balmain rovers
Newsletter - Wednesday 24 August 2005
Published by Balmain Rovers, part of the Balmain & District Soccer Club.
Sydney Amateur League Rd 14 Replay

Balmain Rovers v Leichhardt: King George Park, Rozelle: Sat 20 August 2005

Reserves match report by Ricky Onsman

One point. This started as a match that was all about one point. Balmain Rovers needed one point to put the SAFL Division 1 Reserve Grade Championship beyond doubt. On the other hand, Leichhardt Saints needed one point to leapfrog Prestons/Racing into fourth spot and qualify for the Top Four knockout comp. One point.

Rovers fielded a strong starting eleven with a good mixture of skill, speed and strength and they set out to win the game. Leichhardt was clearly also out to win. There was, however, another player in the game. No, not the ref - thankfully we had one of the guys who know what they're doing and do it well, albeit without the support of any linesmen. The other factor in this match was the wind, a fierce blustery gale that came in off the harbour and swirled around the ground, driving the ball from the western end to the eastern. Leichhardt played with the wind in the first half, and it was the wind that scored the first goal in the game. The Leichhardt keeper picked up the ball in his area and booted it. Its first bounce was on the edge of the centre circle in Balmain's half. Its second bounce was on the edge of the penalty area, from where it sailed over the luckless Drew Schaper's head and into the goal. The Leichhardt goalie was understandably delighted and celebrated like a maniac.

After that, it was back to football, with both sides putting together good attacking moves that tested the opposing defences which in each case held firm. The focus was on the ball and teamwork in a good, clean game. The ref's main action was picking up offsides, and no-one gave him a hard time. It wasn't too long before Rovers equalised through the efforts of striker Rob Liney, but then Leichhardt went ahead again. By this time, it was evident that the Leichhardt keeper was possibly better at scoring goals than stopping them and Rovers mounted plenty of attacks. Nick's usual pre-match routine of practising corner kicks proved invaluable with some penetrating efforts that went unrewarded. Then Liney equalised again and the teams went to the break locked at two-all.

The wind was still strong in the second half, and Liney kicked off with a wind-assisted shot at goal from the centre circle. It missed. Ben ran even more than he did in the first half and provided a bridge between the midfield and forward movements to much better effect. Gareth and Erin stopped anything and everything near them, and much of the action took place in the Leichhardt half. As Coach Shaw had predicted, Saints had even more trouble playing into the wind than Balmain. It wasn't too long before Martijn took the opportunity to put Rovers ahead for the first time in the match. And it wasn't too much longer after that before he repeated the dose. At the other end, Drew cleaned up any remaining Leichhardt strikes. Finally, Liney put another one away to complete his hat-trick and leave the opposition's hopes crushed.

This was a fitting end to a superb season by Balmain Rovers in Reserve Grade. We play as a squad and every player turned out for Reserves at one time or another. Similarly, there are only three players who didn't play for Firsts at some stage of the season. This Championship is something that every player can take pride in. There were plenty of outstanding individual performances during the season and some fantastic examples of teamwork. The only pity is that not everyone was there at the end, either because of injury, travel or personal choice. Ultimately, Balmain Rovers are deserving champions and with this win we made our point. 5-2.

Goals: Rob Liney (3), Martijn Baars (2)
Pele Points: 2 - Martijn Baars, Rob Liney, 1 - Ben Jones, Drew Schaper

Firsts match report by Ricky Onsman

Following the genuinely exciting, championship-deciding Reserves match, several Rovers had to back up for Firsts in what was a critical match for our opponents. A win would put Leichhardt into the post-season knockout competition, anything less would end their season.

As the match started, the wind was still swirling around the ground but had been joined by a whippy drizzle just in case anyone was getting too comfortable. While some Rovers had already played 90 minutes of football and several others played out of their normal positions, it was quickly evident that Leichhardt was not in great shape either. They had some strong individual players but their passing moves didn't really penetrate and their defence was riddled with errors. Balmain was putting up a good show and even a Saints goal didn't dishearten anyone.

When the reply came, it was Marshall who put his name on the Golden Boot list for the first time this season, an event the talented defender will no doubt tell you would have happened sooner if he'd been allowed to play up front more during the season. For novelty value, however, Mark Wootton's goal outshone even Marshall's effort. As the ball spilled out of the Leichhardt box following one of several second half corners, Wootty - playing from left half as if he hadn't just played a full match in defence for Reserves - latched on to the ball and rifled it back toward the Saints goal. An indecisive Leichhardt defender let the ball glance off his shin, putting it neatly out of his keeper's reach and into the far corner of the net. And so Wootty's name was also added to the Golden Boot list for the season.

Leichhardt's hard men exhorted their team to put more effort into their effort, and they certainly attacked the Balmain goal - by this time being guarded by Drew as Stew gave himself a run at centre back alongside the ever-dependable Gareth - with a lot more zest. The Rovers defence was tested by several deep flanking movements and one tumbling run after another into the box, often accompanied by a belly flop and an appeal for a penalty. Finally, a Leichhardt player was tackled twice by (who else?) Wootty in the penalty area and the ref decided the second movement was illegal. Leichhardt put the spot kick away to level the scores.

Oddly though, it was Balmain Rovers that closed out the match, repelling Leichhardt's forward movements and having a few more goes at goal themselves. Michael Penman kept sending Dom on runs down the right wing, while your correspondent set Wootty and Stubbsy off down the left in similar fashion. In the end, Leichhardt would have been disappointed with their efforts against a makeshift Rovers team. As the last run for the Firsts team this season, this match will have to go down as Marshall and Wootty's moment in the sun. And the wind. And the rain. 2-2.

Goals: Marshall Moir, Mark Wootton
Pele Points: 2 - Mark Wootton, 1 - Dom Salomoni, Mike Stubbs, Gareth Williams, Marshall Moir

Canterbury District Grand Final

Balmain Rovers v Hurlstone Park: Henley Park, Enfield: Sat 20 August 2005

Div 7 Match report by Sergio Fiorenza

It has been a long time coming for me personally, I have been with Balmain Rovers since our first season, way back in 1998, although myself and Ricky Onsman are now the only two relics remaining from the good old days! So this season’s mix of recent and brand new Rovers put on a superb and consistent display all year, despite a couple of minor hiccups along the way, and we led the league table right from the first game of the season, right up to the Grand Final.

Our worthy opponents had won a very one sided encounter just two weeks previously, and we were in no mood to let this game slip. The guys were all very pumped up for this game, you could tell because even Simon had managed to show up on time!! A quick chat before the game to settle everyone down and we were off and running. Within the first 15 minute, Dan ‘the man’ Whaite had given us a crucial early goal, with his quick reactions following a long throw in. A second followed soon after, Gabe crossing in from the left, and the opponents' hapless keeper pushing the ball into his own net. Cormac wants to claim this goal, but the consensus in the pub later attributed the goal to Gabe, and he deserves it after his superb first season as a Rover.

So it was 2-0 at the break, and the score remained the same, until a great substitution saw our utility man Colin score with his first touch!! He had only been on the pitch a matter of seconds when Roberto’s superb curling ball to the far post found Colin unmarked and a simple header made it 3-0. This really took the wind out of their sails, and super Simon capitalized on this with two late goals, the second one a fantastic 25 yard curling shot into the top right corner!! Guys, this was a truly inspiring performance, our best game of the year, summed up by Tony Madau’s comment that his shirt was still dry, and he had not sweated at all during the game. This was down to a stellar team effort, every man giving 110% and not giving our opponents a sniff!! Champions at last!!

Well done boys. As a manager I could not have asked for more from you all, we have had a fantastic season, and it has been a privilege to play alongside you, and watch you from the sideline. You truly embody what the word “team” stands for and you are all a credit to yourselves for the way the season went, a credit to Balmain & District Soccer Club, and to Balmain Rovers. Thank you, and see you all next season!! Also as a foot note to thank them for all the support we have had all season, special mention goes to the following people : Michelle, Pepper, Sally, Julia, Allan Frydman, Michael Bosnich, the rest of the CDSFA Div 8 squad, and finally all the supporters from Dale’s work who turned up with pompoms and colourful signs!! 5-0.

Goals: Simon Goodman (2), Dan Whaite, Gabe Cataldo, Colin Mitchell
Pele Points: 2 - Dale Humphries, 1 - Tony Madau, Cormac O'Shea, Simon Goodman, Dan Whaite

Award Standings

Pele Medal (all teams)
24 --- Andy McLeod
21 --- Marshall Moir
16 --- Tony Madau, Drew Schaper
15 --- Stewart Shaw
14 --- Dale Humphries, Rob Liney, Mark Wootton
13 --- Gavin Carey, Paddy Denvir
12 --- Gabe Cataldo, Dean Lenz, Erin Owens
11 --- Martyn Farnworth, Simon Goodman, Jim Wragg
10 --- Roberto Arocha, Pete Boyle, Ben Jones, Kristian Wiles
9 ---- Michael Penman
8 ---- Rich Briscoe, Dom Salomoni, Mike Stubbs, Gareth Williams, Paul Wright
7 ---- Jacob Cavallaro, Amir Hatami, Matt Mahony, Richard Raward, Dan Whaite
6 ---- Akin Karaca, Cormac O'Shea
5 ---- Michael Bosnich, Morgan Bowling, Tony Unsworth, Nick Vince, Adam White
4 ---- Steve Ashcroft, Brendan Coutts, Omar Elsadik, Dave Hanna, Jeff See, Ere Sihalath
3 ---- Allan Frydman, Ruben Davis, Dan Higson, Matt Linton, Ricky Onsman, Antoon Visser
2 ---- Steve Adams, Martijn Baars, Andy Henderson, Justan Kitchener, Gotaru Uematsu
1 ---- Steve Ashton, Sergio Fiorenza, David Ford

Golden Boot (all teams)
37 --- Rob Liney
19 --- Simon Goodman
18 --- Andy McLeod
10 --- Paddy Denvir
8 ---- Roberto Arocha
7 ---- Martyn Farnworth, Paul Wright
6 ---- Dean Lenz, Mike Stubbs
5 ---- Steve Ashcroft, Steve Ashton, Rich Briscoe, Jeff See, Tony Unsworth, Antoon Visser, Adam White
3 ---- Martijn Baars, Sergio Fiorenza, Dave Ford, Dale Humphries, Ben Jones, Colin Mitchell, Cormac O'Shea, Dan Whaite, Kristian Wiles
2 ---- Jacob Cavallaro, Ruben Davis, Michael Penman, Kader Tamsaouit, Gotaro Uematsu, Nick Vince
1 ---- Pete Boyle, Gabe Cataldo, Brendan Coutts, Allan Frydman, David Hull, Akin Karaca, Marshall Moir, Ere Sihalath, Mark Wootton, James Wragg

Next ...

Knockout Semi Final:
SAFL Reserves v Prestons/Racing - Bark Huts Reserve, Belfield, 12.30pm Sun 28 August

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Wednesday 24 August 2005
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