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UPDATE: 2023 Australian Grand Prix of Table Football

With registrations now closed, we can confirm that 26 players will be competing in the 2023 Australian Grand Prix of Table Football.

Individual Open

This will commence at 09:30 SHARP.  Be at the venue for opening at 9am.  Panenka Café is open for breakfast from 6am.  Players registered are as follows:

  1. Vikas Chandiramani
  2. Beth Eveleigh
  3. Anthony Madiona
  4. Geoff Sirmai
  5. Giuseppe Tardiota
  6. Richard Wilson
  7. Adrian Connolly
  8. Paul Mercer
  9. Steve Dettre
  10. Fabrizio Coco
  11. Carl Young
  12. Eliot Kennedy
  13. Robert Green
  14. Christos Garagounis
  15. Bryan Arnold
  16. Arjuna Hanafi
  17. Richard Edeson
  18. Peter Thomas
  19. Kostas Barbaris
  20. Nick Brill
  21. Luke Radziminski
  22. Kevin Grant
  23. Nathan Urbaniak
  24. Tony Credentino
  25. Daniel Lombard
  26. Jonty Brener

In line with FISTF recommendations, the format will be 6 groups of 3, and 2 groups of 4 players.

One player will be seeded into each group, as per the most current FISTF rankings.  The remainder will be a random draw conducted on Friday 3rd February at the Panenka Café exclusive event that commences at 6pm.

Top two from each group progress to the Round of 16.

There will be a lunch break.  Participants cannot leave the venue during this time to ensure we re-commence on schedule to meet the strict closing time of the commercial facility.

The final is expected to commence soon after 4pm.  We must vacate the venue before 6pm (preferably 5:30pm).

A Consolation Trophy WASPA event will be held for those eliminated in the group stage.  This will be 10 players.  4 will play in a barrage to progress to the ¼ finals of this event.

Open Club Teams

There will be one group of 4 teams completing a round-robin event.  In line with FISTF recommendations, standings from the group determine the winner and placings.  The plan is for the event to conclude by 4pm.

Again, there will be a lunch break in Sunday’s program.

Traveller’s Cup

For those players without Club Teams entered in Sunday’s FISTF event there will be a WASPA – the inaugural ATFA Traveller’s Cup.  The plan is to have the final games complete before 3pm to allow some participants to travel to the airport for early flights home.  There are 9 players participating in this event:

  • Vikas Chandiramani
  • Anthony Madiona
  • Geoff Sirmai
  • Richard Wilson
  • Adrian Connolly
  • Arjuna Hanafi
  • Richard Ederson
  • Nick Brill
  • Kevin Grant

The format will be announced at the Dinner & Draw Friday 3rd February.

Presentations and Conclusion of proceedings

All presentations will occur at the conclusion of the tournament, expected to be at approximately 4pm Sunday 5th Feb.

We must vacate the venue by 5pm on Sunday.  Your assistance with packing up will be greatly appreciated to ensure we leave a good impression with the operators of this amazing venue so that we may have the opportunity to be there again or Ultra Football’s Sydney store.

Adrian Connolly

ATFA President.

2023 Australian Grand Prix of Subbuteo Table Football

Key takeaways:

  • Friday night dinner is included for registered players – drinks are not included but available for purchase (water provided).
  • Please arrive on time on Saturday and Sunday! We have strict finish times as the tournament is being held at a commercial venue that must be staffed.
  • Do not leave the venue during the tournament. Food and beverages are available for purchase on site throughout the weekend.
  • It is going to be AMAZING!!!
  • If you want to know more… please read on!

Thank you to those who have registered for what we hope will be the biggest and most exciting event in Australian Table Football this year!  For those that have not been to the venue (or its sister store in Sydney) it is simply amazing!  Ultra Football Melbourne hosted the launch of this seasons’ A Leagues men’s and women’s competitions.  They are very active on social media (worth a follow!).  Be warned, you could do some damage to your credit card with all the great merchandise available including some more obscure kits and speciality merchandise.

Ultra Football may have their film crew there at times over the weekend.  Our resident (award winning!) photographer Luke Radziminski will be behind the camera lens when not competing.  Streaming coordinated by Steve and Louis Dettre is also planned for the event, with the intention to set up a feature table for filming.  Please alert the organisers prior to the event if you do not wish to be filmed or photographed.

We hope to have some special guests drop in to see the Subbuteo Table Football action over the weekend that you may recognise from the A League or former playing days in the NSL.  Melbourne Victory are scheduled to have some of their teams in store on Saturday as part of a regular club day to measure for clothing.  Feel free to interact with them or the general public interest in what is occurring and to explain what we are doing!  Posters will be available that include a QR code to connect with us on facebook should they be interested.

Out the front of the venue is the football themed Panenka Café.  This café will host the Friday Dinner draw.  It is open for breakfast and lunch from 6am to 4pm each day.  The food and coffee are fantastic.  They will be opening exclusively for our function on the Friday evening.

If you do need to withdraw from any aspect of the event plus advise at your earliest convenience to minimise impacts on the organisation of the schedule and costs for the event.

FRIDAY 3rd February

We will be setting up all the boards in the Ultra Football venue in the afternoon, thanks to the Legend that is Kevin Grant for transporting ALL the boards!  We would love you to make it to help set up if you are available to do so.  Once we have set up, players will be able to use the board… but only after we have finished setting up please!

Ultra Football will close at 5pm.  We will then be able to move into the Panenka Café once they have set up.  There is a deck out front we can use if there is a short delay.

The Dinner Draw event will officially open at 6pm.  If we do get access prior to that time please do not expect to be served until 6pm.  This may occur but staffing will be minimal as it is open especially and exclusively for our small event which officially commences at 6pm.

Dinner is a set menu, canape style event.  All food is Halal friendly and will cater for all the dietary needs listed on registration forms.  Dinner is included for all registered players, plus for those who have included their partner in their registration fee as an optional addition.

Drinks are NOT included in the price.  Drinks must be purchased at your own expense during the event.  There are a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks available.  Water will be provided.

Menu for the dinner:

Package of 3 small bites and 2 large bites (we are advised this is a LOT of food!)

  • Potato croquettes
  • Buffalo chicken tenders
  • Corn and tomato empanadas
  • Southern fried chicken sliders
  • Smoked mushroom tacos

If you have any concerns about items meeting your dietary needs, please contact the organisers before the event or ask the staff on the evening for information on the ingredients.

Beverages available for purchase at your own expense include:

  • Beer (Furphy’s or Great Northern)
  • Wines (Sav Blanc and Prosecco)
  • Assorted Soft Drinks
  • Coffee and Tea.
  • A water station will be set up.
  • Other beverages may be available on request.

Smoking is allowed outside the venue on the deck on Friday evening (and during the weekend).

Schedule:

1pm (*TBC)        Commence set up at Ultra Football

5pm                       Ultra Football closing to public.  Panenka Café’ open for us to set up

6pm                       Panenka café venue officially opens to our event

6:30pm                 Food service commences

6:45pm                 Welcome address and overview of the weekend’s festivities

Draw for the Individual Open Event

7:30pm                 Second food service

7:45pm – 8pm    Conclusion of Draw – Consolation Trophy, Teams Event, Traveller’s Cup

SATURDAY 4th FEBRUARY

The individual open event will be held throughout Saturday.  PLEASE ARRIVE AT 9AM FOR A 9:30AM SHARP START.  If you are NOT READY AT 9:30AM you may need to forfeit your first match.  We have a strict schedule to be out of this commercially operating soccer super store by a set time due to their staffing.  It is a tight schedule.  The number of players means will be playing or refereeing throughout at least the group stage, and at least one game beyond your elimination from the FISTF event.

For those eliminated in the group stages, there will be a Consolation Trophy.  The format of which will be announced Friday evening and the draw will be conducted to enable the schedule to flow smoothly on the Saturday.  As players are eliminated from the FISTF event they will need to referee the following round games.

Please do not leave the venue with the exception of smoking out the front during the defined lunch break to ensure we stick to the tight schedule.

Lunch will be available at the Panenka Café.  We will provide details Friday night on the food and ordering over the weekend.  We have two large tables reserved for us lunch in the café on the weekend.   Check them out online https://panenkafoodstore.com.au/

No dinner is planned for this evening, and the café will only be open until 4pm.  For those wishing to eat together we may arrange something on the day.  There are a number of good quality options on Victoria St Collingwood which is famous in Melbourne for food, particularly a range of quality affordable Asian restaurants as well as groovy options.  There are also a number of breweries and quality pubs now operating in the area for those liking quality beer with their food!

SUNDAY 5th FEBRUARY

We will need to commence at 9:30am SHARP on Sunday morning too.  As per Sunday there will be a lunch break and tables reserved for us.  There will be two events:

FISTF Open Club Team

Four teams have entered.  One team will be scheduled to referee whilst two others play, and one will have a break for each round of games.  Please stick strictly to the schedule and do not leave the venue if you are not playing as the schedule is tight due to the time required to complete the club teams event.

Traveller’s Cup

Those players without club teams will be able to compete in a WASPA event.  This will also commence at 9:30am.  Details of the event will be announced Friday evening, with the event expected to be completed before 3pm to allow some players to leave the venue for flights home.

The venue is scheduled to close to the public at 5pm.  We intend to have final presentation as soon as Sunday events are complete, which may be 4pm due to the schedule expected for the teams event.  We would appreciate all those available to assist with packing up the venue in the lead up to the conclusion of the event to enable us to leave the venue on time.

TOILETS

Limited toilets are available in the Panenka Café, but are also available to us in the main arena within Ultra Football.

 

Getting to the venue

Public Transport

The nearest train station is Collingwood Station (on the Mernda line), just a few stations from the CBD and a short 5min walk from the venue.

Trams also run through Collingwood via Victoria St. on Tram route 12.  Note that whilst trams are free to all users in the CBD, Collingwood is outside the free tram zone.

Uber/Taxi

The venue is a short drive from the CBD.  It may cost $15 from the centre of the city near Flinders St Station and take <15mins, less time and money if you are staying closer to the venue.  Uber/Didi/Ola is likely the quickest, easiest and possibly cheapest option if you are staying in or near the CBD.  Didi is typically cheaper than Uber.  Ola is available but not often used by most locals.  Taxi can be used by calling 13CABS or via their App.

Driving

As noted above, the venue is conveniently located close to the city.  Free street parking is available nearby, but note the parking restrictions closest to the venue will prevent you from parking directly out front all day without risking a hefty fine.  A short distance down Victoria Crescent, or Nicholson St you can find parking that is still a short walk and free for the period you will need during the event.  Parks down Victoria Crescent past Konqa (the kit manufacturer of many Australian Subbuteo club kits) are free for 4 hours Monday to Friday until 5pm and free for unlimited timing after that on a Friday and throughout the weekend.  Check the signs before leaving your vehicle.  Parking fines are large in Melbourne and parking attendants are frequently seen in the area!

2024 FISTF World Cup Qualifying process

As promised at the 2022 ATFA AGM, the ATFA Committee is pleased to announce the 2024 FISTF World Cup qualification process for selection of Australian representatives.
The first placement in the Open, junior and women’s categories will be the top FISTF ranked player in each category.  For veterans, the top ranked open category player eligible for veterans will be selected.

The second place in each category will be determined at a National Championship, with the national champions of  each category selected.

We hope this enables players keen to participate in the 2024 FISTF World Cup to have early clarity on how to target selection.

 

November WASPA Rankings

Screen Shot 2022-11-11 at 9.44.45 pmThe World Amateur Subbuteo Players’ Association has just released its rankings for November, 2022. Points are earned by players based on their results in all WASPA tournaments. There are currently 79 Australian players with a WASPA ranking, a clear sign that things are well and truly back on the upwards trajectory after 2 lean years of COVID interruptions.

To see the full Australian rankings, CLICK HERE.

2022 ATFA AGM and Committee Announcement

Dear ATFA Members

As previously announced, the nominations for the 2023 ATFA Committee closed on Saturday 29th October at 11:59pm.   The following nominations were received:

Adrian Connolly (President)

Peter Thomas (Vice President)

Eliot Kennedy (Treasurer)

Steve Wright (Secretary)

Adrian Elmer (Ordinary Committee Member)

Giuseppe Tardiota (Ordinary Committee Member)

Luke Radziminski (Ordinary Committee Member)

No election will be required as there are no contested positions.   There will be no vacant positions.  In accordance with the ATFA Constitution, the new committee will take effect during the ATFA AGM.  Congratulations to our new and returning committee members.

As previously advised, this will take place at 2pm (AEDT), Sunday November 13, 2022.  The AGM will be held via Microsoft Teams.  You will not need that software to join.  Please respond via email to subbuteoaustralia@gmail.com prior to 1pm AEDT Friday November 11th if you wish to attend.  Details for how to join via your device will be sent to your email.  You can join with video from your device or simply call into the meeting with voice only.

As per the ATFA Constitution, in addition to any other business which may be transacted at an annual general meeting, the business of an annual general meeting is to include the following:

(a) to confirm the minutes of the last preceding annual general meeting and of any special general meeting held since that meeting,

(b) to receive from the committee reports on the activities of the association during the last preceding financial year,

(c) to elect office-bearers of the association and ordinary committee members,

(d) to receive and consider any financial statement or report required to be submitted to members under the Act.

If you have any items you would like to table at the meeting, please also do so via email to subbuteoaustralia@gmail.com by 1pm AEDT Friday November 11th .  Items can also be raised during the meeting.

The AGM will see Peter Thomas join the committee into what was previously the vacant role of Vice President.  It is great to have Peter actively involved on the Committee again.  It will also see Hugh Best of The Table Football Club of Western Australia depart as an ordinary committee member.  I would like to thank Hugh Best for his years of service on the ATFA Committee.

Regards

Adrian Connolly

ATFA President

2023 ATFA Committee Nominations

At 2pm (AEDT), Sunday November 13, 2022, ATFA will be holding its annual general meeting. All ATFA members are invited to participate – a video conference will be set up for those around the country (and, indeed, the world!) to be able to tune in. The main item on the agenda for the meeting will be the election of the ATFA Committee for the 2023 season.

To that end, nominations are now open for the Committee. As per our constitution, ATFA Members are able to nominate any other ATFA Member (i.e. you can’t nominate yourself) for a position on the Committee, as long as it is SECONDED by another member AND agreed to by the nominee. Members are free to make as many nominations as they like. Having a voice on the Committee is a great way for the different clubs and regions around the country to be heard in decisions that ATFA needs to make from time to time.

If you are an ATFA member and would like to nominate someone, fill in the details in the google form at the bottom of the page. Please note, ALL info requested must be supplied in order for the nomination to be valid.

Note that as per earlier announcements, membership for the 2022 season were free due to the impacts of COVID-19 during 2020 and 2021. All Members of the 2021 season were automatically rolled over as Members for the 2022 season.

The Committee consists of 7 people. Generally, 4 of those are Office Bearers and the other 3 are Committee Advisors (though currently, we have 3 Office Bearers and 4 Committee Advisors). The roles for each are outlined below.

Nominations close: 11:59pm (AEDT), Saturday October 29, 2022
Voting (if required) : 12:01am (AEDT) Monday October 31 – 11:59pm (AEDT) Sunday, November 7, 2022

DESCRIPTIONS

Office Bearers

President : oversees the Committee. In conjunction with the Committee, the President sets dates for, and convenes Committee meetings as required, including the compulsory Annual General Meeting following the close of each financial year; presides as chairperson over all Committee meetings.
current member – Adrian Connolly (Western Flickers TFC)

Vice President : assists the Committee President in all the President’s duties.
current member – Vacant

Treasurer : oversees ATFA’s monetary concerns: the running of ATFA’s bank account; supplying annual profit/loss overviews to the Committee and ATFA Membership; keeping records of all expenses and income.
current member – Eliot Kennedy (Northern Falcons TFC)

Secretary General : is responsible for: supplying all documentation required by FISTF in regards to ATFA club and player memberships; FISTF tournament registrations and results or any other necessary documents; keep minutes of all committee or general meetings.
current member – Steve Wright (Western Flickers TFC)

Ordinary Committee Members

Committee Advisor (Communications Officer) : is responsible for communications to the Australian Subbuteo community, including: the upkeep and co-ordination of the ATFA website; the ATFA calendar; the ATFA mailing list.
current member – Adrian Elmer (Western Sydney Subbuteo)

Committee Advisor (General) : offers advice and assistance to the rest of the Committee in relation to all decisions made at the Committee level.
current members – Hugh Best (STFC Western Australia), Luke Radziminski (Melbourne TFC), Giuseppe Tardiota (Brisbane TFC)

All Committee Members will be equally responsible for the discussion and decision making processes for any issue required of the Committee. It is expected that all Committee Members will be proactive in promoting Subbuteo Table Football in their local context and will undertake all their table footballing duties, including Committee membership, with the best interests of the game in Australia at heart.

2023 Australian Grand Prix Registration

agp2023 poster digitalThe 2023 Australian Grand Prix will be held in Melbourne at Ultra Football, 200 Gipps St, Abbotsford, VIC 3067.

The program begins with the Dinner Draw on Friday 3rd February at Panenka Cafe (at the same venue). The competition will be held 4th to 5th February. Times and match schedule will be announced closer to the event, but individual events are planned for Saturday, and Club Teams on Sunday. There may also be other events on Sunday including completion of individual events depending on number of registrations and categories with sufficient entrants for tournaments to be held.

Dinner on Friday 3rd February is included in the registration fees. Food will be Halal friendly. Please indicate on this form if other dietary requirements or allergies need to be considered as it will be a canape style set menu event. Drinks are NOT included but can be purchased at the event.

Meals for the rest of the weekend are NOT included in the registration fees. The Panenka Cafe will be open for participants to purchase food and beverages on site.

Ultra Football Melbourne - our pitches will be set up on the pitch at the back

Ultra Football Melbourne – our pitches will be set up on the pitch at the back

EARLY BIRD Cost is $70 per person if registration AND payment is made prior to 1st December 2022. Players traveling from overseas may be entitled to the early bird rate if registering by this date and email subbuteoaustralia@gmail.com to confirm arrangements for later payment (e.g. upon arrival in Australia to avoid international transaction costs).
Payments made on or after 1st December 2022 will increase to a registration fee of $80.

Payments are to be made via EFT to the following account:
Account Name: A Bolton and A Connolly
BSB: 193-879
Account No.: 433 120 374
Please put your name in the reference description to identify your payment.

Registrations close 23:59, Friday 20th January 2023. Full payment is required for registration to be considered complete (unless prior arrangements are made in the case of players traveling from overseas).

All participants must have an active registration with FISTF by their Member Nation, for Australian players this means current membership with ATFA.

Additional tickets to the Dinner Draw event are available at a cost of $55 per person. This will include food but no beverages.

Format of the tournament will be in compliance with FISTF requirements for the final number of registered players, and on ExtremeWorks pitches.

Whilst all endeavours will be made to avoid changes, if they do occur due to COVID-19 restrictions outside of our control (as unlikely as that may seem at present) the organising committee it will not be liable for costs individuals incur.

Australia at the 2022 World Cup

By Eliot Kennedy and Steve Dettre

Eliot:

Fabrizio Coco, Eliot Kennedy, Oli Ollnow, Hermann Kruse

Fabrizio Coco, Eliot Kennedy, Oli Ollnow, Hermann Kruse

It’s hard to know where to start in reporting on what was an amazing and, in some ways, overwhelming experience! Overall, it was a really great few days, with some impressive individual and team results, some disappointments and a few lessons learned. The Aussie team spirit was tremendous, and it was particularly lovely to see Hermann and Oli again, and to have great support from Fabrizio’s dad Vince throughout and, on the Sunday, Eliot’s wife Jutta.

The organisation by the Italian federation (FISCT) was in some ways brilliant, but in other ways could have been even better. The “room” was amazing (never seen 48 boards set up before with heaps of room around each board!), while the tables, boards and pitches (Astrobase) were very good. The pitches did slow down a little as the venue got warmer each day, but were consistent and of course the same for every player. A late morning start meant a very late finish on the Saturday…the Aussies bailed at around 7.00pm while the top flickers were still going. Just too tired. Getting to and from the venue was not easy either, but we managed in the end. All in all, though, well done FISCT!

WARM UP – Friday
We headed to the venue at around midday on Friday. As well as some flicking amongst ourselves, we managed to arrange international team friendlies with Gibraltar and the Republic of Ireland (ROI) on the Friday afternoon, which was both great in and of itself (our first internationals since the friendlies against Singapore in February 2020, and first against these two countries) and very good preparation for what was to come. Both matches were close, and were played without referees and in a really good spirit. After a narrow loss to Gibraltar, we managed a narrow win over the ROI – our first against European opposition since the 1994 World Cup versus Norway.

The full scores were as follows:

Australia v Republic of Ireland

Australia v Republic of Ireland

AUSTRALIA (1) vs GIBRALTAR (2)
Eliot Kennedy 1 Joe Bonavia 1
Fabrizio Coco 1 Lawrence Alvarez 0
Hermann Kruse 1 Daniel Baldichino/Richard Berllaque 2
Oliver Ollnow 1 Joseph Sanchez 2

AUSTRALIA (2) vs REPUBLIC OF IRELAND (1)
Fabrizio Coco 3 Brandon Rodgers 0
Oliver Ollnow 3 Oisin Mac Eo 0
Eliot Kennedy 1 Gary Moore 1
Hermann Kruse 0 Andy Fitzpatrick 1

INDIVIDUAL EVENTS – Saturday
I can say that even at 60, and with many events behind me, I was still very nervous! But the Friday flicks had helped and once I got into it the nerves mainly faded. Unfortunately, we all tended to play our matches at the same time or had to referee when others were playing, so we did not get to watch each other much.

Leroy Justin v Fabrizio Coco

Leroy Justin v Fabrizio Coco

The results:
Open
Fabrizio
v Leroy Justin (BEL) 1-6
v Alberto Di Maggio (GRE) 0-6
v Bennet Kaspar (ENG) 2-4

Veterans
Eliot
v Stefan Sandner (AUT) 1-3
v Lazaros Papakonstantinou (GRE)0-3
v John Marshall (SCO) 5-0

Hermann
v Frank Stiller (GE) 1-7
v Cesare Santanicchia (ITA) 1-7
v Luis Abreau (POR) 0-6

U20
Oli
v Cristian Antùnez (ESP) 2-2
v Christos Hitas (GRE) 0-4
v Francesco Vezzuto (ITA) 0-1

Steve:
Some fun facts:
• For the second time at a world cup, Eliot won a match (1994: Miroslav Sulc (CZE) 2-1) and 2022 (John Marshall (SCO) 5-0), and in the process was the first Australian player to score more than 2 goals in a game in the FISTF era.
• He joins an elite group with Peter Thomas (2014, Rochefort) and Raffaele Lombard (2016 Framerie) [and himself in 1994] to win a match and thus not finish bottom of his group.
• Eliot’s win was our first since 2016.
• This was the first world cup since 2016 where all players scored at least one goal in their group.
• Oli was our first representative in an ‘Under 20’ to get a point since Will Johncock in 1994.
• His 2-2 draw matched that of Will, who drew 2-2 with Pavel Novak (CZE).
• The coach of the Italian youth team said after Oli’s narrow 1-0 loss to Vezzuto: “If he spends a month at my club, he becomes a top player in England!”

Eliot:
Some quick observations:
• Fab was drawn in one of the toughest groups, against three world class players. He did really well to score in two of his matches, and to push Kaspar Bennett to a 4-2 result (Kaspar drew 2-2 against Italian opposition in the team event on Sunday and is a top, top player on his day).
• My first match was critical. Stefan deserved to win but at 1-2 down, I managed to hit the post 3 times in the one shot…30 seconds later Stefan scored! But even with a draw, I would have gone out on goal difference. Happy to get a big win though, even though I should’ve scored more!
• Hermann, by his own admission, struggled to play his best, and to strike a balance between trying to be relaxed and trying to play hard. I think his (and Oli’s) lack of regular competition in Berlin makes it tougher for them. He had tough opponents though and did well to score in two of his matches.
• Oli acquitted himself really well in a tough group. Getting a point was well deserved.
• The standard of the top players was, as expected, unbelievably high. In particular, the speed with which players both attack and defend is amazing.
• Play goes so fast it is hard to tell, but I still think that there were lots of times when a defender had two flicks when they only should have had one (because the attacker had taken two flicks in very quick succession). I don’t recall it being pulled up even once.

TEAM EVENT – Sunday
Being drawn with Belgium (who made the final), England (very strong) and Northern Ireland, we had realistic expectations about qualifying, but did target the NI match as the one we wanted to win. We had Steve down as a sub for each match, but his FISTF Presidential and media duties unfortunately meant he was unable to flick in anger.

We played England first up. They were too strong for us, as expected. I had the pleasure (and misfortune!) to play Chris Thomas, Peter’s brother. What a great and fair player he is! My only regret was not scoring a consolation goal near the end, but truth be known my keeping kept the score down (as did Chris’s very nice decision not to go for goal when I missed a forcing flick with my spare keeper). And well done Fab and Oli at least scoring in their matches.

Full results were as follows:

Australia 0 England 4
Oliver Ollnow 1 Elliott Bellefontaine 5
Fabrizio Coco 1 Kaspar Bennet 5
Kruse Hermann 0 Darren Clark 5
Kennedy Eliot 0 Chris Thomas 4

Australia v Northern Ireland

Australia v Northern Ireland

Next up we had Northern Ireland, who had gone down 0-4 to Belgium. This was the one we wanted to win, and we came very close to doing so. We were up 2-0 at half time (with Fab and me leading), but NI did well to fight back and make it 2-2. We were well in front on goals overall, but unfortunately it still counted as a draw in a group match. In retrospect, we should have done more research on our opponents, as I think with a different match-up of players we would have won. But fair play Northern Ireland.

Full results were as follows:

Australia 2 Northern Ireland 2
Eliot Kennedy 4 Watson Lawrence 0
Fabrizio Coco 8 Adams Eoin 0
Hermann Kruse 1 Bradley Martinog 3
Oliver Ollnow 0 Stewart Simon 1

Next up were Belgium. Uh-oh!! They were pretty relaxed and I think took it easy on us, but were still way too good. The scores:

Belgium 4 Australia 0
Christophe Dheur 3 Oliver Ollnow 0
Bessim Golger 4 Hermann Kruse 0
Rémy Huynh 5 Eliot Kennedy 0
Florian Giaux 7 Fabrizio Coco 0

Northern Ireland managed to lose only 1-3 to England in the final round, with Simon Stewart having a fine 2-0 win over Bob Varney, meaning that they pipped us for third in the group. That was disappointing, but it was still a great day and we were very proud to fly the Aussie flag!

I stayed for the knockout rounds and witnessed some amazing and very close matches. The passion levels were high – sometimes too high for this Aussie – but most of the matches were played without too much controversy.
In sum, it was a brilliant few days and I hope to experience it again in 2024, rather than waiting 28 years for my next World Cup.

Steve:
Final observation:
• I was impressed by the spirit of the team, despite losses. All the guys responded admirably, shaking hands, and congratulating opponents. There was no petulance from any of our lads (that I saw!)

Player Profile – Eliot Kennedy

27 eliot kennedyEliot Kennedy is one of the longest serving Australian players and has been a key figure in every era of the game’s competitive popularity in the country. He will be representing Australia in the upcoming World Cup in Rome, in the Veterans category and also as part of the Open Team event. ATFA sat down with him to ask him a bit about his history in the game.

ATFA: We’ll start it off simple by asking, how did you get into Subbuteo?

Eliot: I can thank/blame my older brother Martin! One of Martin’s best friends at school was the famous Gary Hosie. Gary and his equally famous brother, Donald, originally from Middlesbrough in England, were mad football and Subbuteo fans, and organised a multi-division Subbuteo league at our school (North Sydney Boys’ High) from about 1973 to 1979. My brother joined as Ipswich Town, and a year or so later (in 1974 or 75), I joined the second division as Burnley, thereby becoming the second of the “Emotional Kennedy Boys”! I would have been 12 or 13 years old.

ATFA: The Emotional Kennedy Boys? Sounds like a band!

Eliot: Martin and I were given that moniker after one too many emotional outbursts, normally after an “unfair” call or, even more commonly, losing!! But in our defence: 1. I don’t think we were any worse than many others, but there two of us, and 2. We were teenage boys!! Need I say more?!

ATFA: So, where did you sit in the pecking order of playing ability back in those teenage years?

Eliot (left) and Martin Kennedy (right), North Sydney Boys High Doubles Tournament, 1977

Eliot (left) and Martin Kennedy (right), North Sydney Boys High Doubles Tournament, 1977.

Eliot: Well down the order! Actually, if memory serves (Steve Dettre may have the records now), in my first year in the Second Division I came second and won promotion to the First Division, so that was pretty good. There were I think 10 players in each division in that year. In my second year, I think I may have come about 7th or 8th in Div 1. The Hosie boys (Don, then Gary at that stage) were untouchable at the top, then there were another 4 or 5 players (all 2 or 3 years older than me) who were a bit better than me at that time – Tom Mansikka, Rod Harrison, Adam Aitken, Geoff Corner. I was roughly equal with my brother, and there were a couple of guys I could beat!

ATFA: The game, in organised form, died out a bit after that, but you were also around during the late 80s Subbuteo revival in Australia which rolled into the 90s. Had you missed playing? Obviously, you were older, but how did that era feel different from the 70s era?

Eliot at the 1988 Sydney Open

Eliot at the 1988 Sydney Open

Eliot: Yes, we stopped around 1978, I think, and restarted in 1986. The first of a number of long breaks over the years, unfortunately. I had missed playing, though in the intervening years had been busy with uni, my first job, playing football, girls etc – not necessarily in that order of importance!! It was great to start playing regularly again, mainly to see old and good friends again on a regular basis. I think the main differences were in our levels of maturity – much higher, albeit from a low base! The visit of Willi Hoffman in 1988 had a revolutionary impact on the game here – primarily discovering the use of polish, but also seeing the style and speed of play and realising how well the game could be played, at least if you were a freak!! From the early 1990s, the biggest changes were probably in the figures (Toccer, Sports Figures) and getting international experience both here and overseas.

ATFA: You’ve always seemed to be around whenever the game gets going again. You played in the one-off tournament in 2010 and then have been ever present in the current era, starting in 2013 and continuing strong now. It seems your passion for the game has kept you around when so many others have fallen away. What is it that keeps you involved?

Eliot: It’s true, I’ve managed to hang around like a bad smell for many years! I think two main things have enabled or encouraged me to stay involved – the people, and the game itself. It’s been really great to meet up again regularly with people I’ve known for over 40 years, like Steve Dettre, Gary Hosie, Robert Green, Jonny Ball, Simon Cole, Paul Magee, Geoff Sirmai and others I don’t mean to offend by not naming them – and also to make great new friends around Sydney, most of Australia and a number of countries overseas (especially in Finland, my wife’s country of origin, but also in Singapore, the UK, US and elsewhere). Just fantastic. I also still really love playing the game – both in a relaxed atmosphere and competitively – and I still foolishly think I can get better, which help keeps me going!! The fact that my legs gave out on me about 10 years ago and stopped me playing football probably also meant I had some passion to spare. 😊

ATFA: The game has changed so much across those decades – apart from the ocassional curl flick, do you still use any of the skills or tactics you learned as a teenager?

Eliot: Good question! I do love a good curl flick, but I don’t really think so, given how much the game has changed. Maybe the only constant is I’ve always loved to attack if I can – if I’m going to lose, I’d prefer to lose 3-4 than 0-1!

ATFA: You’ve played in National Championships, Asian Cups, World Cups, regular club nights. Any games that really stand out for you in some way across all those?

Eliot at the 1994 World Cup.

Eliot at the 1994 World Cup.

Eliot: A few matches do stand out for me. Finally managing a 0-0 draw with the amazing Gary Hosie in December 1990 – the only time I managed not to lose to him in the modern era! All my matches at the 1994 World Cup stand out, but the absolute highlight was Australia’s win over Norway in the team event, our first ever win, and my own part in it, coming from behind 0-1 at half time to win 3-1. That was just fantastic as I love the team events. Lots of matches from the “modern” era (for me, that’s since 2006!) have been memorable both here and overseas, but my 3-1 win over Bernard Lim in the Australia v Singapore international friendly in 2017 in Singapore stands out as one of the best matches I have ever played. Unfortunately we lost overall on goal difference but I was proud of my performance against a great player in front of a big local crowd. Sorry, Bernard!

ATFA: What would be your advice to players starting out or looking to get better?

Eliot: Well, it certainly pays to play regularly and, if you have a board at home, to practice basic skills as much as possible. I would also advise people to think about how they play and to try to learn lessons from every match – what can be done better or differently next time. Don’t be afraid to ask for tips/advice from more experienced players and, if you’re part of a club, try to encourage them to have training nights. And don’t worry about losing to more experienced players – hopefully they won’t be too brutal and will share their experience with you. But playing and practicing as much as possible would be my main tips.

A few other random thoughts:
1. You can always improve (or at least tell yourself that!).
2. Always try to play in the right spirit, even when it is hard to do. We’re not playing for sheep stations and everyone will enjoy it more. We are all only human and I admit to letting the odd expletive go myself, but try to be your best.
3. And, most importantly, treasure the friendships and the memories that you make through our great game!