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Newsletter - Tuesday 1 May 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: The Medal, The Boot OTHER NEWS: Farewell Carlos

Match Report 1

Caught Flatfooted - Again

Balmain Rovers 4A Reserves v Abbotsford
Easton Park, Rozelle
Sat 28 April 2001
Kick-off 1.15pm
Report by Paul Millard

The first home game of the season again found Balmain Rovers without a referee. This time, the first half Abbotsford volunteer turned out to play for them in the second half, while Carlos Morata (fetchingly kitted out in all black) took over the whistle.

Things started promisingly enough, with the game evenly poised until Abbotsford scored after 10 minutess with a beautifully struck volley which nearly broke the back of the net and gave Johnny the keeper little chance. Bad luck ensued not long after when crucial Rovers player Craig (Jan Molby) Brown was reduced to watching from the sidelines with a hamstring injury, and Ricky had to suspend his hot dog duties in the canteen to replace him.

Balmain made a good move in reply to the goal with Ammon and Emrys linking up well down the left to fire a cross in, only to see Paul put the header wide. In a seesawing battle for possession, Abbotsford came back at us with venom and a deadly looping shot gave the visitors a two-nil lead 20 minutes in. Shots from Ammon, Sam and Dorian all went close without reward, as it seemed the Abbotsford keeper was equal to all the pressure Balmain put on him. Before long, the first half was over and we headed for a sidelines rest two-nil down.

The second half started well and Balmain piled on some pressure only to see the in-form Abbotsford goalie pull off yet more saves from shots by Paul, Ammon and Emrys. There was an amusing moment when Carlos the ref pulled up the Abbotsford first half referee for an atrocious tackle and was roundly abused in very fruity tones. For a moment, it looked like the second half ref would have to send the first half ref off. Sadly, nothing came of it, least of all a Balmain goal.

However, the visitors increased their lead to 3-0 some 20 minutes into the half when their tactic of pushing wide down the wings and crossing the ball in paid off with an admittedly well taken strike. Balmain heads went down and only five minutes later their striker was able to pop in a simple header for Abbotsford to go 4-0 up.

The fresh legs of Adam Freeman and Paul Smith were brought in to good effect, but Balmain still couldn't put the ball into the net. At least Abbotsford's shots weren't going in either by that stage, with Johnny Barker making some vital saves. In the end, a disappointing day for Rovers but some good play was formed and people are linking up better with each game that is played.

The Pele points go to:

3 points to Ammon for running everything down and leading by example 3 points to Emrys for his hard work and a stream of good crosses


Our Sponsor

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The Orange Grove Hotel
31 Balmain Rd, Leichhardt
Ph 9810 1435

Table football * pool table * pokies * TAB * cable sports TV

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Stay tuned for news about The Grove's new restaurant


Match Report 2

A Wake Up Call

Balmain Rovers 4A Firsts v Abbotsford
Easton Park, Rozelle
Sat 28 April 2001
Kick-off 3pm
Report by Matt Clementson

Well, the weather was good, the pitch was looking alright (as in limited amounts of dog shite and the cricket pitch was hardly visible due to the mound of soil taking centre stage), however all was not good from before the off.

For some reason, a lot of the lads were stiff and and aching, finding it hard to loosen up properly without being in discomfort. It may be wise that we try and train Wednesdays if this occurs again. Eventually, Abbotsford were ready to start - once they had grabbed a few players from their reserves team. Rovers started off strongly with some solid defence work from Nick and Gary against the looping ball they kept wanting to put over the top. We had some good runs, however we never seemed to use the centre of the park as much as we normally do and were reliant on some runs by Joey down the left and long line balls from Kon to get the ball moving up front. A couple of chances were squandered in the first half and perhaps if we had slotted one of those the game would have had a different result.

Nil-all was the half time score and a chance for a quick chat. They were playing our game style against us and we seemed to panic a little about this and were playing desperate balls back at them, as opposed to working the ball from the back, passing and moving as we normally do.

The second half began and the first five minutes were even, then Kon was unfortunately beaten by the bounce of the ball, allowing one of their strikers in. The heads were still high, but fatigue was kicking in and changes had to be made soon. Abbotsford won a corner and, for the first time this year, we conceded a headed goal from a dead ball. In all fairness, the Abbotsford player took it well, but we were caught not marking and he wasn't even challenged. Ali came on for Pier, forcing Andy - who was desperately trying to become the midfield playmaker - to the left wing. Joey swapped with Mike, more for exhaustion reasons than anything else, and Kon swapped with Glenn, having still not fully recovered from a hamstring twinge.

Rovers put in a burst of about 20 minutes of immense pressure. We were all over them and unlucky not to score on numerous occasions. Some devilish curling corners from Carlos were not finished and a few through balls from the midfield were not connected with well enough to test the keeper. Ali did well, holding the ball up front whilst giving the midfield a chance to catch him - something we need more of from whomever plays up front.

Again we were beaten by a long ball and a badly defended header was let in again. Gary battled well in the centre of the pitch, going in hard on every challenge. They were a young bunch and slid in a lot, winning the ball that way often. Why do we tend not to slide back in or tackle back once we have lost the ball?? It needs to be done - otherwise we will be beaten again.

Unfortunately, the third finished us and luck was not on our side. Some valuable lessons were learned and some future notes need to be taken. To close, some key points from the "side lines management":

* We MUST HEAD the ball from goal kicks, long balls, bouncing balls. It does NOT HURT and is more accurate than your boot.
* The midfield must track back. It is the hardest position on the pitch, as you run more than anyone else. Fitness was shown to be a problem with five players often being seen still up front on a counter attack.
* Use the ball from the back, play it along the ground to feed up through the midfield, then on to the attackers.
* Forwards, HOLD the ball and wait for support, they will be there.

Sergio and his missus were nice enough to hold a BBQ for Carlos' leaving do in the evening. A thankyou from all whom attended, I am sure. Anyway, all the best Carlos (which Nick only realised actually is his real name later on that evening).

Thursday night, the first team should train on their own, working on some of the above if everyone agrees. As I am still out this week, if anyone has a camcorder I am willing to film the next match for posterity, and we can use it for developing our game.

Do some personal training this week before Thursday and let's go out at the weekend and play our normal passing game.

The points this week (as decided by myself, Big James and Gary's girlfriend!!):

Nick - 3 points for being all over the pitch, battling hard and starting to play some good balls forward.
Gary - 2 points for fighting till the end, giving them some of their own hard tackles.
Andy - 1 point as he's bigger than me and said he would nick my dinner money if he didn't get one. Also for getting involved out of his position when needed.


Upcoming Fixtures

Saturday 5 May 2001
Balmain Rovers v Balmain B
Birchgrove Park, Birchgrove (away)
Kickoff Reserves: 1.15pm, Seniors 3pm

Saturday 12 May 2001
Balmain Rovers v Five Dock
Timbrell Park, Five Dock (away)
Kickoff Reserves: 1.15pm, Seniors 3pm


Award Standings

Pele Medal

5 - Ammon Mackie
4 - Gary van Heugten, Paul Millard
3 - Craig Brown, Emrys Hughes, Nick Hopkins, Kon Tsalikis
2 - Paul Edwards, Sergio Fiorenza, Sam Tekin
1 - Eddie Briggs, Andy Farmery, Carlos Morata, Joey Nicotra, David Wright

Golden Boot

2 - Gary van Heugten
1 - Eddie Briggs, Sohail Dahdal, Pier D'Angelo, Paul Edwards, Andy Farmery, Sergio Fiorenza, Ammon Mackie, Paul Millard, Carlos Morata, Joey Nicotra


Other News

As mentioned in the Firsts' report, on Saturday 28 April, Sergio hosted a barbeque at his Ashfield house to farewell Carlos Morata, who is returning to Ireland after two seasons and a bit with Balmain Rovers. A fine evening of eating and drinking celebrated Carlos' considerable contribution to Rovers since 1999 (not least his willingness to take on coaching duties), culminating in the presentation to him of the first-ever personalised Balmain Rovers shirt, a copy of the book Playgrounds of the Gods signed by players present and a waterbottle with an aboriginal motif. It is just one of the quirks of the sport that the classy team he helped to build wasn't able to send him off with a win in his last game. In any case, we certainly hope we haven't seen the last of him.

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Newsletter content 2001 Balmain Rovers

Tuesday 1 May 2001