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Newsletter - Tuesday 8 May 2001 beerbeer
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.

UPCOMING: Fixtures STANDINGS: Medal, Boot OTHER NEWS: Hail, Sohail

Match Report 1

A Big Step Forward

Balmain Rovers 4A Reserves v Balmain 4B Reserves
Birchgrove Park, Birchgrove
Sat 5 May 2001
Kick-off 1.15pm
Report by John Barker

The omens were good - a picturesque ground; the Rovers looking resplendent in their white away strip; minimal injuries (you were missed though Browny); and, praise be to Allah, there was even a referee! The decision to move Sam Tekin and Dorian Nkono up front proved inspirational as from the very beginning of the game they were fed good ball from zippy midfielders Sohail Dahdal and Eddie Briggs and tireless wingers Emrys Hughes and Adam Freeman, and both centre forwards capitalised upon the push forward. Before too long, Sam - stepping as lightly as Gene Kelly - rounded some baffled opponents and sent a screamer into the top right hand corner. For the first time this year, the Rovers were in front!

The rest of the half proved challenging as the ball swung from one end of the field to the other. Both teams had cracks that went wide and the score remained unchanged at the half-time break. Huddled on the sideline, one couldn't help but notice the threatening cloud mass gathering to the west. Serge suggested we zip our bags before reentering the field of play so they could be moved to higher ground in the event of the Heavens opening. Good call.

Adam came off at the break and Sohail moved to the right wing. Pele Medal leader Ammon Mackie replaced Sohail at right half and Eddie and Emrys swapped positions on the left. The defensive Y-Front at the back - Lachie, Donny, Ricky and Wrighty - were as tight as ever and looking the goods when Wrighty, the tantalising thought of victory perhaps invigorating his tackles, was penalised in the box. The penalty was taken and all that can be said is that at least I dived in the right direction. 1-1.

Then it started to piss down. In fact, it was so heavy that I was trying to remember where exactly Mount Ararat (of Noah's Ark fame) could be located in case of emergency. The cracks of thunder and sheets of lightning added to the drama and it was the Rovers who cracked the deadlock. After a quick half-time hit of nicotine, it was Sam who again delivered the goods, this time with a tightly angled looping shot from the left that was poetry in motion, dropping in behind the keeper to take the score to 2-1. Taking a well earned rest, Sam was replaced by super sub Paul Millard, still recovering from injury. The Rovers then received a penalty in the box and Dorian, with the poise of a Zen master, slotted it in to the left of the keeper. 3-1 with eleven minutes to go.

(Perhaps we should pause here for a moment and reflect on that last sentence ... OK, take a deep breath and continue).

Visibility was dire, the surface slippery and to their credit the opposition never gave up. In quick succession, they lifted one into the top right hand corner and after some scrappy play in the muddy goalmouth the ball frustratingly trickled over the line before been booted to buggery. 3-3. The Rovers were still hanging in though. Paul's strike shimmered off their goal's crossbar, Emrys sent in same dangerous crosses and Ammon, as always, looked menacing with the ball. But it was too late.

To paraphrase Dickens, it was the best of times and it was the worst of times but mostly it just felt crap to squander a two goal advantage so close to full time. Still, there's plenty we can take from the game - the most goals we've scored this year, the jubilation of leading from the front, matching it comfortably with the second ranked side and the words 'It's never over until the fat lady sings' have never sounded so pertinent.

To Sohail, playing his final game before heading off to Jerusalem, we say thanks for your friendship, great play and dedication to the cause. And special thanks should also go to Captain Crutches, James Mackie, for his continued sideline support, referee heckling and half time words of wisdom. On ya mate.

Well, heads up Rovers. Yesterday we had a sniff of triumph but tomorrow we will feast upon the spoils of victory. Or something like that.

The Pele points go to:

3 points to Sam Tekin for two memorable goals
2 points to Ricky Onsman for his relentless defence and punishing clearance kicks
1 point to Sohail Dahdal for temporarily (we hope) finishing off his stint in the Rovers with a great performance


Our Sponsor

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

Stay tuned for news about The Grove's new restaurant


Match Report 2


Balmain Rovers 4A v Balmain 4B
Birchgrove Park, Birchgrove
Sat 5 May 2001
Kick-off 3pm
Report by Paul Edwards

quag·mire (kwag'mir, kwog') n.

Land with a soft, muddy surface.
A difficult or precarious situation; a predicament.

And so it was.

Though for a while things were looking so much different. After 33.2 seconds (coincidentally the exact same amount of time that it took Tim to realise that the top from his heat rub was missing), Balmain A were 1-0 to the good. The echo of the ref’s whistle had hardly died away, Joey was still fastening the Velcro on his gloves and I was in the centre spot wondering how I was going to get through the game without getting trench foot, when the dream start occurred. Gary, who was more alert than anybody else, picked the ball up in midfield, rounded a number of the opposing players with ease, ran the ball to the touch line and directed the ball across the face of the goal. Serge, having blinded the opposition earlier with his luminous “Sydney Buses” jacket, popped up seemingly out of nowhere and tucked the ball away neatly. As simply and as quickly as that. But the dream start didn’t stop there.

A mere 5 minutes later (coincidentally the exact same amount of time it takes Andy to run the length of the pitch), Balmain were enjoying a 2 goal cushion. A throw-in on the left, just 5 metres from the touchline, saw Gary involved in the action again. As the whistle blew and the referee pointed to the spot, everybody (except for the referee) looked on in disbelief as a penalty was given, apparently for a push in the back as Gary went up for the flick on. For a moment it felt like 12 v 11 in our favour (in fact make that 12 v 10, they were a man short at the time). The only person to be more generous around a box at that time would have been a Bangkok prostitute. The ref was loving us long time, there was no doubt about that, and Gary dispatched the penalty with consummate ease. 2-0.

Over the next quarter and riding the crest of a wave, there were a number of opportunities to make it three and finish the game off completely, but it was not to be. Ally, going against all his Scottish instincts, was this time generous to the opposition and unfortunately put an awkward-to-deal-with, close-range header onto the post. His positioning and work rate was flawless, however, and it can only be a matter of time before he is regularly punishing defences. A few long-range efforts whistled high and wide from various midfield positions but they ultimately came to nothing. The final ball, as has often been the case this season, let Balmain A down, though on this day and on this pitch it was difficult to play any kind of ball, let alone a final one.

The first half was not all one way traffic, though Balmain B were restricted to long-range efforts and half-chances by a sound and organised defence. You could have counted the number of errors that the boys at the back made on one hand - granted a hand with 15 fingers - but nevertheless, a sharp performance by Tim, Kon, Nick and Glenn. Well done. And special mention must go to Joey who had the most unenviable task of the day. Driving rusty nails through the gonads would have been a more comfortable alternative to tending the net on a day like Saturday. But, back-slapping aside, Balmain B looked troublesome on a few occasions and did strike the crossbar at one point. But as the half wore on, so the rain came down harder and the game as a footballing contest, like the sight of the grass on the pitch, withered away. The weather was beginning to take the upper hand and by half time it was becoming a case of whether Balmain A could maintain their lead rather than extend it.

A quick turnaround was deemed necessary, but the extra couple of minutes that was saved seemed a futile act. The second half was more like a reenactment of the Battle of the Somme than a game of football. The ball was punted from end to end. The occasional successful offensive was conducted but on the whole, no ground was really captured. Controlling the ball was impossible, kicking it was difficult, running was a chore and we were all very, very wet. It would be impossible to pick out individual performances that warranted mention in this second half as it was a case of a great deal of individual effort, a great deal of team effort to merely get the ball going forward. Mike and Jez came on to provide fresh shirts to get dirty and were instantly sliding around like the rest of us. But finally, after what seemed like 3 hours, with no goals being scored after the first 10 minutes, the game came to its conclusion. Final score 2-0. A well-earned victory for Balmain A.

And then there’s just the small task of cleaning the kit…

The Pele points go to:

3: Tim (Solid at the back. Forgot his towel on the wettest day. Dirty skids)
2: Kon (Sound performance – probably doesn’t wear skids. Left lid off heat rub. Not me)
1: Gary (Set up & scored the game’s goals – that’s gotta be worth something. Didn’t see his skids)


Upcoming Fixtures

Saturday 12 May 2001
Balmain Rovers v Five Dock
Timbrell Park, Five Dock (away)
Kickoff Reserves: 1.15pm, Seniors 3pm

Saturday 19 May 2001
Balmain Rovers v Strathfield
Strathfield Park, Strathfield (away)
Kickoff Reserves: 1.15pm, Seniors 3pm


Award Standings

Pele Medal

5 - Gary van Heugten, Ammon Mackie, Sam Tekin, Kon Tsalikis
4 - Paul Millard
3 - Craig Brown, Tim Hinds, Nick Hopkins, Emrys Hughes
2 - Paul Edwards, Ricky Onsman, Sergio Fiorenza
1 - Eddie Briggs, Sohail Dahdal, Andy Farmery, Carlos Morata, Joey Nicotra, David Wright

Golden Boot

3 - Gary van Heugten
2 - Sergio Fiorenza, Sam Tekin
1 - Eddie Briggs, Sohail Dahdal, Pier D'Angelo, Paul Edwards, Andy Farmery, Ammon Mackie, Paul Millard, Carlos Morata, Joey Nicotra, Dorian Nkono


Other News

As mentioned in the Reserves' report, Sohail Dahdal played a cracker of a match in what may be his final game of the season. He's off to the Middle East - to sort out some kind of argument going on over there, apparently - and won't be back until early August, possibly just in time for Rovers Reserves' Grand Final appearance.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Meanwhile, Balmain Rovers have breezed through a first round bye in the State Cup (again), and will play their first actual match against southern Sydney side Como-Jannali on 20 May. The 18 man Cup squad will be drawn two-thirds from the Firsts team and one-third from the Reserves, which should make for one hell of a playing unit.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Lastly, a reminder that Dobroyd Point Soccer Club will host the screening of the FA Cup Final at newsletter sponsors The Orange Grove Hotel on saturday 12 May, and all Rovers are welcome to join the festivities for what should be one of the best Cup finals in years. If anyone has any alternative ideas, email them to Ricky or the list, as there are bound to be some souls looking for a different scene.



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Newsletter content © 2001 Balmain Rovers

Tuesday 8 May 2001