought draw. Fabrizio Coco was pushed all the way by Adam Reynolds, with a single goal in the second half and a shot of Adam’s hitting the woodwork before that giving Fabrizio the win. Steve Diasinos returned to action after an extensive layoff and his precise, patient game payed dividends with another 1-0 victory over Mat. Continue reading

Subbuteo Parramatta WASPA Tournament Results

To give some of Sydney’s player’s travelling down to Melbourne for the Asian Cup some much needed practice, Subbuteo Parramatta organised a low-key WASPA tournament. 5 players (3 of whom will be heading to Melbourne) competed in a league, while another new player, Dan, came along to watch and learn, and played a couple of friendly matches.

Intense concentration from Robert and Raffaele.

Intense concentration from Robert and Raffaele.

Early games saw Adrian beat Raffaele in a competitive match for the first time, while Robert, over from Sweden for the Asian Cup(s), got off to a smooth start with a 4-0 victory over Daniele. Daniele held out for a 0-0 draw against Adrian while Fabrizio, playing with his own Italian U19 champion winning figures which he recently had sent across from Italy, got over Raffaele (who was trialling his own new figures) 2-1. In the day’s biggest surprise, Adrian managed a 1-0 victory over Fabrizio. Unfortunately, the battle of the Lombardi brothers didn’t offer it’s usual verbal fireworks as the two battled it out in tense near-silence, Raffaele finishing with a 1 goal advantage. Heading into the final game between Robert and Fabrizio, both players had a mathematical chance to win the tournament, while Adrian also looked on with interest as a victory to Robert would secure him 2nd place. By the middle of the second half, Robert had secured a two goal lead. However, Fabrizio was making it uncomfortable. Continue reading