Any contributions should be given or faxed to Ricky Onsman (fx 9375 1446) by Thursday midday.

MATCH REPORT No 1: by Bruce Smith

Match: Balmain AA6B v Five Dock A
Venue: Callan Park
Date: Saturday 13 June 1998
Time: 1.00pm kick-off

Balmain played with the strength of ten men on Saturday – sadly a team is made up of eleven, and the other side – Five Dock As, reputed to be the best side in the competition – had players to spare.

The extra man on the field for Five Dock really showed, and he seemed to be present at every point in the play. To make matters worse, some of our players were not in peak condition, so we were starting even further behind the eight-ball (to mix our sporting metaphors).

Serge had a bad dose (of the flu), but Jamie Flintoff’s initial woes were self-inflicted thanks to a big Friday night. He hurt his ankle in the first half but played amazingly well despite this, exhibiting aggression, attitude and tenacity culminating in a huge full-field burst up the sideline late in the second half to challenge for a goal. He stood out on a day where highlights were rare.

The magic exhibited on the long weekend seemed to disappear, and the backs, who were virtually impregnable the previous weekend, were in disarray. There were some moments of individual brilliance all over the field, but as a whole the effort was embarrassing. I won’t even mention the score – I’ll just say they won comfortably and at no point felt threatened by Balmain Bs. At least their goal keeper, who thought he was Chilavert of Paraguay, didn’t score. I think everyone else did, though. Gracious in victory they were not.

Special mention should go to Richard Walsh for his consistently positive attitude and motivational efforts throughout a difficult game. He was well chosen to be team motivator.

Come on Balmain! We can do better than this (your humble scribe included)! And we will. Next week. Won’t we fellers?

Under the circumstances, one Pele point goes to every player who played on Saturday. And for sentimental reasons we’ll give another one to James Austin, for turning up on his way to Tokyo to barrack for us. Should have brought your kit, James.

MATCH REPORT No 2: by Anthony Rosenthal

Match: Balmain AA6B v Enfield
Venue: Henley Park
Date: Saturday 20 June 1998
Time: 1.00pm kick-off

The game was played with great spirit with a reinforced backline with the addition of a new player. Strong attack was made in the front until Enfield was able to snatch a goal by the close of the first half.

Some excellent scoring opportunities were missed by the forward line but Balmain improvement in communication and team work was evident.

By the second half, three easy goals were let in but the side seemed invigorated and more motivated than its sore loss the week before. More attendance in training will assist the team in improving and playing better.

The Pele Medal points go to:

Jamie Flintoff 3 points
Richard Walsh 2 points
Glenn Bacic 1 point

MATCH REPORT No 3: by Rocco Nuzzo

Match: Balmain AA6B v Five Dock B
Venue: Easton Park
Date: Saturday 27 June 1998
Time: 3.00pm kick-off

Our last meeting with Five Dock B was our best effort, missing out 1-0. On Saturday, Balmain has a point to prove. Expectations were high that this was to be the day when things would go our way.

For the first time, Balmain B was in front, after the 21st minute. Con placed a beautiful ball just past the right of the Five Dock keeper. However, within 10 minutes the Dockers equalised. Despite this, our hopes were still high.

Tragedy was to follow, as Richard Walsh inadvertently handballed while trying to adjust his jocks and simultaneously defend courageously. Despite some of the best play seen from Balmain, things ran away from us when the Dockers headed the ball into the net from a free kick. The score remained 3-1 at the half.

The second half was marred by some bad refereeing decisions. However, Michael scored by drilling a cross from Walsh into the net. 3-2, and Balmain had matched their record for the most goals scored in one match. Despite some bustling runs from Jamie and Russ that almost paid dividends, the Dockers scored against the run of play in the 53rd minute. The score was to remain 4-2. More performances like this one, and the monkey will surely lose its grip on our back.

The Pele Medal points go to:

Richard Walsh 3 points
Michael Sommers 2 points
Con La Spina 1 point

Pele medal count:

9 Borman, Flintoff
7 Newcombe
6 Bacic, Walsh (Richard)
5 Onsman
4 Smith (Bruce)
3 Austin, Rosenthal, Sommers
2 Fiorenza
1 Nuzzo, La Spina, Walsh (Ronan)