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Asian Cup Media Release

MEDIA RELEASE – AUSTRALIA LOOKS TO DO WELL IN TABLE FOOTBALL’S ASIAN CUP

The Australian Table Football Association is proud to announce its squad for the 2016 Asian Cup of Table Football, to be held this weekend in Singapore. Six Australians will make the journey with four players from the Northern Falcons club in Sydney and one each from Subbuteo Parramatta and Melbourne TFC. The Falcons will also compete in the team event where they will defend their title as the top club in Asia, whilst the Australian national team will seek to win their maiden Asian Cup after a heartbreaking defeat to Singapore in the inaugural edition held in Melbourne in 2015.

The brainchild of Melbourne player Benji Batten, the Asian Cup concept was created in 2014 with the purpose of bringing together Subbuteo players from all of the countries in Asia to compete for the crown of the best player/club/country in Asia. The first edition was held in Melbourne in 2015 and now Subbuteo Table Football Association of Singapore (TFAS) have taken the reigns for 2016 and added their own unique touches.

ATFA President Steve Dettre is a legend of the game and has co-ordinated the traveling contingent magnificently. After a quarter-final placing in the 2015 edition, Steve could be a dark horse to stir up the pot in Singapore. Dettre is excited about the Asian Cup, and the growth of the game throughout Asia.

“We have huge growth in Japan, and have just concluded a deal with J-League clubs” said Dettre. “Iran, Indonesia, China … everybody is getting on board now”

When asked about the Australians’ chances, Steve Dettre explained – “Peter Thomas is the current Asian Cup (individual) champion and will be looking to defend his title in Singapore. Raffaele Lombardi will be playing in his 3rd FISTF event in Singapore, and after impressive showings in the 2015 FISTF World Cup and the Australian Open and Grand Prix events, the lone representative of Subbuteo Parramatta will be hoping for some good results. Eliot Kennedy is no stranger to the international scene having represented Australia at the 1994 World Cup and the 2015 Asian Cup. He is a stern competitor and unknown to many Asian players, Eliot could well be the surprise packet of the tournament. Johnny Ball played with the Falcons at the 2015 Asian Cup where he reached the barrage round. Ball also played at the 2015 International Open of Singapore. Simon Cole rounds out the Australian contingent, the 2016 Asian Cup is Simons first tournament overseas and we hope he does well.”

Table Football, or “Subbuteo” as it is widely known, is a game simulating association football. For many years it was marketed as “the replica of Association Football” or “Table Soccer”.

The Asian Cup of Table Football will be held at the Singapore Sports Hub this weekend 11-12 June (9.00-6.00 daily)

ENDS

Enquiries – Chris Tanner, 0407008489

Subbuteo Parramatta Spring League – Match Day 10

Match Day Ten

Toongabbie West

The Reynolds household was transformed for the evening into a shrine to Subbo, as the hordes (well, five of us anyway) descended for a hearty feast of table football.

Two boards were set up for the night, one in the kitchen and the other in the back room. Your correspondent had the pleasure of playing in the back room. Despite the table and board being propped up under the legs by what looked to be some mini ping-pong racquets and cardboard, the board was a solid as a rock and as flat as a pancake, allowing no player any excuses for missing!

In the first match, Eliot took on Dom in what was always going to be a tricky fixture for Eliot as he tries not to drop points as the season reaches its crescendo. And so it proved. Eliot had lots of possession, but great defence from Dom was restricting the number of shots on goal and Dom was looking dangerous on the counter. In the end, sustained pressure led to two unanswered goals to Eliot by half time (the second a shot with a player on Eliot’s own shooting area). But Dom came out firing after the break and pulled a goal back about 5 minutes into the second half. It was a much more even contest in the second half, with both players having chances, but a third goal with about three minutes left finally allowed Eliot to relax a little, and a fourth goal with a minute to go led to a 4 – 1 final result: not a true reflection of the closeness of the match.

Dom got some measure of revenge in his next match versus Gordy, scoring two terrific first half goals – the first a shot from a moving ball off a corner, the second from an inch perfect flick-in a minute before half time. These two goals were punctuated by a fine goal from Gordy….the only problem being that the shot came from a fourth flick by the attacking figure. That’s gotta hurt! A great second half saw both players making some good attacking and defensive flicks. Dom had more chances however and grabbed a well taken goal with 15 seconds left. This reflected the balance of play and followed a great save a few seconds earlier by Gordy’s prostrate but well positioned keeper!

Gordy puts Eliot under the pump...sort of.

Gordy puts Eliot under the pump…sort of.

Eliot took on Gordy in the third match. Eliot raced to a four goal lead by half time as he enjoyed the speed and flatness of the pitch and ignored the frequent cries of anguish emanating from the other table. Things slowed down a bit in the second half, with the mercy rule at 5 – 0 only being invoked as the half came to an end. Despite the scoreline, Gordy is playing much better than even a few months ago and his pending move to Tchaa figures should see further reliability in his flicking.

In the final game, Big Steve, fresh from two tough games in the Extreme kitchen (“if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen!”) against Adam and Little Steve, took on Gordy. Steve was in control for much of the match, but Gordy defended well throughout. Steve led 2 – 0 at half time, but could not add to his tally in the second half. Both players would have been reasonably satisfied with the final result after an intense evening of table football action.
All in all, a top night was had by all and all matches were played in a great spirit. Thanks again to Adam and family for permitting the peaceful invasion.

(report by Eliot Kennedy)

It was a night of fabulously contested games on the “Pitch-in the Kitchen”, all four being played in the true Subbuteo spirit. The night began with Big Steve taking on Adam. Steve dominated possession in the first half, Adam forced into some “annoyingly good” defensive flicks. Having said this, it was a defensive error from Adam that allowed Steve to open the scoring, finishing well from a defensive error from Adam.
 
Adam looked for a fast start second half, but it was Big Steve who got on the scoresheet again within about 30 seconds from the kick off! A lovely touch into the shooting area was followed by a shot on the moving ball – the net bulging with Adam without so much as a finger on his ‘keeper. Craving a goal and playing well, Adam took full advantage of a defensive error from Steve to slot a fabulous chip in from a tight angle. It was game on now at 2-1, Steve opting to take his jacket off showing he was feeling the heat! A couple of foray’s forward from Adam bore no fruit, though, as Steve patiently worked his way up the field to hammer in an excellent third, again leaving Adam barely any time to get his hands on the ‘keeper. With only a few minutes remaining, Adam was determined to get back in and deservedly clawed it back to 3-2 with another astonishingly good finish from well out wide on the angle. This was to prove the last of the action though, the game finishing 3-2 in favour of Big Steve.
 
Big Steve (BS) remained on the pitch to take on Little Steve (LS) in the latest instalment of the “Derby of the Steves”. It was, however, a relatively routine 2-0 victory in the end for BS. Playing a cool and calm brand of – for the most part – faultless Subbuteo throughout, BS hardly looked like losing this one from the off. An early goal in the first half had LS on the back foot from the offset, though LS did have a chance or two of his own. Poor shooting, which he blamed on “not being used to his new bases”, let him down, however. The second half continued in the same vein as the first with BS claiming his second victory of the evening.
 

'Mad Dog' Grenot vs L(ittle) S(teve). note the carefully disassembled defensive lines.

‘Mad Dog’ Grenot vs L(ittle) S(teve). note the carefully disassembled defensive lines.

Staying on for his second of three games for the evening, Little Steve then took on Dom in an exhilarating encounter. Steve looked to deploy a wide tactic at the beginning, Dom happy enough to hit on the break with Steve not offering too much of a threat. A goal rather early on for Dom (a piece of fine quick play and an insanely forceful strike to almost busted the net) got the game into gear – both players now happy to commit men forward, opening the game right up. Both Dom and Steve had their chances, but it was Steve who found the equaliser just before the break with a neatly worked move into the shooting zone and solid finish.
 
Into the second half, and much of the same again – both players dazzling each other’s eyes with menacing attack and purposeful defensive counters. Dom almost let Steve in with a dreaded travelling ‘keeper error, but Steve ‘Gordied’ it with Dom forcing a tough shot on an angle with a defensive figure there to provide cover and block. Showing good sportsmanship, Steve then saw fit to present the same opportunity to Dom with a ‘keeper error of his own, but Dom, like Steve, was unable to capitalise. A pulsating game with multiple attacks was typified with 30 seconds left on the clock and Steve fluffing a chance to win it with a straight forward shot on an angle, then Dom almost winning it himself with some quick flicks from the ensuing goal kick – the game stayed at 1-1 though, both players and the onlooking Adam agreeing it was a fair result.
 
The final game of the evening saw host Adam versus Little Steve in Steve’s third match in a row. Having settled in now, Steve was on the offensive right from the off, but again didn’t look overly menacing in front of goal. Adam held firm with a solid defensive shape and some great defensive flicks to really shut Steve out and limit his chances. The first half was played at pace (as were all the games; “Forza Extreme Pitches” – quote Raffaele, 2015) as both players enjoyed some good spells of possession and a few chances. The players entered the break, though, relatively content with the score at 0-0. The second half picked up where the first left off – plenty of pace, some amazing touches and equally amazing defensive flicks from both Adam and Steve. Steve came close with a chance he really should have converted after working a few intricate touches in behind the defence on the left flank. Adam came even closer towards the end of the half with an absolute tank of a shot that nearly obliterated Steve’s upright, ricocheting straight back off, though! With no further action, the game finished a square 0-0; similar to Dom and Steve’s match previously, a fair result.
 
It was a fantastic night at Adam’s place – he certainly did his best to ensure everyone was comfortable and having fun, also providing lollies, chips and soft drink for all. We were also treated to the pleasant sounds of “The Real Housewives of the OC” (to the delight of Gordy) coming from the lounge room, from which Eliot provided some words of wisdom which this reporter will leave us all with – “Americans are so American. Though, I suppose, Americans think we’re so Australian.“ Cheers, Eliot.

(report by Steve Diasinos)

The Clubhouse

Raffaele attacks Imojjen.

Raffaele attacks Imojjen.

Unlike Toongabbie West, The Clubhouse was fairly subdued this evening, with just 4 games across the two pitches, including one catch up from earlier in the season. The games were played under the brand new LED stadium lighting which all the players agreed was a significant improvement, with no long shadows being randomly cast across the pitches. The Elmer girls had both spent the day off school sick, but nothing was going to stop them getting their respective Subbuteo fixes. Imojjen stepped up to face Raffaele in the first game, putting her Subbuteo Parramatta jersey to use having otherwise spent the entire day in her pyjamas. Her flicking has improved considerably over the competition, as has her tactical awareness, meaning that she was not completely overwhelmed. Raffaele soon grabbed a stranglehold on the match, though, and was up 3-0 at half time. A further two in the second half gave Raffaele the win, though Imojjen did manage to get into a couple of shooting positions before full time.

match day 10d

Æowyn looks on in disbelief as her shot comes to a halt on the line.

Æowyn looks on in disbelief as her shot comes to a halt on the line.

In the next round of games, Mat took on Æowyn while Todd arrived direct from a local shirt manufacturer, having scoped the possibility of getting some replica classic Newcastle Breakers jerseys made up (though, sadly, no obscure jersey on his own back this evening!) to go head to head with Raffaele. Raffaele proved a bridge too far for Todd’s fledgling skills and the mercy rule was invoked midway through the second half. Meanwhile, Æowyn created the opening half chance of the game against Mat but was unable to connect with the crucial flick. This was to be her downfall in the game, with both Mat’s goals coming as a result of Æowyn missing crucial flicks in her own penalty area (one with her travelling ‘keeper) to give Mat gilt-edged chances. There was also the issue of the errant fingernail which was stopping her smooth flicking meaning that a time-out was called part way through the second half so that she could run inside and use a nail file – the first time in Mat’s illustrious career that he’s had to wait through such an event. Æowyn did create a few chances herself, though, including one shot which bobbled around the goal mouth before landing, agonisingly, straddling the goal-line.

In the evening’s final game, Raffaele and Mat lined up their figures. Mat prefaced the game by declaring to Raffaele that he hadn’t got within 5 goals of any of the league’s other front runners, therefore anything less from Raffaele should be considered a disappointment. The trash talk seemed to have the desired effect, as Raffaele struggled to get into a rhythm and Mat was generally quite comfortable. Finally, late in the half, the favourite took the lead, with a shot that bumped off a couple of other figures, the upright and the rod of Mat’s ‘keeper before trickling in. The second half progressed as the first did, Raffaele generally in control but unable to break Mat down, through both some good defending and counter-attacking, and some atypically poor final touches from Raf. The game did remain in the balance until just on 3 minutes before the end of the 30, when a more accurate, subtle shot from Raffaele finally gave him breathing space.

(report by Adrian Elmer)

Dom 1 – Eliot 4
Gordy 0 – Dom 3
Eliot 5 – Gordy 0
BS 2 – Gordy 0

Adam 2 – BS 3
BS 2 – LS 0
LS 1 – Dom 1
LS 0 – Adam 0

Imojjen 0 – Raffaele 5
Mat 2 – Æowyn 0
Raffaele 2 – Mat 0

Todd 0 – Raffaele 5

With one week of matches left to be played, Eliot remains in pole position, though Fabrizio and Raffaele are still in the race. Steve Dettre is still a mathematical possibility but, in reality, Eliot needs just one point to put himself beyond Steve’s reach. He will have a significant say in the order at the top, though, as, next week, he faces off against Raffaele at The Clubhouse, while Fabrizio and Eliot also play a climactic encounter at New Trafford. Along with the other 11 players all vying for position on the table, it should make for some exciting final day action.

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Interview With Raffaele Lombardi

In our semi-regular series of interviews with Australian Subbuteo players, we ask them about their history in the game, their views on the game today and other bits of trivia about themselves. (To see previous profiles on Benji Batten, Steve Dettre, Robert Green and Luke Radziminski, click here)

This time, we talk to Raffaele Lombardi. Raffaele is originally Italian but has spent large chunks of his life in Australia and is now a permanent resident here. He is part of the Subbuteo Parramatta club but lives in Berry on the NSW South Coast, about 2 hours south of Sydney. He combines his Subbuteo playing with his regular business trips to Sydney.

Raffaele with his two sons, Gabriel (l) and Taylor (r) on the dias at the recent World Cup in Italy.

Raffaele with his two sons, Gabriel (l) and Taylor (r) on the dias at the recent World Cup in Italy.

Tell us a bit about how you first started playing Subbuteo. Where were you and how old were you?
I was 11 years old, in Italy. Every kid my age played the game and I just had to join in. It was 1983.

What were some of your most memorable Subutteo moments growing up?
Going to my first National tournament organised by Guerin Subbuteo, age 13, in Salerno city – 40 minutes away from my home town. My mum drove me there.
Guerin Subbuteo was the best Tournament. Anyone could win those years as players from all over the country, even the ones without a club, were showcasing all their skills.
Another moment was when I attended the first International tournament in Napoli. I skipped school and never told my mum to this day.
It was the first tournament as Subbuteo Sorrento.

I remember you once telling us a great story about how your first club closed – can you tell us the story again?
As Subbuteo was played only in major towns and cities around my area, growing up in a more touristic area (Sorrento/Amalfi Coast), the closest town was Castellemmare di Stabia, where I was actually born and where my family came from. This city, in those years, was very dangerous and I was not allowed by my parents to attend any games played there at such a young age as the train stations were a no go zone at night.
So, I then decided to create my own club called Subbuteo Sorrento and had only myself as a member.
When I started going to tournaments I was the only kid making decisions amongst these older men and its was all overwhelming for me until one day a heated argument started and I found myself between these older men going at each other. After this incident I decided not to attend tournaments anymore as I was just too young without having any support from my family or friends. I stopped playing in 1991. Once I left Sorrento, as the only member, it meant there was no club there anymore!

When did you start playing Subbuteo again?
Just last year (2014). I sent an e-mail and heard back just before the Spring League in September, so I joined that. I had e-mailed the contact addresses on some websites a few times since I permanently came to Australia (early 2000s) but none of those ever got replies. Then, last year I saw the Facebook page and saw some photos of a tournament in Melbourne (I remember seeing photos of Benny) so sent a message through that to Steve Dettre. He replied to me and put me in contact with Subbuteo Parramatta.

Have there been any big changes in the game since you were a kid that you’ve noticed in the last year or so?
So many, as far as I can remember from the late ’80s my style of game has changed 100%. For me it is all new now and I’m still trying to catch up on all those years that I lost. It has been 24 years since I played. Please remember that!!!

This year you went to the World Cup in Italy. Before you went, what were you hoping to achieve in the tournament?
Score at least a few goals as I knew already the level of those guys is freaky.

How did you go in the tournament – did you do better or worse than you were expecting?
I managed to take home 1 point but I really thought I was going to win my last game as I was 2-0 up. I think I blew that game as I was all over the Swiss player (John Imbrogiano) and could have taken the 3 points home. Never mind. Next time.

What did you notice about the players from different parts of the world and the way they play the game? Do the different countries use different styles or are they all the same once they get to an elite level?
At that level everybody is the same. Any game can be lost or won 8-0 by any opponent. An example was the Grand Final in the open category. Flores won 7-2 against Nastasi, which are the two top ranking players in the world. At half time Flores was 6-0 up. How do you guess that result? AND Flores was almost knocked out when he was 2-0 down against Bari (who I lost 5-0 in my group) with 2 minutes to go and ended up winning in golden goal in the quarter finals. You just can never guess.

What are some of the hints you picked up at the World Cup that you’re trying to work on in your own game now?
No big hints…just be calm. That’s all. But then again everybody knows that, and nobody does it. I am the first offender!

You also have a sideline in importing and selling some of the high end equipment from Italy. How much do you think equipment plays a part in your own game?
They have changed everything in my game. As I said before it has all changed for me and I can assure you that quality in the new bases and pitches makes the difference. And of course high sensibility in your flicking!!!

What football teams do you follow?

1. Juve Stabia – Serie Lega Pro (the team from where I come from)
2. Napoli – Seria A
3. Barcelona – La Liga
4. Juventus – Seria A (but only in Champions League!)
5. All Italian teams in the European leagues!!!

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)

Scores:
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 8

The Clubhouse

Adam, with trademark Chuppa-Chup, looking for a gap in Imojjen's defense.

Adam, with trademark Chuppa-Chup, looking for a gap in Imojjen’s defense.

WOW! What an explosive evening of Subbuteo! Of course, as with most things Subbuteo Parramatta, a careful following of the tracks leads it all back to one man – Gordy Dudley. With Big Steve and Dom having given notice of their absence early in the day (some lame (badump-ching!) excuses about hospitals and what-not) the schedule was hastily redrawn, with 8 games due to be played. However, an afternoon note from Gordy sent that all in to disarray and the evening was whittled down to 5 games. Raffaele was not happy, having to make the 2 hour drive for only half his original games, and then proceeded to be hounded on the phone by a recalcitrant shoe supplier from Italy on his phone, meaning flick-off for his first game was delayed for over half an hour as the sedate Toongabbie neighbourhood was treated to international business, Italian style!

So, Adam and Imojjen got their game underway anyway, and it proved to be the least controversial of the evening. Imojjen played well, making good defensive flicks, but a couple of misses while in possession in her own goal box meant she handed Adam some open scoring opportunities which he took well. 2 up at half time, the game continued with lots of tight midfield play but Adam was able to find space at crucial times to finish with a 4-0 victory.

Raffaele's travelling 'keeper is stranded, but his defensive positioning holds Daniele out.

Raffaele’s travelling ‘keeper is stranded, but his defensive positioning holds Daniele out.

Meanwhile, Raffaele and Daniele eventually were able to get underway and the tight affair between the brothers was to bring about the evening’s first controversy. Raffaele took a 1 goal lead but the match stayed evenly poised throughout. Midway through the second half, Daniele pushed for the equaliser, had a shot which pinballed around the goal area slowly, Raffaele eventually clearing the ball off his line with the rod of his ‘keeper. Daniele was adamant the ball had crossed the line. Raffaele was adamant it hadn’t. It was left to referee, Eliot, to make the call and he agreed with Raffaele. The explanation of parallax error did little to calm the aggrieved Daniele. However, he continued to push nobly right to the end, unfortunately leaving himself to a counter-attack in the final seconds, finishing with a 2-0 scoreline. The debrief at the conclusion of the game was extensive!

The second round saw the father-daughter showdown between Adrian and Æowyn – brought forward to cover the shortfall left by the absent players. Æowyn did a sterling job stifling Adrian’s attacks with some well placed defensive flicks. Adrian’s experience told out, though, as he found a way through Æowyn’s defenses on enough occasions to stay comfortable. Even though he was 3-0 up, though, Æowyn made a number of outrageous claims that the score was actually 3-1 (memory loss at 12 years old!!!??). Then, in the final minutes, Adrian was midway through a clear shot on goal which went into the net. Before he actually got to take it, however, Æowyn had called for a time out to clarify a ruling. The ball was thus returned to its original position, the shot retaken and duly saved. Adrian finished the game with a -1 overall goal difference which he had hoped to eradicate in the game! In a much calmer game on the other pitch, Eliot and Daniele whined about the slowness of the pitch (most objective observers noted they probably just need some lessons on polishing!), while Eliot slowly carved a 3 goal victory on the back of some precise flicking in the tight spaces which were all that Daniele allowed him.

The final game of the evening saw two of the favourites for the title, Raffaele and Eliot, line up against each other. The game went exactly as the form guide would suggest, with neither player dominating the other, both players showing some exquisite touches and both players determined not to concede. It was Raffaele who broke the deadlock midway through the first half when he finally found a chink in Eliot’s defense. Eliot did manage an equaliser before the break however. The clock was stopped for a couple of minutes as a referee ruling was discussed in detail. After time was waved back on, Eliot worked his way up field before finishing well, though Raffaele felt aggrieved at the preceding ruling. The second half opened up and, considering that the two players have such notoriously tight defences, the amount of shots on goal each was able to produce was a testament to their ability to control the ball in tight areas in attack. Midway through the half, Raffaele again got his nose in front, this time finding a large hole in the middle of Eliot’s defense having skilfully pulled it backwards and forwards for a few minutes. Eliot was not going to lay down, however, and dominated most of the rest of the match. A few chances were opened up but Raffaele’s goalkeeper was put to good use. Then, in the great talking point, the situation from the night’s first game was repeated. Eliot shot and believed the ball had hit the back of the goal. Raffaele believed the ball had hit the crossbar. In a reversal of the evening’s earlier incident, this time the referee (yours truly, caught in the cross-fire!) adjudged against Raffaele instead of in favour of him. After settling from the ensuing debate, Raffaele redoubled his efforts and had Eliot completely under the pump for the final minute. A string of free flicks on the edge of the shooting area took place as Eliot’s desperation saw him infringe on the rapidly moving ball. In the final seconds, Raffaele had a half sight on goal but, unfortunately, called for the free-flick he had earned rather than playing on, losing both the time and space he had left. In the end, the high quality play from both players deserved the draw.

Gordy’s no-show meant that his match against Paul was officially forfeited, Paul unavailable now due to HSC marking. With all his games now complete, Paul sits atop the table, though those behind him now have games in hand to try and catch him. As well as the new lighting that will be installed at The Clubhouse in the next couple of weeks, the groundskeepers are also now considering installing goal-line technology on the pitches as well! In the wash-up to the controversies of the evening, one thing was clear, though. If Gordy had been present then, at the very least there would have been a whipping boy for the other players to relieve their tensions against, which probably would have put everybody in a more relaxed mood. Of course it was all Gordy’s fault!

(report by Adrian Elmer)

Imojjen 0 – Adam 4
Adrian 3 – Æowyn 0

Raffaele 2 – Daniele 0
Daniele 0 – Eliot 3
Eliot 2 – Raffaele 2

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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

AUSTRALIAN REPRESENTATIVES READY TO MAKE THEIR MARK AT TABLE FOOTBALL WORLD CUP

Australian table football stars will take on the world’s best at the Fédération Internationale de Sport Table Football de Table (FISTF) World Cup to be held in Italy this weekend.

Robert Green and Raffaele Lombardi will join competitors for more than 30 countries in the table football festival in San Benedetto.

Green, from the Northern Falcons club in northern Sydney, is ranked number two in Australia and will compete in the veterans category, while western Sydney’s Lombardi from the Subbuteo Parramatta club is ranked five in the nation and will compete in the open category.

For Green, this will be his third World Cup appearance while Lombardi is appearing for the first time.

Green, originally from Artarmon on Sydney’s north shore, now lives in Sweden, and competes regularly on the European table football circuit. He’s a past national champion of Australia in 1995 and was the Asian Cup runner-up in January of this year.

Lombardi, born in Italy is an Australian citizen, has made a big impact on the local scene since resuming playing in 2013 after a long hiatus. While living in Berry on the Southern Highlands, he plays for the Subbuteo Parramatta club, and has been a key representative for club and country with his best result of the season being a quarter-final placing in the Singapore International Open in June.

The participation of Australia at the World Cup is a key part of the Australian Table Football Association’s plans to revive competition around Australia. There are clubs currently in action in all mainland capital cities, and an international event will be held in Melbourne in October, closely followed by an International Grand Prix leg, attracting players from around Asia and Europe scheduled for Sydney in late January.

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Rochefort 2014 012b

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.

The Curse Of The Second Pie

Subbuteo Parramatta went on the road for this FISTF/WASPA tournament, heading down to club member, Raffaele Lombardi’s home town of Berry. The glorious sunlit day filled the room for the players to face off – some of the old regulars against some old champions who’ve recently returned to the game, as well as some novices to bring renewed enthusiasm.

Group 1 turned out to be where a lot of the action would be – both grand finalists as well as the repechage winner fought out the group stage. Daniele Lombardi was overwhelmed in his matches against Peter Thomas and former Australian junior champion Will Johncock. Their encounter against each other was a cagey affair, ending 2-1 to Peter.

Group 2 saw Eliot Kennedy down Adrian Elmer 2-0 in the first match, Adrian defending doggedly for the opening 15 minutes before letting himself down with some poor play and 2 conceded goals in the opening couple of minutes of the second half. New boy Mat Barrie then did the same to Adrian, Mat’s reading of the game serving him well until Adrian finally managed to break through midway through the second half. Eliot’s experience was too much for Mat in the final game.

Opening round games - Paul vs Adam in the foreground, Steve vs Raffaele behind.

Opening round games – Paul vs Adam in the foreground, Steve vs Raffaele behind.

Group 3, the only one with 4 players, was also the group that could go down to the wire, which it did. An opening 1-1 draw between Steve Dettre and Raffaele Lombardi could have gone either way, with each player having a golden chance to take the game in the final minute alone, a draw, however, being a fair reflection. Paul Magee got warmed up with a win over the other new boy, Adam Reynolds. Steve accounted for Paul in the second round, while Raffaele dispatched Adam. In the final games, the biggest celebration of the day happened when Adam scored his first ever competitive goal – a well placed finish against Steve – though Steve kept control, winning the game. Paul knew he needed to beat Raffaele to progress to the knock-out stage but, in the end, had to be content with the repechage after Raffaele saw him off 2-0.

Adam takes on Steve in the group stage.

Adam takes on Steve in the group stage.

The repechage semis saw the experience of Daniele and Paul win out over the new players, Mat and Adam though Mat, again, showed a deft defensive line and made Paul work hard, while both players brought an enthusiasm to the dy and willingness to learn that will see them progress quickly. In the final, two very different styles fought out for supremacy with Paul’s calculated precision rubbing up against Daniele’s flamboyance. Paul took the lead, while Daniele had thought he had equalised with a deft shot before realising he had a figure off-side. In the second half, Daniele pressed hard and finally found the net with a swift series of flicks on the run to bury the ball. As the game looked like heading for extra-time, Daniele took the lead, another swift manouvre and powerful shot giving him the repechage title.

In the barrage rounds, Steve took a comfortable 2 goal to the half-time break over Adrian, but Adrian got into the game much more in the second half, pulling one back and coming close a few more times. Steve’s experience, however, showed through as he made sure of his place in the semis with a 3rd. Will defeated Raffaele 3-1 to take the other semi, meaning the 3 seeded players were in the semis, joined by the the former junior champion playing his first tournament after an almost 20 year lay-off.

While Steve had his moments, Peter took an early goal in their semi, which allowed Peter to settle and dominate. His third goal, in particular, was an absolute screamer, scored by a deep, defensive figure piercing the smallest gap to get a venemous shot on target. Meanwhile, Will was pushing Eliot all the way, Eliot unable to turn field position into scoreboard dominance. 1-1 at full time meant the first (and only) extra time of the day was needed. This turned into an almost non-event, though, as, barely had the extra period started and the audience settled in to watch the tussle, than Will scored a well taken golden goal winner, giving him a rematch against his group opponent, Peter.

Peter piles on the pressure against Will in the grand final.

Peter piles on the pressure against Will in the grand final.

Having learned a few things from their earlier encounter, Peter played a perfect opening and was 3-0 up inside 5 minutes. An earlier comment about an extra pie that Will had eaten at lunch came back to haunt him as he appeared unable to move in the face of Peter’s quickfire attacks. He did finally settle, though, and was able to head to the half-time break without conceding again. Midway through the second half, however, Peter put the result beyond doubt with a knock-out blow 4th goal. Will did get some possession and pulled back a well-taken consolation, before Peter rounded out a convincing performance with 2 more to take the game 6-1.

A fantastic day of Subbuteo, played in sublime surrounds with great sportsmanship on display at all levels. It was great to see new and returning players throw themselves at the challenge with enthusiasm, while the regulars continued their onfield duels with each other with both competitiveness and camaraderie.

To see the full results click here.
To see more photos, click here.

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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