soccerball      BALMAIN ROVERS     soccerball
Newsletter - Tuesday 29 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.


Match Report 1

A Gritty Comeback

Balmain Rovers 4A Reserves v Canterbury Reserves
Lees Park, Ashbury
Sat 26 May 2001
Kick-off 1.15pm
Report by Paul Smith

Coming off a 7-0 win the week before, and about to play a Canterbury team that was flogged 16-0 in another match, confidence was high in the Rovers camp. With star striker Paul Millard out injured, we had the handy Nick Hopkins from Firsts up front to fulfil the sriking duties. Sighs of relief were heard around the ground as Ammon and Lachie made it in time after their pub crawl the night before, and several team members were ecstatic to see that Eddie had disposed of his grey shorts and got some black ones. The only pre-match disappointments were the no-shows of Dorian and Sam.

As the match proceeded the conditions became hot, with the sun belting down and fast and skilful forwards testing our defence repeatedly. Johnny Barker made some great saves but Canterbury managed to score two deserved goals in the opening half hour. We had been in this position of two goals down before, but this time something was different - everyone stayed positive and showed courage and stamina in a testing predicament. A seesawing battle for possession ensued, which climaxed in a dribbling run and great individual goal slotted away by Nick Hopkins. 2-1 at halftime - we were down, but not out.

The big victories of the past few weeks have made the team stronger and more confident, and this became obvious as we ground on into the second half. All four of the defenders worked hard and Johnny Barker pulled off some more diving, scooping and, as it turned out, match-saving saves. More ball was being fed up to the forwards, and it wasn't long before Ammon scored a lethal headed goal from a spectacular cross from, I think, Nick Hopkins. The score was 2-2 as we steamrolled into the final 10 minutes with Canterbury in increasing disarray. Eddie Briggs latched onto a ball which he turned into a floating cross. Ammon caught it on the bounce and smashed it into the back of the net - 3-2. Five minutes later, the game was over.

Today, for the first time, we came back to win from being down - which says a lot about our fighting spirit and how we've progressed as a team this season.

The Pele points go to:

3 points to Ammon for tackling, creating plays and scoring goals
2 points to Johnny for some extra special saves
1 point to Ricky for a great game in defence with many tackles and clearances


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

The Grove's new family restaurant opens Wednesday 30 May


Match Report 2

No Choking Matter

Balmain Rovers 4A v Canterbury
Lees Park, Canterbury
Sat 26 May 2001
Kick-off 3pm
Report by Ricky Onsman & Sergio Fiorenza

This was a must-win match for Balmain Rovers, and here they were - without Eddie, Clem, Pier and Glenn - at Lees Park, the site of some uncomfortable battles in the past. The first good fortune of the day was the presence of a referee, which at least gave hope for a controlled match. Second good fortune was the presence of the Reserves' Craig Brown to bolster the defence, freeing Nick Hopkins to play a more forward position than usual. This was significant, as Nick had played forward in the Reserves match, scoring one goal and setting up another.

With Tim, Andy and Kon joining Browny in the backline, Gary moved to a playmaker role in the midfield behind Ally, Joey and Nick, with Sergio and Mike up front and Denis between the sticks. The first half of play can be summarised as a hard slog. Creative moves were set up and abandoned, as both defences took to booting the ball forward in long, high clearances. As had happened in the Reserves match, these clearances were often allowed to bounce uncontested, with neither side willing to commit to winning the ball. As well, the pre-match agreement to use the open spaces of Lees Park came to little, as plenty of wide moves (again by both sides) were nullified as soon as play moved back to the middle. Yes, there were shots on goal and both goalkeepers had work to do, but nobody looked like taking control of the game.

The score was 0-0 at half-time, with one ball lost over the fence and one dog lucky to be still walking around with its smirking owners, and it was clear that Rovers had plenty of work to do to win the game. Canterbury lived up to their reputation for niggling, and various Rovers niggled right back. The referee started to lose what control he had of the match, as tackles became harder and more reckless. Up front, Sergio was being given plenty of verbal, culminating in a push, a shove, Canterbury hands around Balmain throat and down went Manager Fiorenza. Not one to pass up the chance to right a wrong, Mike rushed in and suddenly there was a knot of players not quite wrestling.

The most alarming aspect of this was the rushing over the sidelines of a group of Canterbury supporters, despite the calls of the home Manager. In the end, the referee showed a yellow card to Sergio (presumably for falling down when being choked) and the Canterbury No 15, who had nothing to do with it and was in fact their best behaved (and best) player (the official team sheet later awarded the yellow to the No 14, who was actually responsible). It was clear that the ref had lost control of the game. This was shown to be true when as well as yellow carding another Canterbury player, he also cautioned Gary, who had been (correctly) complaining, with the words "I don't care if you're captain."

However, while the sideline Canterbury group became even more vocal, and the Canterbury players became more physical, Balmain remained relatively collected, and in due course, collected their reward. A ball was crossed from right to left across the pitch, the cry of "Ally's up" was heard through the land and a looping header careened into the top right corner of the net courtesy of Super Ally "McCoist" Haining, sparking a bout of Balmain cheering, more sideline abuse and some shoulder sagging among the home team. It was only a few minutes later that Andy laid off a ball to Nick EXACTLY as practised at training, and Hopkins hammered a lovely strike into the bottom corner of the Canterbury net.

Balmain set themselves for an intense period of defence, and almost immediately let an umpteenth Canterbury attack through for a consolation goal. While the home team regained some of their spark from this, they had neither the time nor the organisation to find an equaliser. Rovers came away with a deserved and hard-fought 2-1 win. Our management is preparing a formal complaint about match incidents.

The Pele points go to:

3 points to Nick, for fitness, positional flexibility and a winning goal
2 points to Gary, for organisation under pressure, commitment and never a hint of surrender
1 point to Browny, for equal amounts of strength and deftness when required


Upcoming Fixtures

To be announced


Award Standings

Pele Medal

10 - Craig Brown
9 - Gary van Heugten, Ammon Mackie
6 - Tim Hinds, Nick Hopkins, Paul Millard
5 - Sam Tekin, Kon Tsalikis
4 - John Barker, Ricky Onsman
3 - Pier D'Angelo, Paul Edwards, Emrys Hughes, David Wright
2 - Andy Farmery, Sergio Fiorenza, Joey Nicotra
1 - Glenn Bacic, David Birds, Eddie Briggs, Sohail Dahdal, Denis Jozic, Lachlan Mackie, Carlos Morata, Donny Nicholas

Golden Boot

8 - Ammon Mackie
6 - Paul Millard
4 - Gary van Heugten
3 - Sergio Fiorenza, Alister Haining, Dorian Nkono
2 - Paul Edwards, Nick Hopkins, Sam Tekin
1 - Eddie Briggs, Sohail Dahdal, Pier D'Angelo, Andy Farmery, Tim Hinds, Carlos Morata, Joey Nicotra


Other News

No news is good news. Although a new sponsor is rumoured.



To UNSUBSCRIBE from this newsletter, send a blank email with the
subject line "BALMAIN ROVERS - UNSUBSCRIBE" to Balmain Rovers

Email comments and suggestions for this newsletter to Balmain Rovers

Newsletter content 2001 Balmain Rovers

Tuesday 29 May 2001