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Newsletter - Tuesday 10 April 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 OTHER NEWS: The Irish Twin

Match Report 1

Reserves Make An Even Start

Balmain Rovers 4A Reserves v Enfield
Henley Park, Enfield
Sat 7 April 2001
Kick-off 1.15pm
Report by Ricky Onsman

Balmain Rovers Reserves took its place in the Premier League Division 4 competition with some uncertain steps. We had had only one full game together as a team before this one, and were missing midfield playmaker Sam Tekin and striker and captain James Mackie, who had suffered a broken leg in a pre-season game. As well, the Association had not provided the ID registration cards for three players, which would have left us without the services of replacement captain Emrys Hughes and James' brother Lachlan if not for an understanding Enfield manager.

Nevertheless, we took the field with confidence and started the game with a surge toward the opposition goal. As the game settled into its pattern, it became clear that the lack of a strong midfield would be our greatest weakness. While Dorian, Paul M and Ammon Mackie made regular breaks through the Enfield defence with Emrys and Sohail out wide, and while our defensive line of David W, Donny, myself and Lachie held off the opposition's attacking forays, we didn't have the personnel to control the midfield. This was in no way due to a lack of effort on the part of Browny, who was constantly called on to single-handedly patrol the centre, bolster the defence and take free kicks, corners and most of the throw-ins. At times, it seemed he was everywhere, forever exhorting us to get back or get forward as needed.

Enfield played a physical game, and their wilier older players were adept at wangling free kicks from the conservative-minded referee, while the sole linesman kept finding Rovers attackers in an offside position. Neither team could make a breakthrough, however, and half-time saw the 0-0 scoreline maintained.

Despite having three fresh players on the bench, Rovers stayed with the current players, and at first it seemed this could prove their undoing, as Enfield piled on the pressure with a couple of new men and finally made the breakthrough with a strong move cracking Rovers' defences and getting one past Johnny Barker in the Balmain goal.

However, Balmain went back to its task with great spirit, and it wasn't long before yet another good buildup by the Rovers forwards appeared to pay off, only to have the goal disallowed for an unlikely offside ruling by the linesman.

Having shown that the Enfield defences could be breached, Balmain maintained the attacking pressure, while Browny continued to bring the Rovers defenders forward to fill the midfield gaps, and it wasn't too long before Ammon Mackie pushed a fine goal past the Enfield keeper to bring the scores level again.

Both sides continued to attack with vigour until the end of the match, but neither could break the deadlock, despite some fine Balmain passing combinations and some inspiring individual efforts, including Johnny's tireless and gutsy work in the Balmain goalmouth and sometimes outside his penalty box.

In the end, 1-1 was a pretty satisfying result, especially coming back from a deficit. We learned we can compete, can form an effective playing unit and can keep our spirit no matter what the opposing team and officials might throw at us. As a newly formed team, this opening result compares very favourably with the original Balmain Rovers' first few scorelines of double figures defeats, and augurs well for a productive and enjoyable season ahead.

While everyone deserves full credit, the Pele Medal points go to:

3 points to Craig Brown for being everywhere and doing everything
2 points to Ammon Mackie for persistence that paid off
1 point to Paul Millard for constructive attacks even though injured


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Match Report 2

Firsts Register First Win

Balmain Rovers 4A v Enfield
Henley Park, Enfield
Sat 7 April 2001
Kick-off 3pm
Report by Matt Clementson

Saturday 7th April saw the kick-off of the 2001 season for the new, highly slick and performance-tuned Balmain Rovers Firsts team. After the team got over the shock of not having to watch out for man-holes, sprinklers, lakes, cricket pitches and dog shite the game kicked off at 3pm promptly. The starting line was strong with "Glass Ankles" Edwards and "Bruiser" Sergio passing late fitness tests. Even with a severe stink of booze oozing from 60% of the team, we looked dangerous from the off. After the Basil Fawlty look-alike referee's pre-match display of "How many times can I say 'fuck' in a sentence" and Tim's witty comment of "Can I say 'bastard' then instead?", the unleashing of what should have been a top whooping began.

Balmain took to the field feeling confident after successful wins pre-season. Carlos had his lucky pants on, Mike was out to impress the wife and Joey and Kon had brought their own fans as well (note to the team - we need to bring more women to the game, especially if it means we all play as hard as Joey and Kon did!!). Swift movement from the backs to the midfield meant that we had a number of attempts on goal - most ending with the keeper being forced to make a save.

Serge was wiped out by one of the worst tackles seen so far by the number 4 Enfield Oeuf. Paramedic Mike ran on to help and was told to fuck off by the referee. The free kick was curled in, Nick got a good head to it but unfortunately it went over the bar. The onslaught continued with Giggs-style runs by Clem down the left and a solid movement from the midfield. A well worked move went from Dennis the rock to Kon to Clem to Carlos who put Eddy through on goal, for him to have unfortunately have strapped two sand wedges to his feet instead of his boots!! To his credit, he beat every man for pace and the ball did bobble up just as the trigger was pulled back.

More and more moves went Balmain's way, with Andy being unlucky a couple of times not to get a good strike on goal. We won the majority of the headers in the first half and even with their "long ball over the top" technique, Enfield never looked like scoring. Balmain moved the ball around well, keeping it on the ground the majority of the time and creating numerous solid linked passing moves. Gary battled well, going in hard and winning every 50/50 challenge he faced. Enfield were pinned in their own half for approx 80% of the game and even though Clem has found his shooting boots in the last week, he was denied by a good save from the keeper from 25 yards. Tim, having seen glory from the halfway line, was unlucky to have decided to dig a hole with his foot instead of connecting with the ball as the keeper was stranded well off his line.

Nil-nil was the half-time result and we were to be playing into the wind second half. Rovers came back on the pitch a couple of minutes early, keen to get the game under way and back on the attack. This, I think, rattled Enfield a little, who came on looking a bit concerned to say the least. Immediately from the off Andy, having pulled his hamstring at the end of the first half, went storming in to win the ball back for Rovers. A good passing game led to a number of decent runs down both the right and left, with Eddy putting Serge through for what looked like half a chance. Serge caught it smack on the laces and slotted in a superb goal from a tight angle - the look on his face saying it all.

Strong words re not to let our guard down from all were heard throughout and we continued to attack, looking for the goal to kill the game. A couple of minor errors in defence let them through but, due to Dennis the rock, they were held at bay.

A good challenge on the right by Glenn won the ball back at the half-way line. Glenn sent Mikey on his way who the sent the ball flying up the wing - with precision, not just a good tonking - into the path of Serge. Serge cut the ball back for Carlos on the left hand edge of the 18 yard box, who raised his trusty left peg and hammered home the second off of the post.

That was the final blow for Enfield, as was shown when tempers flared between their number 5 and Glass Ankles with him taking a swipe at our player. The ref pulled them both over and said "Any more of that and I will tell your mums, OK?" - they shook hands and the game continued.

Overall, the game was fought hard but in good spirits. We won the game not just with the result but with the quality of the play and by digging deep when it was not looking like the deadlock would be broken. A solid performance by all, and we can only improve. A moral victory was noted, with Rovers having been beaten by Enfield in some crucial games last season.

I believe this will be a successful year for the club.

The Pele Medal points go to:

2 points - Kon
1 point - Gary
1 point - Eddy
1 point - Carlos
1 point - Serge


Upcoming Fixtures

No match during Easter Break

Saturday 21 April 2001
Balmain Rovers v Sydney University
St Johns Oval, Sydney University (away)
Kickoff Reserves: 1.15pm, Seniors 3pm


Award Standings

Pele Medal

3 - Craig Brown
2 - Ammon Mackie, Kon Tsalikis
1 - Paul Edwards, Sergio Fiorenza, Gary van Heugten, Paul Millard, Carlos Morata

Golden Boot

1 - Sergio Fiorenza, Ammon Mackie, Carlos Morata


Other News
Pay a visit to Balmain Rovers' twin club in Ireland:

Ballinteer Rovers


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Newsletter content 2001 Balmain Rovers

Tuesday 10 April 2001