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Subbuteo Parramatta Spring League 2015 – Match Day 11

Match Day 11

The Clubhouse
 
It stands just over 3.5cm, with a rod that’s about 22cm. The Subbuteo ‘keeper. Most times it’s all that stands between you and an opponent smacking a goal, and usually all you can do is position it and grimly hope for the best. And then there are times when your reflexes with the ‘keeper rise to another level and seemingly no matter how well your opponent shoots, you manage to get the keeper across, up, down, to block the shot. So it was with my encounter with Raffaele, the latest instalment in our encounters on the Subbuteo pitch.

With Raff hoping for some mathematically incredible results at the other venue to grab the Spring League title, he dominated the first half, and a large slice of the second period in our encounter. Superb build-ups, great patience and delicate flicks put him in position to rain shots on my goal. But time and time again I somehow saved. One particular one stood out: a great hard shot from the right roared towards the top left hand corner, yet a flick of the wrist and the tips of the keeper’s hand deflected in out. In the second period, Raff pushed even harder, and I was convinced with 5 mins gone that he would score, but a defensive block did enough to deaden the coming shot. And then the inevitable…

With 7 minutes to go, and really my first attack and definitely my first shot, I scored, with a neat angled shot from the left to the far bottom corner. Raff piled on the pressure, gaps appeared, and a precise long shot from just inside the half popped the ball over his keeper for a second. He fought gamely and got one back with 2 ½minutes left, but I parked the bus and held the ball to run down the clock. There’s always next time, Raff.

Dom has a rare moment of attack against Daniele

Dom has a rare moment of attack against Daniele

In the evening’s opening game, Dom Grenot found himself on the receiving end of a spanking from Daniele Lombardi. Dome couldn’t get his defensive flicking in order and found his ‘keeper 1 on 1 against Daniele’s attackers over and over. The mercy rule was called and Dom was thankful to have the score officially recorded as 5-0.
 
Æowyn positioning her defence against Steve

Æowyn positioning her defence against Steve

The young players are our future, and I think we can all see them improving aspects of their game all the time. Æowyn Elmer showed some fine flicking, and an improved sense of positional play in her match against Steve Dettre, which Steve won 3-0. A bit more confidence to take the ball quickly upfield, and an awareness of which figures to flick is all she needs to improve on her results. Watching her and her sister, Imojjen, in action, there was also a common theme with some of the other newer players: what to do when the opponent is coming at you, and there is no obvious player to make a defensive flick. It comes down to basic set-up, which entails having at least a couple of “free” figures in the middle of the pitch, to harass the attacker. Don’t break up your defensive line, but instead use these figures to try and force the attacker into unwanted zones.
 
Daniele opening up a first half lead against Steve, with John Ho the vigilant referee looking on.

Daniele opening up a first half lead against Steve, with John Ho the vigilant referee looking on.

After his big opening game win, Daniele looked on course for another big win against Steve Dettre in their encounter, with Daniele racing to a 2-0 lead after 10 minutes. The speed of his attacks was causing issues for Steve, whose figures just wouldn’t glide, causing block flicks and flicks at the ball to drop short. Daniele scored two great goals, the first with some speed, but was also unlucky with a couple that struck the goal posts. “If the post was square…”  (You had to be there!) Just before the break it could have been 3-0, but Daniele was profligate with an immense chance. Would it turn out to be a crucial miss? The simple answer is, ‘Yes’! After a super ‘polish’ of Steve’s sluggish figures at the break, they started to glide smoothly, and within the blink of an eye it was 2-1, and Daniele was on the back foot. The inevitable equaliser left the game on a knife edge for the last five minutes, as both players tried to get a win. Another super match that once again reinforced in my why I love to play this crazy game.

(reports by Steve Dettre)

Adam holding Raffaele at bay

Adam holding Raffaele at bay

Meanwhile, Raffaele warmed up for his crucial encounter with Steve with a game against each of Adrian and Adam. While Adrian defended staunchly, Raffaele made the breakthrough midway through the first half with a shot that was cheekily rolled under Adrian’s ‘keeper, which was trying too hard to cover Raffaele’s normal chip to the far, top corner. He continued with regular goals for the duration, finishing with 4 in a regulation win. His game against Adam was not so straightforward, though. Adam, somewhat under the weather and having already played one game on the other side of town, put in a stellar display of accurate defensive flicking and counter-attacking danger. Raffaele seemed unlike his normal calm self, and missed many regulation flicks. He did break through Adam close to half time, though this was more down to Adam’s mistake – Raffaele positioned his attacker to shoot, then took another small touch. Seeing this, Adam reached out to try and position a defender, leaving his ‘keeper unattended. Raffaele had no trouble hitting the back of the unguarded net in the fraction of a second Adam gave him. Adam pushed hard in the second half and Raffaele, who needed the result to have any chance of taking the title, was looking nervous. It wasn’t until a few minutes before time that he was finally able to put the breathing space he needed between himself and Adam, with a second goal following one of Adam’s few poor defensive flicks of the game. And so the score finished 2-0, with Raffaele still on target, should Eliot trip up over at New Trafford. Adam was mentally and physically exhausted by now and had to forfeit his final game against Adrian. However, this meant that special guest, John Ho, visiting from Singapore, was able to have a friendly flick against both Daniele and Adrian on the spare table, Subbuteo’s ties of friendship reinforced further.

(reports by Adrian Elmer)

Daniele, John Ho, Steve, Raffaele and Adrian.

Daniele, John Ho, Steve, Raffaele and Adrian.

New Trafford

In the decider of who would top the stragglers, Dave Rudd had given up all hope and decided work would be a more fitting evening pastime. This left the dog fight down to Todd Giles and Gordy Dudley. The game was flicked off to about as much ado as Shane Warne’s hair growth treatment and then possession was mostly fought and scrambled for in the mid field. Todd started more confidently and had Gordy on the back foot, complete with his shaky defending and sportsmanship in gifting Todd multiple throw in opportunities. This was to be stopped short, though, as Gordy started to get a hang on flicking his players with the intent to hit the ball and not Todd’s players. Shortly after a break in Todd’s defence a quick one-two play ended with a hard felt shot at the back of Todd’s net. Todd was not to be done in and pushed for an equaliser. With some excellent build up play and Gordy’s tactics borrowed from one Raffaele, a foul was called in favour of Todd, an excellent opportunity to strike even. Unfortunately, it fell to the wayside as Gordy doggedly kept him out. The second half played out similarly to the first with both players struggling to use their midfield possession to their advantage. Once an opportunity did present itself, Gordy’s nimble play found him with a 3 on one situation, finding a clear shot rocketing in to the back of Todd’s net… Per usual one of Gordy’s men is found narrowly offside. Todd pushed hard towards the end throwing all his men in to the fray to strike even, his valiant efforts saw the brow of Gordy grow wet with each passing move. Unfortunately it was not to be as the game came to a close. 1 – 0 to Gordy.

(report by Gordy Dudley)
 
The first of four games on the New Trafford pitch saw Adam take on host Matt before he was due to head off to The Clubhouse for some more action. As it was, it was Adam who started brighter, moving a little more purposefully and carving out the game’s first chance. Regrettably for Adam, a well worked move on the left saw his final strike come rocketing off the upright. This seemed to set the theme for the match and, as Matt begun to get more comfortable in possession, he too was left in disbelief as his first chance of the game also slammed into the post. The half continued with neither player dominating, both keeping a steady pace with some careful and deliberate flicks in both attack and defence. Matt was left reeling after an intricately worked move in behind Adam’s defence resulted only in the crossbar being rattled! 0-0 into the break.
 

Adam's new flick-off set-up, The Flying Bung-Eye

Adam’s new flick-off set-up, The Flying Bung-Eye

The soon to be famous ‘Flying Bung-Eye’ formation (see picture) from Adam got things started for the second half. But a couple of defensive flicks resulting in backs from Adam allowed Matt to work his way into the shooting area, duly dispatching his shot into the top left pocket. Eliot had just arrived, and thankfully so as his expertise was required to sort out a contentious defensive foul. From this, Adam found himself with a shooting chance on an angle out on the right but, despairingly, hit the upright yet again. The game’s final chance felt to Matt with 5 seconds to go and, you may have guessed it, he AGAIN hit the crossbar!!! 1-0 to Matt the final result.
 
Next up was Fabrizio Coco against Steve Diasinos – Steve happily gloating about how he’d once beaten Fabrizio. This had the same result as waving a red flag in front of a raging bull – Fabrizio bagging his first after around 30 seconds after a (very) quick break through the middle of the pitch. This was to set the tone for the rest of the half as Steve was forced into some quick defensive flicks to try and counter Fabrizio’s face-melting attacking speed. Unable to carve out many chances, Steve was on the back foot throughout, being forced into a couple of remarkable saves with his ‘keeper. Fabrizio did eventually get the second one he was after, finishing low and hard into the far corner from out wide; Fabrizio taking a 2-0 lead into the break. Steve came into the second feeling sprightly and with a belief he could get back into the game. Whilst he did perform better throughout the half, carving out 1 or 2 half chances and forcing a few corners, it was Fabrizio whose class and skill shone through. Another 2 exquisitely worked and finished goals left Fabrizio with a thoroughly deserved 4-0 victory.
 
In a heavy night for Steve, he stayed on to take on the top runner in Eliot. Looking, of course, for a victory and, even more importantly, for goals which could go a long way in deciding where the title was headed, Eliot came into the game with purpose and drive. Steve defended well trying to limit Eliot’s chances in the half, and he managed to do just that. Eliot did eventually break the deadlock, but he was forced to use a defensive figure in his own shooting zone, sending an astonishing chip over Steve’s ‘keeper. Steve huffed and puffed, managing to hold possession for some good spells, but Eliot’s experience really shone through not allowing him a single change on goal. 1-0 to Eliot at the end of the first half.

The second period was very similar to the first – Steve trying to somehow force an opening in Eliot’s defence, and Eliot looking to finish the game off. Eliot did have a few chances, but Steve’s ‘keeper was in good form from the previous game, managing to save 2 or 3 great chances. Finally though, the second did come. After some amazing play up the middle and some delicate touches to get into a scoring opportunity, Eliot made no mistake burying his shot. Still somehow unperturbed, Steve didn’t lose focus and fashioned his first opportunity of the game. Some quick play and nice touches right up the spine allowed him to exploit a large gap in Eliot’s defence. Without his hand on the ‘keeper, Steve tried to shoot quickly. Having barely had a shot all night until this point though, his accuracy was off and the ball was completely missed! Blowing his chance to get back into it and clearly frustrated, he let in another goal following a swift counter up the other end. Sensing blood, Eliot rounded off a fine victory with another 2 perfectly taken shots to round out a convincing (though it was agreed somewhat blown out given the well contested battle) 5-0 victory.
 
“That was fast” – Fabrizio Coco, November 2015
What a start to the final game of the evening, the main event! Fabrizio opened the scoring early in the half with around a dozen flicks in about as many seconds – Eliot with barely enough time to grab the rod of his ‘keeper as the net bulged. Some intense possession based flicks from both ensued as the combatants fought to gain control over one-another. Eliot remained the calmest, though, and got in behind Fabrizio’s defence. To his despair, the crossbar rattled and the ball cleared for a throw in. An openly contested game ensued with some beautiful attacking and defensive flicks from both. Mid-way through the half, Fabrizio earned a throw in, working it magnificently up the right wing with speed and made no mistake from his chance from distance and on the sideline.
 
Eliot was unperturbed and fashioned a chance shortly after of his own – forcing a neat save after going for the cheeky short side on a tough angle. With just a few minutes remaining in the half, Eliot worked his way into the shooting zone intelligently to set himself for a close range chance – this time making no mistake burying it low and hard into the far left with about as impossible an amount of space you could imagine. The half ended 2-1 in favour of Fabrizio.
 
The first chance of the second half came early from Eliot; a delightful chip from the right flank was saved well, though. Barely half a minute later and Eliot was left to rue the miss as Fabrizio extended his lead with such speed that this reporter didn’t even see it!!! Another chance soon fell for Fabrizio as he looked to further extend the lead, but a smart shot into the bottom short side was frenetically kept out.
 
A fabulous midfield battle ensued, neither able to grab a stranglehold. Eliot did well to work it long up the right wing, placing a lovely centring ball for a tough shot, but Fabrizio was astute with his ‘keeper again, forcing the corner. It was Eliot’s turn to play Fabrizio at his own game, bringing the speed to combine with a series of deft flicks to fashion a lovely 1-on-1 chance, but Fabrizio again somehow managed to keep the shot out with a combination of rod and post. Eliot grabbed a good hold of the game after this, Fabrizio seemingly happy to defend as well as we know he can. Soon his ‘keeper was in action again with what was quite honestly (and Eliot will certainly attest) an astounding save. With no further action, the game came to an end with Fabrizio taking the honours of contender for game of the season 3-1. Matt, Gordy and Steve were left to roll their tongues up and put their eyes back in their sockets after a fabulous display of finesse and elegance.

(reports by Steve Diasinos)

Dom 0 – Daniele 5
Imojjen 0 – Daniele 5
Daniele 2 – Steve Dettre 2

Steve Dettre 3 – Æowyn 0
Adrian 0 – Raffaele 4
Raffaele 2 – Adam 0
Raffaele 1 – Steve Dettre 2

Gordy 1 – Todd 0

Adam 0 – Mat 1
Fabrizio 4 – Steve Diasinos 0
Steve Diasinos 0 – Eliot 5
Eliot 1 – Fabrizio 3

And so Eliot Kennedy retains his title, though he had a much sterner fight this season. With Fabrizio remaining the tournament’s only undefeated player and beating Eliot in the final game to get within a solitary point of him, and Raffaele and Steve close behind them, the competition at the top looks like it is opening up. Meanwhile, a range of newer players further down the table have been learning from the best and will hope to put these lessons into action. Of course, everyone finished the tournament with their own ‘What Could Have Been’ and ‘If Only’ tales, but such is the nature of league competition, which is while we’ll all be back to give it another go next year.

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to see the full tournament results, click here.

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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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.

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 11.54.32 am

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 Cup

click the image for full size version

click the image for full size version

During the Spring months, Subbuteo Parramatta has been holding its annual league competition. To celebrate the end of the league, the annual League Cup will this year take place on Tuesday, November 17. This WASPA tournament is open to all players (not just Subbuteo Parramatta members) of all abilities, whether they have competed in the Spring League or not. New players are always welcome. This year, the tournament will be held at the New Trafford Subbuteo Complex, located at Subbuteo Parramatta member Mat Barrie’s home situated in the centre of Parramatta. Full address details will be supplied to all players registered for the tournament.

Fill out the form below to register for the tournament. Entries close at midnight on Sunday, November 15, 2015.

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

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 12.29.52 pm

for full scores and updated table, click here

Subbuteo Parramatta Spring League – Match Day 6

Match Day Six

New Trafford

An unpleasant Tuesday evening’s weather greeted Mat and Daniele when they met in the CBD, to make the venture to the New Trafford complex. The evening started with Daniele’s back complaints which found Mathew thinking to himself that he may be able to possibly skank a point from their match up. Would this be the case, or would a rejuvenated Napoli line-up, fresh from the 1980’s via the 2015 Subbuteo World Cup (Maradona equipped with ‘fro) play through injury and prove to be the favourites they were entering into the match.

Play got underway, minus David in the early stages, so Mat and Daniele had to play fair for the first half until David had arrived. Daniele soon showed dominance, with some classy build up play and Mat struggling to get any real possession. Only some last ditch defensive flicks from Mat, coupled with some nice saves kept the score at 1-0 at half time. Daniele’s goal came from some sustained pressure, and scoring with about 5 minutes left in the half. David then arrived at half time, and the game could resume with referee as per the norm. The 2nd half was a much more even encounter, with both players having some decent chances. The score was maintained until the end, with Mat putting a late equalising chance wide of the mark. Daniele 1-0.

Match 2 saw David take on Mat in what was the first match-up between Manchester UTD and Newton Heath at Old Trafford. This proved to be a good match-up, Mat trying a new formation, and David finding his best form of the competition. Mat jumped out to an easy lead and continued to pile forward. Some impressive pressing and marking flicks from David prevented Mat from getting any more clear cut chances on goal, creating some easy work for David goal keeper. As Mat continued bringing players forward, a mistake saw David quickly sweep up-field. And with his first shot of the match score an equaliser in the bottom corner. A good reward for some great defensive play. They went into the break at 1-1. The 2nd half saw more of the same, with Mat creating many chances to shoot poorly and wide. Eventually he got a late goal to take out the match 2-1.

Match 3 had David and Daniele facing off in the final match of the evening. Daniele soon got to a 1-0 lead. Again Daniele continued to pile forward. This match he couldn’t seem to get the ball off the felt when shooting. David made 3 impressive “Phantom” saves without even getting his hand on his keeper. The score line was maintained until the break. The 2nd half saw Daniele continue the pressure and score 2 more to take out the match 3-0.

(report by Mat Barrie)

Mat 0 – Daniele 1
David 1 – Mat 2
Daniele 3 – Dave 0

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 11.08.50 pm

for full results and table click here

Subbuteo Parramatta Spring League – Match Day 4

Match Day Four

The Clubhouse

Adam must have looked at the draw and panicked. With clashes against Gordy and one of the Elmer girls lined up, he needed a way out. Either that, or he was still recovering from too much free wine on Saturday because he decided to stay home and spend the evening throwing up instead of facing his opponents. Meaning just 3 games were played at The Clubhouse this week. Mat lined up against Adrian for the first and it didn’t take him long to stamp his authority on the game. Within 5 minutes he had comfortably worked his way past Adrian’s defence and made no mistake with his shot. A few minutes later and Adrian’s defence was again in disarray, Mat doubling Adrian’s total goals against for the entire league so far inside 10 minutes! Adrian finally found a bit of composure and drew one goal back before the break, however, giving him some hope. The second half was a far less open affair, with both players tightening up their defence, though half chances did fall to both players. With 90 seconds left on the clock, as Adrian pushed his figures forward in search of an equaliser, Mat took advantage of the space at the back and put the result beyond doubt with a perfectly, delicately weighted chip shot.

Gordy shoots. Æowyn saves...Gordy's figure, while the actual ball cannons off the post and out for a flick-in.

Gordy shoots. Æowyn saves…Gordy’s figure, while the actual ball cannons off the post and out for a flick-in.

Game Two saw Gordy face Æowyn in a rematch of their clash from the previous weekend’s September Cup. In that game, Gordy had come away with the win but tonight, Æowyn put up a better defensive effort, limiting Gordy’s shots on goal and using her ‘keeper well when Gordy shot on target. Æowyn even carved out some chances for herself – only her inexperience denying her a possible golden opportunity to steal the win with one chance in the second half. In the end, both players settled with the draw, each earning their first point of the league.

Mat puts his superior arm reach to good use.

Mat puts his superior arm reach to good use.

Mat then returned to the pitch to go into his game against Gordy as the strong favourite. Gordy, however, lifted a notch and played with more speed and accuracy. In what was an enthralling game, both players had chances, both players made good saves, both players frustrated themselves with some poor flicks and both players came away with no goals and a point each. And, in spite of his best efforts, Adam will still have to face the music at a later date.

(report by Adrian Elmer)

Mat 3 – Adrian 1
Gordy 0 – Æowyn 0
Gordy 0 – Mat 0

Diasodrome

It wouldn’t be a night of Subbuteo without a little drama to start! Daniele’s train didn’t roll in to Parramatta station until a few minutes past 7:00pm – with Steve picking him up this left poor Paul stranded outside the Diasodrome without anyone’s contact numbers!!!
 
Play finally got under way with Steve and Paul kicking off the evening. It was a relatively straight forward win for Paul – some solid defensive flicks forcing Steve into some half chances on angles, and the chances he did have were let down by some poor shooting. Paul was rather more cool and clinical, slotting once from a number of chances in the first half. Both Paul and Steve missed chances in the half as well from travelling ‘keeper errors, in what is now becoming known as “doing a Gordy!” Paul’s was particularly heart breaking, hitting both posts before realising one of his attacking figures was indeed offside. The second half was more of the same – Steve did manage to level early in the half, but conceded a further 2 superb goals from Paul, who ended with a 3-1 win.
 

Paul and Daniele fighting with everything they've got.

Paul and Daniele fighting with everything they’ve got.

Paul stayed on and took on Daniele, which was an astonishing advert for this beautiful game! Playing somewhat more conservative than he did against Steve, Paul was happy to soak up a little early pressure and try hitting on the counter. Daniele however was not perturbed, scoring the goal of the night from well inside his own half, somehow avoiding some well positioned defenders to chip the ‘keeper. The second half began this time with Paul maintaining the bulk of possession and, inevitably chances on goal too. The closest he was to come though was one that came agonisingly off the bar after some fabulous build up play. Daniele rode out around 5 mins of pure attacking mayhem from Paul before slotting his second on a neatly worked counter attack, taking away a 2-0 win.
 
“How the hell did you beat that guy?!?!” – these words from Rob (who was in attendance with a beer to watch the nights action) to Steve perfectly summed up the final game of the evening with Daniele taking on Steve. The game started at a quick pace which was maintained throughout. The first real opportunity of note came quite early in the first half with Steve entering the shooting zone but being forced to settle for a corner. A neat short pass to the near past and an excellent flick onto the moving ball saw Daniele stunned as the ball hit the ‘keeper but somehow still stumbled in! This is where Steve’s attacking forays for the half were to end though. Whilst the game was not necessarily uneven in terms of possession and skill, it was Daniele who managed to create the most chances, his slick and fast paced movements proving too much for Steve. Somehow though, after 2-3 literally unbelievable saves and hitting the post the same amount of times, Daniele was forced to enter the break without a goal and 1-0 down.
 
The second half started much as the first ended with Daniele again peppering Steve’s goal, and he was rewarded very early in the half with a fabulous equaliser. With both players not looking to settle for a draw, this opened the game up fabulously – Steve with a few chances (mostly half chances) and Daniele again peppering Steve’s goal. The post and bar (numerous times) and some more uncharacteristically good ‘keeping were frustrating Daniele. As he continued to search for a deserved winner though, he was left dangerously short in defence. Steve grabbed the most of this with a few minutes remaining, nailing a solid strike from a tight angle into the top pocket to steal away a memorable 2-1 victory.
 
So a win-a-piece for each of the three combatants for the evening leaving all with a smile!
I’ll leave you all with some words of true wisdom from Paul which I feel didn’t just sum up the night, but accurately depicts our feelings towards this brilliant game of ours: “having the opportunity to meet interesting characters and good-hearted people in Subbo trumps results”. Love it.
 
(report by Steve Diasinos)

Paul 3 – Steve Di 1
Daniele 2 – Paul 0
Steve Di 2 – Daniele 1

subbuteo parramatta spring league table match day 4

for full results and table updates, 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 2

Match Day Two

Old Trafford

The night started in good spirits at Old Trafford (Toongabbie variety) on a great Spring night. An amazing turnout considering it was transfer deadline day. A couple of old heads (my roommates) were on hand to see Subbuteo action for the first time. Beers in hand, and banter loaded for a couple of unsuspecting travellers.
 
First to arrive were Daniele and Fabrizio (Adam doesn’t count living on the next street), not too impressed with the amount of time it took to make it to the Old Trafford pitches. Adam’s hospitality quickly made spirits improve with an offer of a ride back after the matches. Todd rolled in on time. Then we noticed it was 7:10 and two familiar faces were still not in town. Fearing a repeat of previous location mix-ups I was in contact with Steve & Gordy to find a reply of “5 mins away mate”….Deja vu was the only thought in my head…
 
Steve and Gordy, true to their word, arrived within the 5 minutes and the action was underway. 1st up on Old Trafford were Mat and Steve with Fabrizio and Daniele fighting it out next door at Carrington. Two very evenly fought battles ending in draws, these were the standout matches of the night. Mat got away to an early lead against Steve, only for a great 2nd half from Steve to come back, equalise and push on for a late winner. Some great saves from Mat late in the piece saw an even 1-1 eventuate. Over at Carrington, Fab and Daniele fought out a 0-0 result, however both players found themselves with many great chances. The defending/goalkeeping was something to be admired by both players and how this game finished at 0-0 is still being thought about.
 
Up next Steve took on Todd with a new bout of confidence after his 2nd half comeback against Mat. It didn’t take long, with some great touches (I am not looking forward to playing him with traditional Subbuteo pieces at the September Cup in a couple of weeks’ time!), Steve was on the board after a couple, and continued right through to walk away with a 6-0 win. Todd was impressive towards the back end of the 2nd half, and shows some smart awareness defensively. As a fellow new comer I also know what it’s like and Todd will be competing against all in no time. Meanwhile at Carrington, Gordy took on Daniele. Daniele took out the match 4-0 with a classy display.
 
The next round of matches saw Mat take on Todd. Todd had a great first half, and had a couple of good chances early and only went into the half 1-0 down. Mat scored after 4 touches in the 2nd half though and carried the momentum to a 5-0 result. A similar result at Carrington saw Fab beat Gordy 5-0.
 
The final match was one to be seen. Adam vs Daniele. Adam got the jump early and went 1-0 up and carried the lead into the break. Daniele had led Adam into a false sense of security, though, and Adam started to play a tad defensively to protect a lead. Daniele was patient and got two on the counter in quick succession. Adam quickly found himself in a “Woo-Sah” moment. Although Adam put up a great fight and had a couple of more chances to equalise, especially with one long shot on the angle going just past the posts, Daniele scored another 2 late to take out a 4-1 win which did not do Adam’s performance justice.
 
I would personally like to thank all who came to Old Trafford, your behaviour was outstanding and I am happy to welcome anyone who chooses to return to the new stadium when completed (I am moving house this week).
 
Onward and upward! GGMU!

(report by Mathew Barrie)

Mat 1 – Steve Di 1
Steve Di 5 – Todd 0
Todd 0 – Mat 5

Fabrizio 0 – Daniele 0
Daniele 4 – Gordy 0
Gordy 0 – Fabrizio 5
Adam 1 – Daniele 4

Æowyn works the ball in midfield. On the back table, the twins battle it out with Dave looking on.

Æowyn works the ball in midfield. On the back table, the twins battle it out with Dave looking on.

The Clubhouse

Four of Australia’s most experienced players were all on hand, along with 3 of the most inexperienced, to battle out another good natured but intense evening’s worth of games. The first round saw Big Steve take on Dom (there were whispers amongst the Elmer girls after Dom’s appearance last week – “Is he Big Steve’s twin? They look the same and even their mannerisms are the same!”) while Paul battled Æowyn on the other pitch. Big Steve was playing with an impressively painted new set of 1954 Mighty Magyars (courtesy of Giuseppe up in Brisbane) but soon found himself behind. No doubt this was caused by the fact that neither player could tell whose red bases were whose (something mentioned by more than one onlooker, though the two seemed happy to go with it!). Steve, however, soon found his touch and went on a scoring spree. By midway through the second half he was 4-1 up before a shell-shocked Dom pulled back a late consolation. Meanwhile, Paul, seeking to get his retro Super-Footy bases to curl as much as possible, took the lead midway through the first half in his clash with Æowyn. Some good saves from Æowyn encouraged her in her performance, as did Paul’s sportsmanship against his much less experienced opponent.

Spot the ball. Dave holds off one of Dom's attacks.

Spot the ball. Dave holds off one of Dom’s attacks.

Having rekindled his Subbuteo career last week, Dave then faced Dom and made a great showing. While going down 1-0, he managed to hit the woodwork 3 times, though Dom made plenty of attacks of his own and held on to take the three points. Imojjen subbed in for Æowyn to face Eliot. Again, the more experienced player coached the lesser along the way, though some of the goals Eliot put away would have one believing this was all just a bluff! On one occasion in particular, Eliot’s attacker was just inside the shooting area on the right wing, with Imojjen skilfully placing a defender just centimetres from the ball. Eliot faked to play for the corner but actually chipped the defender, leaving it untouched, yet managing to land the ball in the far top corner. His protestations of “I couldn’t do that again if I tried!” fell on deaf ears as the rest of the room realised his gallantry was merely a pose.

The minors left the room for the final round of games, meaning Big Steve didn’t have to check himself from swearing anymore, which he just about managed in the evening’s earlier stages. He proceeded to give Dave a Subbuteo lesson, both metaphorically and literally. Steve was unstoppable once he got on a roll, but also gave many pointers to the quickly learning Dave. Meanwhile, Eliot and Paul faced off. In the 2014 edition, this fixture saw Eliot produce one of his most accomplished displays, where he put 6 unanswered goals past Paul. And, by half time, he was on track to repeat the performance, carving out a 3 goal lead. However, late in the half, Paul gave a glimpse of what was to come with his patented Magee Flood off a goal kick, the ensuing shot going millimetres wide. In the second half, with nothing to lose, Paul threw a little caution to the wind and pushed extra players forward. This was soon rewarded with Eliot making a bad defensive error under pressure, Paul capitalising and pulling a goal back. The second half played out far more evenly, an excellent midfield battle. Eliot was not able to settle comfortably until a late 4th goal on a quick counter put the result beyond doubt.

The (in)famous 'Magee Flood'.

The (in)famous ‘Magee Flood’.

(report by Adrian Elmer)

Steve De 4 – Dom 2
Dom 1 – Dave 0
Dave 0 – Steve 5

Paul 1 – Æowyn 0
Imojjen 0 – Eliot 5
Eliot 4 – Paul 1

full results and current table can be found by clicking here