Match Day NineThe Spring League really began to heat up in the penultimate date of fixtures. A couple of catch-up matches were scheduled for Monday night, where Johnny pushed Fabrizio all the way in their First Division clash. He eventually went down 1-0, but not before giving Fabrizio a huge scare with a shot on target in the final 30 seconds. He then backed up against clubmate, Steve, this time keeping things even tighter, with a 0-0 result.
Tuesday evening saw the Falcons’ players heading to Parramatta for a full program of games across the 3 pitches. In the Third Division, Costa kicked off with a flurry, putting 3 past Jordan. Jordan backed up against Paul and, with 10 seconds left on the clock in the first half, sent a perfect chip shot into the top left corner to take the lead. In the second half, Paul pushed for the equaliser and carved out a number of half chances, only for his final set up flick to consistently miss, denying him the chance to shoot in anger and pull level. Jordan excitedly picked up his first win of the league. In the final of his triple-header, Jordan then had a narrow loss to Hermann, who was playing with considerable determination. In the final fixture, Hermann then ground out a very tight victory against Costa, finishing 1-0 to make it two from two for the German.
The Second Division is where things are incredibly tight. So much so that every fixture on the night ended in a draw, with Harley, Steve Diasinos and Dave all failing to make a claim of supremacy over any of the others. Harley and Dave opened with a 1-1 battle, followed by Harley and Steve in a goalless stalemate. The final game of the division then saw Dave and Steve play their second draw of the league, this time an entertaining 2-2, with Dave putting Steve under the pump for much of the game but succumbing to Steve’s few counter-attacks. After his flying start on Match Day Eight, Steve had a chance to secure the Second Division title, but his two draws, while leaving him in a strong position, leaves the door open for Mat Barrie to sneak past if he can have a good week next week. Either way, the division is constantly on a knife’s edge, with every fixture showing the potential to go either way.
In the First Division, Eliot had drawn Adrian in the opening game. After Eliot had given Adrian a Subbuteo lesson in the quarter-finals of the recent Australian Open, Adrian was happy to limit Eliot to only 4 or 5 shots over the 30 minutes. Even more to his liking was that Eliot was leaving some holes in his defence, which Adrian was able to occasionally pressure and force the odd save from Eliot. After a goalless opening half, Adrian then sent shockwaves through the division, opening the scoring against one of the title favourites. Eliot doubled his efforts in response and, with a few minutes left, finally breached Adrian’s goal with a deft close in chip, having struck the woodwork with his earlier shots. The score finished 1-1. Steve Dettre and Fabrizio then took to the pitch. An otherwise tight game was punctuated with a steady flow of Fabrizio taking advantage of his chances to finish with a 3-0 victory. The old foes, Eliot and Steve, then faced each other. Stung by his earlier draw, Eliot played with renewed determination and was up 3-0 midway through the second half, in spite of the two players sharing the possession in general play. Steve did strike back, though, with the goal of the evening on the run, but that was as far as the scoring went. Fabrizio then played clubmate, Adrian, in the final game. A tight first half saw Adrian have the first shot, his chip going over the crossbar. Fabrizio’s calmness in front of goals, however, saw him take the lead by half time, which he followed up with 2 more in the second half.
All three divisions are still open for the taking as we head to the final week of fixtures, where a return to the Extreme pitches of Chatswood will, no doubt, please the local Northern Falcons players.
Match Day SevenSubbuteo Parramatta concluded their league with a 3 table, 10 game blitz held at The Games Cube in Parramatta. Daniele and Jordan both had a number of games to complete, so both had 4 game Subbuteo benders. Jordan opened his account with a narrow loss to the Costa, who was able to use his new bases for the first time. Daniele dispatched Paul Stockbridge in their opener before Daniele faced a tricky fixture against Paul Magee, both players aiming for second place in the final standings. However, Daniele was in fine form and took the match with a convincing 3-0 win. Jordan’s goalkeeper got a workout, making a number of saves, though he succumbed to Steve Diasinos 4-0. The next round of fixtures through up some cracking fixtures. Fabrizio arrived from his day trip to the Royal National Park to take a 5-0 win in an entertaining game against Jordan – the league’s winning player against it’s least experienced Subbuteo player. Paul Magee and Mat Barrie played out an intense 1-1 draw. A close call was sportingly given to Paul by Mat, and Paul scored from the subsequent play. The end result was a good indication of the game, though, and demonstrated the great sportsmanship that is often reciprocated between players.
Steve and Daniele, meanwhile, were playing out the match of the evening. Daniele took an early lead and looked to be on track to repeat his earlier efforts. Steve, however, is never one to be flustered and soon found his way into the game, scoring a deserved equaliser before the break. Daniele went ahead again in the second half but Steve, determined to pick up the point which could help him into the top tier of the league, remained calm and precise and again scored an equaliser. And so the result ended 2-2, both players taking the point from an outstanding clash.
Jordan then rounded out his evening with his first point of the league in a very good natured 1-1 encounter with his fellow Subbuteo novice, Paul Stockbridge. Following Steve’s draw with Daniele, Adrian knew he needed a result against Daniele to have any chance of staying ahead of Steve, whose fixture against the always improving but still very inexperienced Costa was a foregone conclusion. Adrian played well to keep Daniele at bay and provide the odd glimmer of hope with the occasional counter-attack. However, midway through the second half, after 20-odd minutes of stout defending, a soft-mistake led to the game’s decisive goal from Daniele, who took the points with the 1-0 victory. Meanwhile, Steve’s exertions against Daniele must have been coming back to haunt him. Though he peppered Costa’s goal, nothing would go in, a mixture of soft finishing and some great goalkeeping. Costa managed two forays forward during the entire game – and decisively buried one of those shots. 1-0 to the team painted in the 2004 Greek, Euros winning uniform – a victory that could not have been more Greek had it been scripted!
A final catch-up game between Daniele and Dave saw Daniele reinforce his 2nd place standing. However, just below him, as the dust settled, an incredibly tight table was to be found. As an indication, Steve Diasinos finished in 7th place. A win against Costa in that fateful final match could have seen him finish 3rd! The league also pointed to the future with introduction of 3 brand new players.
Northern Falcons didn’t play any of their outstanding fixtures due to absences, but their standings in relation to the next phase of the league couldn’t be altered by those games, so these will be caught up in the near future.
Match Day Eight
Match Day Eight saw the two leagues come together for the first time. The top 3 players from each league (not including Subbuteo Parramatta’s guest marquee player, Paul Magee, who is unable to take further part due to work commitments) moved into the First Division, the next 3 from SP and the next 2 from NF moved into the Second Division, and the next 3 from SP and 2 from NF made up the Third Division. All players will play each other within each division. For the first group of matches, Subbuteo Parramatta made the trip up to Northern Falcons HQ at Chatswood.NF’s Simon made a winning start with a 3-0 result over SP’s Paul, though Paul did discover, later in the evening when packing away his figures, that he had gone into the match with only 10 players! SP’s Mat and Steve renewed rivalries, Steve edging this one 1-0 after their 1-1 draw in the SP league. SP’s Adrian had trouble adapting to the Extreme pitches and NF’s Steve put in a commanding display to blitz him 3-0, while SP’s Daniele got over NF’s Johnny by the same score. SP’s Dave put a solitary goal past NF’s Tony in a tightly fought contest.
The two 3rd placed qualifiers for the 1st division, Adrian and Johnny, then faced each other following their respective losses. A dour first half finished goalless before Johnny came out with renewed attacking intent. Unfortunately, this left him more open at the back and Adrian scored two counter-attacking goals inspite of Johnny’s domination of possession and field position. Mat picked up a 1-0 victory in another tight tussle against Dave in the Second Division, while SP’s Steve rounded out a good evening for himself with a 2-0 win over Tony.
In the final round, NF’s Eliot put jet-lag aside in a dominant display against Johnny, putting 5 well taken goals past him. NF’s Harley and Tony battled out yet another draw in the Second Division, which is clearly going to be a very tight league. Meanwhile, in the match of the evening, NF’s Steve and SP’s Daniele renewed their long rivalry. The game was as tight as could be expected with neither player flinching in the first half. Early in the second, Daniele finally managed a small bit of space to have a shot. Steve saved it easily, only to then drag the ball back into his own goal with his ‘keeper to give Daniele the advantage. Not to be discouraged, Steve was soon back on level terms with a fine on-the-run goal from a corner which drew a hearty congratulation even from Daniele. Not to be outdone, Daniele then went back ahead with his own impressive, trademark on-the-run goal to take the advantage back. Steve pushed hard for the equaliser and, with a few minutes left, finally found a couple of centimetres of space through the middle of Daniele’s defense and made no mistake with his shot. The final few minutes were a flurry with both players desperate to take all 3 points, resulting in some heated discussion of close calls. In the end, however, each had to settle for a point in a classic battle that neither player deserved to lose.
At the conclusion of the two club leagues, the top tier of players from both leagues will come together to play a First Division League, the middle tier of players will form a Second Division and the lower tier of players a Third Division, with titles up for grabs in each division.
Match Day One
4 brand new league members were in action at the Subbuteo Parramatta Clubhouse, two of whom were playing their first ever competitive games. They were joined by a few old (in both senses!) hands. Special guest on the night, down from Newcastle to be a keen observer and have his first friendly flick in over 20 years, was former Australian representative Anthony Macmillan.
Results went pretty much to form with the more experienced players gaining the advantage over their less experienced counterparts. Jordan scored his first ever goal, a consolation against Paul Magee, while Paul and Adrian played out the evening’s only draw, a very tight 0-0 affair.
Meanwhile, at Northern Falcons HQ, a handful of games saw Steve Dettre take the early running, though he was pushed to earn his points in all his fixtures. Every player came away with at least 1 point from their fixtures, indicating that the Falcons’ league should be a close affair.
Match Day Two
Over in Chatswood, it was great to see Harley back in action after a 7 month lay-off and he picked up points against Hermann while pushing Johnny all the way. Simon struggled a little more in his clash with Johnny.
Match Day Three
A big night at New Trafford as Daniele got his campaign underway with a 5-0 flourish but then succumbed 5-2 to Fabrizio in what was a goalscoring feast. Costa and Paul Stockbridge showed they were picking up confidence, with very respectable losses to Mat Barrie, then both picked up their first points in the league from a drawn clash against each other.
Champion of the first two Spring Leagues (2014 and 15), Eliot, started his campaign in the Falcons’ league, picking up maximum points but being pushed to the wire by Harley, who was able to pick up 3 points himself against Simon. Meanwhile, Hermann also picked up his first victory of the league.
So, after 3 matchdays, Fabrizio has stamped his authority on the Subbuteo Parramatta League, with a large cluster following in his wake. Northern Falcons, with fewer games played, look to have a tight competition on their hands so far.
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As the Sydney Subbuteo scene slowly awakes from its winter hibernation, four players made their way to Good Games Chatswood for an evening of friendly flicking. The regular Northern Falcons evening was just what the doctor ordered as players seek to get back into some flicking rhythm with the Sydney Spring League beckoning.
Adrian Elmer and Mat Barrie from Subbuteo Parramatta joined Hermann Kruse and Eliot Kennedy for a round robin competition of short (20 minute) games. Eliot and Mat kicked off, with Eliot easing to a 1 – 0 win, unable to turn possession into goals thanks to some good defending and great keeping by Mat, who had several opportunities to grab an equaliser on the break. On the other table, Adrian struck some good form to dispatch Hermann 3 – 0 in the most decisive score of the evening. Adrian and Eliot (pictured below) then played a tight match, with Eliot again tending to dominate possession but only able to convert once. Adrian played confidently and had his chances too and could easily have evened things up. Meanwhile, Mat and Hermann battled to a 1 – 1 draw. In the final round, Hermann very nearly kept Eliot out with some great keeping, withstanding something of a bombardment to go down 1 – 0, and Arian and Mat played a typically tight match, with Adrian grabbing the honours 1 – 0.
In the end, Eliot just came out on top with three narrow wins, with Adrian second on six points and Mat and Hermann both on one point but Mat pipping Hermann on goal difference. But the main result of the night was the chance to get some much needed match practice before the Spring League and the Australia Open next month in Melbourne.
report by Eliot Kennedy
Mat 0 – Eliot 1
Hermann 0 – Adrian 3
Adrian 1 – Mat 0
Eliot 1 – Hermann 0
Mat 1 – Hermann 1
Eliot 1 – Adrian 0
P W D L GD P
Eliot 3 3 0 0 +3 9
Adrian 3 2 0 1 +3 6
Mat 3 0 1 2 -2 1
Hermann 3 0 1 2 -4 1