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Newsletter - Tuesday 19 June 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 NEWS: Summer?

Match Report 1

It's There To Be Won

Balmain Rovers 4A Reserves v Sydney University Reserves
Mahoney Park, Marrickville
Sat 16 June 2001
Kick-off 1.15pm
Report by Adam Freeman

Following last week's narrow and rather bizarre loss, this clash was billed as a "must win" game for the Rovers. Three points would keep us on track for the finals, moving us above Sydney Uni into third place, perhaps second depending on other results. As additional motivation, the Rovers were keen to avenge their disappointing first round loss earlier in the season. Our "home turf" would be the ideal place for this. Unfortunately, Marrickville's Jeff Fenech Sports Centre can hardly be considered home - and there wasn't a great deal of turf to speak of either.

Rovers' depth was to be tested with a number of key players unavailable due to injury and wedding commitments.

The team lined up as Johnny Barker in goal with a four man back-line of David Birds at right back, Donny Nicholas and Craig Brown in the centre of defence and Paul Smith playing in the unfamiliar role of left back. The three in the middle of the park were Paul Millard, Sam Tekin and Millard's mate Ian, last seen in the State Cup squad. The wingers were Emrys Hughes on the left and Adam Freeman on the right, with Nick Hopkins spearheading the attack up front. Despite failing a fitness test, Ricky Onsman was the lone substitute on the bench.

The game plan was to keep it tight at the back, have the three midfielders dominate play and feed the wingers and Nick up front.

After a period of players adjusting to the unfamiliar lineup, the Rovers started to settle with the midfield moving the ball around well. It was pleasing to see the back-line playing the ball out from the back to the midfield with Browny and David in particular looking assured on the ball.

Nick's strength and running was causing the Sydney Uni defence plenty of trouble in the early stages, while Emrys wide on the left was making strong runs, regularly beating his man and crossing the ball well. For his efforts, Emrys was rewarded just on 10 minutes in with what must be a candidate for goal of the season, unleashing a cracking first time left foot shot from way outside of the box that thundered into the net.

Rovers 1-Sydney Uni 0. As Big Ron might say, "Blimey, Spotters Badge for Hughes - he's given that the full gun, Rovers 1 up, early doors" (sorry, I have been taking a course in Ronglish to improve my match reports, more gratuitous quotes to follow).

Although Rovers continued to play some good passing football, Sydney Uni did look threatening on the break. Unfortunately, this was illustrated when with Rovers pushing forward, Sydney Uni's pacy striker latched onto a long ball in plenty of space to score.

Balmain 1-Sydney Uni 1, which despite plenty of chances falling to both sides, notably some good long-range efforts from Sam Tekin, was the half time score.

The feeling at half-time seemed to be that the game was there for the winning. If we could keep the Uni striker well marked and tighten up a little in the midfield, the sexy football for which Rovers are becoming known for would win out. Rovers made a single substitution at half-time with Nick Hopkins coming off to take a well-earned break before the Firsts match and Ricky going on. This resulted in a reshuffle with Ricky taking his usual place at the heart of the Rovers defence, Browny pushing forward into the midfield and Paul Millard replacing Nick at centre forward.

Early in the second half, Rovers earned a corner to be taken by a very-much-in-form Emrys. The corner was met strongly by the head of Craig Brown, scoring the sort of goal that Tony Adams would be extremely proud of. Rovers 2-Uni 1. Full of the confidence gained by regaining the lead, Rovers went onto what was probably their best period of the game. Ian caught the eye with some great passing and the pace of Paul Millard stretched the Uni defence.

"Millard thought that the full-back was gonna come up behind and give him one really hard"

When Paul was brought down from behind in the box, the referee pointed to the spot. Up steps Browny to take, unfortunately the keeper made a great save. Again, Paul Millard outsprinted his marker to latch onto a great long ball. This time the defender could not get close enough to bring him down. Making no mistake with his shot, Millard extended the Rovers lead. Rovers 3-Uni 1. However, just when our heroes looked like running away with the game injuries struck to make things very difficult. First, Ricky took a bad knock on his calf, temporarily forcing him from the field for urgent attention. Since we had no reserves, Rovers where forced to play briefly with 10 men.

"They must go for it now as they have nothing to lose but the match."

Uni seemed to sense an opportunity to get back into the game. Their players streamed forward. Only an outstanding full stretch save from Johnny Barker prevented a goal.

"Ricky Onsman - he's the rock that the team has grown from."

Ricky returned to the field to soldier on. Although clearly in pain, his battling presence was key in repelling the Uni attacks.

Next Emrys, who was playing a blinder, was injured during another of his surging runs down the left flank, forcing him from the field. For the remaining 25 mins of the match, Rovers were again to play one man short. During this period, Rovers lost their shape and Uni pulled one back to make the score 3-2.

It was now that the fighting spirit in the Rovers side was required and although it wasn't pretty, Rovers dug in to repel the Uni pressure. David made some critical tackles and organised the right hand side of defence. Donny held strong, as he had done all game. Ricky battled bravely away. Paul Smith adapted well to the left back role, covering plenty of ground, winning the ball and using it well. The rest of the team scrambled back to help out. Spirited stuff. Rovers hung on until the referee finally blew the final whistle - much to the relief of a tired Rovers side.

"They've done the old-fashioned things well; they've kicked the ball, they've headed it..."

Special thanks to James Mackie for refereeing, Nick Hopkins for helping us out and Ian for being this week's Conrad. With some key players to return we can go into next week's clash against top-of-the-table Abbotsford with plenty of confidence.

A hard decision for Pele medal points after the team pulled together well in trying circumstances.

3 Points - Emrys, for a fine all round performance featuring a great strike, a well-taken corner and plenty of running.
2 Points - Paul Millard, for a great goal, countless good runs, and lots of effort in tracking back during those last desperate moments.
1 Point - Donny "Mr Consistency" at the back keeping us in the game with some strong tackles and holding his ground under pressure.


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

Drop in to Crocetti's, the Grove's new family restaurant


Match Report 2

Eddie Delivers The Goods

Balmain Rovers 4A v Sydney University
Mahoney Park, Marrickville
Sat 16 June 2001
Kick-off 3pm
Report by Kon Tsalikis

We went into this match with confidence soaring due to the fact we demolished this side first round with an 8-4 result. We showed a lot of promise and created many opportunities but failed in the last half of the pitch to do the job. At one stage, the ball was worked along the right wing where Joey made a surging run to finally centre the ball foot high only to see the ball bobble around and eventually be cleared, with a loud scream from a Sydney Uni defender. Obviously, they were feeling the pressure Rovers were applying and were wishing the game would end then and there to salvage a draw.

Most of the first half was played in the attacking side of the pitch for Balmain with a lot of desperate clearances from the Sydney Uni defence resulting in corners. Unfortunately, Balmain was unable to capitalise on those set-pieces. The team then received another blow with the star forward from Ashfield (Serg) leaving the field 30 minutes into the game with a cut above the right eye. The result of the injury looked like he had just gone 12 rounds with Anthony 'Choc' Mundine. He was very disappointed to leave the pitch and that was the second head injury in two games that Balmain endured. The first half finished 0-0 with the Balmain defence looking strong.

The second half began very similarly to the first. Balmain were dominating play but couldn't find the edge to finish in the attacking side of the pitch. Twenty minutes had passed with no score, when Eddie made an executive decision to put himself up front. This showed much promise from the Balmain side. The edge that Balmain was looking for was provided by Eddie's pace and determination. Once again from the right side of the pitch the ball was crossed in, where Eddie muscled his way in to get his head to the ball and lob it over the keeper's head.

If you spoke to Eddie personally, he would tell you that he blasted his header past the keeper into the roof of the net. Eddie mate .. you can think of it any way you want in your mind but in reality we all know what we saw.

But what mattered was that he turned the half chance into a result. That is what Balmain needed to spark them into action. Approximately 10 minutes later, there was a move conjured up from the midfield in which Mike laid off to Eddie who made a surging diagonal run past the last defender. The keeper decided to change positions for a second and assumed a sweeper role and ran after Eddie, forgetting his original role of goalkeeping. This left the goals open for Eddie to slot it in for 2-0.

A third goal was again created from midfield. This time, the two super subs making the difference. Andy to Kon then a quick pass to Ally who knocked the ball in front of himself to run onto it and, from a tight angle, slam the ball into the roof of the net. End result 3-0.

Balmain dominated the whole game and didn't look like they were going to concede a goal. At one time, we didn't look like we were going to score either, but after the insertion of Eddie up front, the game changed and Balmain asserted its power over Sydney Uni to comfortably win 3-0. Well done, boys and let's all see a convincing performance this week with Abbotsford as well.

Special thanks go to James for his refereeing .. because, seriously - if it wasn't for him to take the responsibility to ref our games we wouldn't be playing at all. Thanks, mate. As I said yesterday at lunch .. we should be compensated for all the times we haven't had an official referee. But that is another story.

The Pele medal points go to:

2 - Paul Edwards (for the 2 goal difference he made up front to get Balmain in front)
1 - Joey (for his endless runs on the right wing creating opportunities)
1 - Glenn
1 - Nick
1 - Tim (keeping a clean sheet ... from memory ... I can only remember one clear chance in the whole game that Sydney Uni had to score)


Upcoming Fixtures

Balmain Rovers v Abbotsford
Campbell Park, Chiswick
Sat 23 June 2001
Kick-off 1.15pm, 3pm

Balmain Rovers v Balmain B
Birchgrove Park, Birchgrove
Sat 30 June 2001
Kick-off 1.15pm, 3pm


Award Standings

Pele Medal

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

Golden Boot

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


Other News

We're still looking for suggestions for a summer comp for Balmain Rovers to join. If you a) know of a football comp running something like September-March and/or b) are interested in playing (or know someone who might be), send an email to that effect to Balmain Rovers. Suggestions are also welcome for other sports into which Rovers can expand for the summer - eg volleyball, maybe.

The URL for the website has changed to Click here to go there now.



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Newsletter content 2001 Balmain Rovers

Tuesday 19 June 2001