Balmain Rovers 3B Firsts v Canterbury
Callan Park, Rozelle
Sat 18 May 2002
Report by Paul Edwards
"Is this the same Canterbury as last year?" we all wondered as the entourage of lowered sports cars that looked like they'd just been covered in glue and ram-raided Bob Jane T-mart rolled up. It somehow answered our curiosities. We were undoubtedly in for a fun day. Having said that, as events transpired, they were remarkably well behaved as only about four of our mothers were abused, as I recall.
But enough about the opposition's peculiar fantasies - at the start of the day we were more concerned about our own problems since we had a side depleted in numbers by injury upon injury. I say "in numbers" and not "in skill" since we had the likes of Ben, Ricky, Rob, Ally, James and Nick up from the reserves, and amongst them some of the best performances of the day. I will thank Ally and James at this stage for keeping the nets for us since they aren't getting any points. Sorry boys, but truly thanks a million....
So to the match.
It all started very well, bar the fact that you needed a standard edition scythe to find the football and kicking it was akin to playing on a beach. The early exchanges went in Balmain's favour and all in all, we looked very comfortable. But for the second time in as many weeks, Rovers went 1-0 down. A freakish effort from the edge of the area by Canterbury saw the ball loop almost impossibly into the top corner, past the despairing hands of Ally.
But we could sense, even at this early stage, that we were hard done by and were going to overcome this deficit. And it wasn't long after that things swayed in Rovers' direction. A good effort by Kon and a couple of half chances here and there were rewarded by the equaliser as a deflected shot fell into the path of Ben to slot home neatly. And this was followed just five minutes later when another scramble on the goal line fell to the able feet of Dean to thump another goal in - 2-1 to the good. Capitalising on the lead wasn't easy though, as the initial good passage of play somehow turned into poor passing all over the park and we were up against it.
But the defence were good for the pressure and defended well with Kon, Andy, Ricky and Nick holding fast. A missed penalty was all that Canterbury had for their efforts during the remainder of the half, along with a plethora of long range, but largely tame efforts - one of them coming as a result of me being
embarrassingly stitched up like the proverbial kipper. Duly noted, not forgotten. The penalty to Canterbury was evened out by a penalty to Balmain, harshly given perhaps, but just reward for some excellent work by Patrick on the right. Kon slammed it home for a 3-1 interval lead, his first goal for the club.
The second half was largely the same as the first, with a few changes in personnel. Andy went off with an injury, as did Dean, being replaced by Rob and Nick respectively. Balmain again struggled to totally dominate the half through some poor distribution of the ball and the defence were called on again to remain solid. But when the team clicked, Rovers showed just what they are capable of, with both Ammon and Rob getting onto the scoresheet before the final whistle. Both goals came after some very nice passages of play. Canterbury replied with just one goal of their own during the second period.
All in all, a very pleasing day. Five goals, three points, zero fights. Combine that with some good performances and taking away some things to learn, what better way to end a Saturday?
The Pele points go to:
3 - Ricky - (a) for playing two games (b) for playing extremely well in two games (c) because he'll kill me if I don't give him 3 points for (a) and (b)
2 - Ben - a thoroughly good game all round, challenged for every ball and thoughtful when he was on it. 100% effort
1 - Nick - for that tackle alone (if you don't know which one I mean, ask him and he'll bore you about it later)