Following the completion of the Spring League, being run in three of Sydney’s club – Northern Falcons TFC, Subbuteo Parramatta and Sydney TFC – the final three weeks of November were set aside for each club to take a turn hosting a WASPA tournament. The last of these was held by Subbuteo Parramatta at their Bella Vista Good Games headquarters. Nine players joined in, most of who had not been able to play in any of the other two tournaments in the previous weeks.
Eliot Kennedy, Steve Dettre and Adrian Elmer were seeded into the three groups, with the other six players randomly placed. Steve Diasinos and Gordy Dudley assured organisers they would be arriving, just a little late, but double checks were made to ensure they were heading to the correct venue – you can never be too careful with these two. After a year without playing, Jordan Kolaczyk was also making a return, sporting his newly hand-painted i-Base Professionals.
The opening round of games through up a few surprises. In Group 1, Dave Sultana was at his consistent best and held top seed, Eliot, to a goalless draw. In Group 3, Kostas Barbaris showed the results of a few months’ solid play against some of Australia’s best players within his own club, Sydney TFC, his defensive flicking being particularly good and surprising Adrian with two quick, well worked goals. Adrian pulled one back just before half time and found an equaliser a few minutes before full time but Kosta was unfortunate that his immense improvement this season was not rewarded more. Meanwhile, in Group 2, Falcon Steve Dettre edged past club mate Adrian Grunbach with a 2-1 victory, Adrian’s late surge making Steve very nervous. The second phase saw Dave eventually take hold of his match against Jordan, who was having his first flick since the 2016 Spring League, with Dave taking the honours 2-0. Adrian G and Gordy played out a tight affair, Adrian scoring a solitary goal to earn the 3 points. Meanwhile, in a real arm wrestle, the two Greeks, Kostas and Steve Diasinos, took each other to the wire, with Steve also finally coming out with a single goal victory. In the final group matches, Eliot gave Jordan a bit of a Subbuteo lesson as Jordan grew increasingly desperate to get forward possession. Steve Dettre managed to squeeze one goal past Gordy Dudley who was defiant in his defence. Steve did have one shot right on full-time which found the net. It was unclear to all involved whether it had happened before or after the final whistle, however, so a 1-0 scoreline was settled on. Steve Diasinos had all the possession and applied all the pressure in the opening five minutes of his game against Adrian E, culminating in a beautiful shot on the run that sailed goalward. Somehow, Adrian managed to grab his ‘keeper with his left hand and get it in the way of the shot, the rebound ending deep in Steve’s half. One possession and three flicks later, the ball was in the back of Steve’s goal from a shot from an acute angle by Adrian. The circumstances of the goal turned the game on its head, finishing 3-0 to Adrian, a scoreline which flattered him but which he was delighted to inflict on Steve.
In the Repechage play-offs, Kostas and Gordy played out a 0-0 draw before each putting a solitary goal past Jordan, making for a very democratic conclusion. The Barrage round saw a typically tight tussle between Subbuteo Parramatta club mates Adrian E and Dave. Adrian managed to score a solitary goal to maintain his unbeaten competitive record against Dave. Meanwhile, in their first ever match up, Adrian G gave Steve Diasinos a spanking, slotting 3 unanswered goals past Steve’s ‘keeper. Adrian E than, unfortunately, ran into a brick wall in the shape of the diminutive Eliot. Eliot bossed the match and ran out a 4-0 winner. Meanwhile, Steve Dettre controlled the bulk of the possession in his semi against Adrian E, but couldn’t find a way past Adrian’s staunch defence (though Adrian was lucky to see one of Steve’s shots rebound off his unattended goalkeeper). Adrian, however, did manage some of his own counterattacks and 2 of these resulted in goals, one in each half.
Dave maintained Steve Diasinos’ misery in the 5th/6th play-off, putting one goal past his team mate. Meanwhile, Adrian G made a complete about face from the opening round encounter with Steve Dettre, taking a 3-0 lead into the half-time break. Steve came out with a better performance after the break, winning the half but still succumbing 4-2 in the 3rd/4th play-off. The grand-final saw the tournaments two shortest players face-off (something to do with centres of gravity being an advantage or something). In a fairly dour, technical match, Eliot pressed for much of the game, as he usually does, but Adrian’s defensive organisation and flicking were meaning his ‘keeper had little to do. Midway through the second half, however, Eliot got the half chance that was all he needed after a poor defensive flick from Adrian, and took the lead. Adrian attempted to take the game to Eliot but didn’t create any meaningful chances, meaning Eliot was able to take the tournament with a 1-0 victory.
Another great evening of friendly rivalry. As always, a great thanks to Nathan at Bella Vista Good Games for hosting us with lots of room for our pitches. Over the three weeks of Spring League Cup tournaments, 17 different players were able to take part. Many have one eye on the Asian Cup approaching in January and the series proved to be an invaluable opportunity for all players to continue improving.
for more photos click here
for full results click here