Newsletter - Wednesday 8 August 2001
This newsletter is published weekly with the generous assistance of the Orange Grove Hotel - an excellent place for post-game refreshments.
Balmain Rovers fields teams in Premier League Division 4 (Firsts & Reserves) of the Canterbury & District Soccer Football Association competition.
MATCH REPORT 1: Reserves
OUR SPONSOR: The Grove
MATCH REPORT 2: Firsts
STANDINGS: Medal, Boot
Match Report 1
Birthday Boy Leads The Way
Minor Semi Final
Balmain Rovers 4A Reserves v Sydney University Reserves
Henley Park, Enfield
Sat 4 August 2001
Report by David Wright
It was down to the crunch end of the season. Do-or-die football. Our opponents - the boys from Sydney Uni. A loss here meant the season was over, something which none of us was going to allow.
The day started a little shakily. It was 10 minutes to kick-off, and we still only had eight men. But when the ref's whistle blew, we had 12 men, including an injured Browny and Paul Millard. Ricky, in all his knowledge and experience, decided on a three man defence again in an attempt to dominate the game in midfield and attack.
None of us had played in the past two weeks, and it certainly showed in the first 10 minutes. Our first touches and team work took some time to warm up, but as the game continued, it all came back. The three man defence was working well for all of two minutes, until Uni mounted their first attacking raid. Lachie stuck out his leg, smashed the oncoming attacker, injured his own leg and managed to get a yellow card to boot. When Lachie limped off the field, no replacement was made in case he could return. So for the next five minutes, Ricky and I played a two man defence, and still managed to keep them at bay. But when Browny finally came on to play keeper, with Johnny moving into defence, to say we were extremely relieved is an understatement.
Throughout the first half we managed to dominate Uni, but our last pass was always lacking. The many attacking raids by Paul, Emrys, Ammon and co looked promising, however, and it was only a matter of time. Even yours truly and Ricky managed to be found in attack on occasions trying to score that elusive goal for the defence. Then the surprise packet of David Birds popped up. Having a run in midfield, he seemed to pop up everywhere and in a goalmouth scramble placed the ball beautifully off his head to beat the keeper. It was 1-0 and we were brimming with confidence. The first half continued with many promising Rovers raids, while Uni had only limited attempts at goal, and mainly from some distance out. Then just prior to half-time, James pounced on another loose ball at the edge of the box and the birthday boy smashed it with his left foot straight into the back of the net. The keeper had no idea, and we were all in party mode as the half-time whistle blew.
The second half began and we were attempting to continue our good form and score a few more. The second half proved a much closer contest as both teams tired and the need to control the football became ever important. The Uni boys came out firing ready to fight, and that they did. Many promising raids, but a few poor refereeing decisions and many saves from the tremendous Browny meant they could not trouble the scorer. When Ammon was taken from behind in the box, the ref pointed to the spot and the great captain stood up and said "This is mine, boys" even as another three players were lining up for the shot. (Even the boys from the defensive line were putting up their hands). The privileges of being captain and birthday boy won out. I was hoping this would have broken their backs, but the Uni boys decided on all-out attack and when the final whistle blew there were many relieved (and buggered) defenders. But we did manage to keep a clean sheet again - good on you, boys.
Now on we march to next week, playing for a Grand Final spot. Confidence is high, and the end is near. Keep up the good work.
The Pele points go to
2 - James - the birthday boy managed two goals and a strong performance
2 - Birds - had a great day roving from defence to attack and managed the first goal of the match
1 - Browny - kept a clean sheet, including some great saves (also whinges too much when he doesn't get any points)
1 - Paul - played injured, but still managed to run rings around the defence
This newsletter is sponsored by the fabulous folks at
The Orange Grove Hotel 31 Balmain Rd, Leichhardt Ph 9810 1435
Table football * pool table * pokies * TAB * cable sports TV
Regular live music * Friday night raffle
Drop in to Crocetti's, the Grove's new family restaurant
Match Report 2
Doing it the Hard Way - Again!
Major Semi Final
Balmain Rovers 4A v Abbotsford
Bennett Park, Roselands
Sat 4 August 2001
Report by Michael Sommers
The title of the report is not an indictment of the way we played, but more to do with how whenever we get to this section of the competition, Balmain Rovers always seem to lose that important 1st v 2nd Major Semi Final, forcing us to have to play again the next week. I am not sure at this point who the opposition will be but me melon tells me that it will more than likely be the knife wielding, foul mouthed yobs from Canterbury (woe is me).
But anyway let's talk about the game, which was played in some godforsaken, far flung place called Bennett Park in Roselands. Susan and I eventually turned up, after we managed to find a sherpa willing to take us there, as long as we bought the yak that he had for sale.
Bennett Park is not the greatest of grounds, but it has grass on the top soil and there was no cricket pitch in the middle of it, so it was not too bad, I guess. From the moment I walked onto the pitch I could sense that a lot of the guys were very, very tense. Ally had bitten his nails down to the knuckle and I fear had I not stopped him he would chewed his own arm off! Everyone looked very apprehensive, and uncertain of what lay ahead. I thought about telling my joke about the Pope, the rabbi and the prostitute, but I figured this was not the right time. I think it would be fair to say that it did not feel like the usual Balmain pre kick-off atmosphere.
Abbotsford started the game two players short. We all knew from that moment we had to try and bury this side before they could get any more on the pitch. We kicked off with myself and Gary up front, who when I asked him if there was anything in particular he wanted me to do to help support him, I received the reply "Nah, just run your bollocks off." Hmm ..... OK, I can do that.
We had quite a few early chances - notably Pier's chance that was scooped over the bar after I had tried to cushion it into his path. I know you'll be kicking yourself for that miss Pier, but don't be too hard on yourself, mate - at least you were there and you did follow it in. We were eventually joined by the last two members of the Abbotsford side, one of whom I used to work with. He was always late for work as well.
We took the lead, I think mid-way through the first half, when I cushioned a high ball to the ground with one touch. I then dribbled around three of their players, flicked the ball over my head and then, on the volley, I struck it into the top left corner ......... what?
Alright, here is what really happened. It was a high ball (that much is true), but I kind of got in the way of one of their players who was trying to clear it, and while he was doing so, ricocheted the ball off my leg and into the path of Gary who with great skill dribbled past two players and in a very cool manner slotted it past the keeper. So you see I didn't exaggerate too much. Anyway we were in the lead, but as we have done in the past, our effort levels dropped considerably. We didn't just take our foot off the pedal - we took our foot off the pedal, put the gear shift in neutral, put the handbrake on, turned the ignition off and locked the garage doors!
You may think I am being a bit harsh, but from what I saw, for the rest of the first half we were second to everything. And as a result Abbotsford scored two goals in what seemed like just as many minutes and put themselves in front. Now let's just talk about these two goals for a second, both of them were very speculative goals. I have heard some people say that we lost to two rather lucky goals - sure, as I have said, they were speculative - but they happened in a period of the game where we were not winning balls and not closing down players. If we give teams like Abbotsford and Canterbury time on the ball they will punish us, and that's a fact. We know that both of these teams have players who can score from long range, so let's not give them the opportunity to show us their skills. Just my opinion.
The second half kicked off and we showed a lot more determination to make Abbotsford fight for everything. We were optimistic, but we knew that we had only 45 minutes to change things in our favour. Ammon came on for me after 10 minutes. Serge pushed up front from his unfamiliar role on the wing and Ammon took his place on the wing. We were pushing forward in greater numbers now, and were getting close to scoring but at the same time we were leaving massive gaps in the midfield and the defence was left exposed. Once or twice we were caught out on the fast break, but thanks to good saves from Denis or shite shots from Abbotsford, we remained in the game. In the last 10 minutes Serge came off for the solid form of James. As I understand it, Serge must have been very thirsty when he came off, because someone told me he hit the esky immediately.
We were getting closer and closer and we could smell that elusive equaliser. Andy, who had now recovered from a slightly over-zealous referee, was putting in some great crosses from corners and free kicks. But alas, we just could not get it into the back of the net. We came so close at one point, only to see their keeper (who happens to be a relative) produce a goal-line clearance. As I understand it, he wouldn't mind playing for us next season.
As the final whistle blew, I saw a great many heads slump and everyone had disappointment written on their faces. Where they got the pens from I have no idea. We all knew that we had let a great opportunity slip through our fingers. But I know we will bounce back, because it's just in our nature.
One thing I would just like to remind you all of is that this is not life-and-death. I know you have all worked hard to get this far and you don't want to throw it away, but don't put pressure on yourselves by making this into the FA Cup final or something. You're not pro footballers - you're lawyers, IT administrators and bus drivers, etc. And as such you will make mistakes when playing this game. We play heaps better when we are not putting pressure on ourselves. So be cool, fellas, we still have another chance. I know we will do better next time out. "Up the Rovers"
The Pele points go to:
Gary - 2 - great goal - assisted by me!
Ally - 1 - was up for this game from the get go, and showed it
Kon, Glenn, Andy, Clem, Denis - 1 - were left high and dry sometimes, but coped as best they could
Mikee - 3 - Oh, go on fellas, please. I haven't got any points yet, please?
Balmain Rovers Reserves v Enfield Reserves
Edwards Park No 1, Concord
Sat 11 August 2001
Balmain Rovers Firsts v Canterbury Firsts
Edwards Park No 1, Concord
Sat 11 August 2001
15 - Ammon Mackie
14 - Paul Edwards, Paul Millard
13 - Craig Brown
12 - Gary van Heugten
10 - Andy Farmery, Kon Tsalikis
9 - Tim Hinds
8 - Nick Hopkins, Sam Tekin
6 - Glenn Bacic, Emrys Hughes, Joey Nicotra
5 - David Birds, Donny Nicholas, Ricky Onsman, Paul Smith
4 - John Barker, Pier D'Angelo, Alister Haining, Ian Ladkin, David Wright
3 - Denis Jozic, James Mackie, Lachlan Mackie
2 - Sergio Fiorenza, Matt Clementson
1 - Eddie Briggs, Sohail Dahdal, Carlos Morata
16 - Ammon Mackie
12 - Paul Millard
11 - Paul Edwards
8 - Gary van Heugten
6 - Alister Haining
5 - Sam Tekin
4 - James Mackie
3 - Craig Brown, Sergio Fiorenza, Tim Hinds, Dorian Nkono
2 - Pier D'Angelo, Andy Farmery, Nick Hopkins
1 - David Birds, Eddie Briggs, Sohail Dahdal, Emrys Hughes, Ben Jones, Carlos Morata, Joey Nicotra
There's a deathly silence regarding summer activities. Does this mean that Balmain Rovers will be dormant until next year?
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