Any contributions should reach Ricky Onsman by Tuesday midday.

Rovers Bite Back!

MATCH REPORT: by David Arblaster

Match: Balmain Rovers v Five Dock B
Venue: Callan Park, Rozelle
Date: Saturday 5 June 1999
Time: 1pm

Prior to hitting the field against Five Dock B for the second time this season, I for one was feeling rather apprehensive. This was due to the fact that we had gone down 6 - 2 to the same team back in April. Although we had certainly improved since then, I wondered if it would be enough to overcome a team that seemed able to score so freely.

However, quite soon after this game began, it was clear that the script would not be repeated. From the outset the midfield was controlled by Balmain. It was really impressive to see our boys keep possession for long periods, build attacks and create many goal scoring opportunities - something that we were just unable to sustain last year. Even when the Five Dock backline were able to steal the ball they generally gave away possession quickly due to their midfield being out of position. The Balmain midfield would then begin to build play again.

At the head of the attack, Sergio and Emrys had a very busy afternoon. They were well supplied with through balls which, combined with their pace, put them behind the defence on a number of occasions. On one of these, we were able to watch a magnificently constructed goal. Once past the defence, Serge and Emrys passed the ball between each other four or five times leaving the keeper helpless and Emrys casually put the ball in the back of the net. They made it look so easy. It should be said that if it had not been for the considerable skills of the Five Dock keeper, many more chances would have been converted.

The Balmain defence was solid throughout the game. Richard and Glenn in the middle were reliable as ever. Marking was tight and any runs from Five Dock were quickly closed down. So much so that Adam rarely touched the ball. From a defender's point of iew, our job was made far easier in this game by the good positioning of the midfield. We seemed to always have options and were rarely forced to just thump the ball hopefully forward or to put it out of play. Special mention on this point goes to Pier, who was playing on left wing. He constantly frustrated the opposition, stealing possession or just being in space and providing options to the defence. He also supplied some useful passes to the forwards and, if memory serves me correctly, had a shot or two himself.

In summary, I believe the midfield was the key to our success on this occasion and if we can keep our shape throughout a match I think we can look forward to a few more happy outings.

The Pele points go to:

Emrys 3 points
Pier 2 points
Sergio 1 point

Cold Comfort

MATCH REPORT: by Bruce Smith

Match: Balmain Rovers v Canterbury
Venue: Lees Park, Ashbury
Date: Thursday 17 June 1999
Time: 7.15pm

Balmain Rovers had their inaugural game under lights on June 17 against Canterbury at Lees Park, Ashbury. This game had been greatly anticipated, having been rescheduled from May 1 (washed out) to June 10 (again washed out). The delay and frustration this caused the Rovers obviously took its toll. With such a build-up, anything could have happened.

The ground itself was in good condition, although the lighting left something to be desired - at least to some of the older, more feeble-sighted members of the team. The climate was crisp to say the least, starting about 15 degrees and falling to 10 degrees by the end of the game. We were certainly glad there were no brass monkeys among us.

There was also some dew on the ground making for slippery conditions and a slippery ball. The ground was also somewhat aromatic thanks to either Canterbury Racecourse or the Cooks River Canal adjacent. Or maybe it was the Under 15s playing before us.

The game started poorly, with the only goal of the match scored within the first ten minutes - unfortunately to Canterbury. This result did not reflect the true nature of the game, as Balmain had at least three shots on goal to every one of Canterbury’s, but skilful goalkeeping (both theirs and our own nimble-fingers Adam Newcombe) left the forwards unfulfilled.

Individually and as a team, Balmain acquitted itself well. With Gary battling jetlag after returning from his world tour with the FIFA All-Stars, Russell back on his legs and Serge playing like a maniac, the forwards were fierce. Emrys was having a fine game when an old injury flared up during the first half and he was forced from the field - during the previous match his kicking foot had been viciously attacked by the shin pad of a Five Dock player. Carlos came on for him and continued his good work for the balance of the game.

The defensive line also performed well, although there was obviously one slip-up. Special mention must go to David Arblaster, who was tackling skilfully, and Glenn Bacic, for his speed and defensive plays (although we won’t mention the loss of the match ball over the barbed-wire fence after an over-enthusiastic kick out). Ricky had a blistering finish to the match, coming on to replace Bruce during the second half. Joey’s ball skills were well demonstrated at right half, although my failing eye-sight could not see much of what was happening in the halves on the other side (sorry whoever it was - Pier, I think). Richard was solid, reliable and enthusiastic as always. All in all, a moral victory even if no points were accrued for the Rovers.

Pele points are difficult to allocate given such fine individual performances - I’d have to award them to:

Gary 3 points
Joey 2 points
Sergio 1 point

Pele medal count:
(points from match reports)

11 Gary
7 Joey
6 Russell
5 Emrys
4 Sam, Pier, Sergio
1 Carlos, Glenn, Norman, Ricky

Golden Boot count:
(goals scored)

7 Sergio
3 Gary
2 Emrys, Sam
1 Russell, Glenn, Joey