SPRING LEAGUE

2023 SPRING LEAGUE - WESTERN SYDNEY SUBBUTEO

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FINAL MATCHDAY

Tuesday, January 16, 2024
The Clubhouse

The permutations were mind-boggling. Three games to be played. Three players still in with a shot at winning the League title. If Steve won all 3 games, he would be crowned champion. If he dropped any points, the title would go to either Paul or Franck, depending on how they fared against Steve. And then there was Tim, ready to throw a spanner in the works.

And so Steve finally met Tim, and the two began their first game against each other. Tim made a nervous start and was under the pump, until a swift counter attack 5 minutes in led to the first shot of the game and Steve knew he was in for a game. It was partway through the second half before Steve could score the goal that settled his nerves and set him on course for a memorable evening. Tim, however, still had that spanner hidden up his sleeve. With about 5 minutes remaining, he took a shot. His figure ended up in the back of the net. The ball crashed against the cross bar. It dropped to the pitch and, in slow motion roll backwards and joined his figure in the goal! A frantic ending followed, with Steve desperate to find a winner. Both players, as they had all game, turned over possession cheaply as many flicks came up short. There was no way through. The final buzzer rang and the title had slipped through Steve's fingers.  

While he could no longer claim top spot, Steve's final two games were going to have a big say over who did. It was Paul up next, who was leading the League before the night began but who could still be caught by Franck if he slipped up. Steve and Paul always play out exciting encounters, and this was no different. Attack and counter-attack, thrust and counter-thrust, the game hung in the balance for a long time. Then, halfway through the second stanza, it happened. Paul found the tiniest chink in Steve's armour and secured a way through, grabbing the solitary goal of the game which guaranteed him the title. Having last won in 2020, the miniature trophy was now back in his hands.

Which made the final game purely academic. Franck could not catch Paul, and could not be caught in 2nd place, though Steve could still jump up the leaderboard a few places with a result. With all the pressure off, there was an openness to the game which promised lots of goals. Steve had an unexpected shot which was somehow kept out by Franck within the opening 30 seconds. In spite of the openness, however, the goals didn't come. In the end, a lone strike by Franck was enough for him to win the match.

So, in what has been the club's most successful League to date, with 18 players competing (as well as making it the most difficult to organise!), it was the founding father of Subbuteo in Western Sydney who came out victorious. However, the chasing pack was better than ever, with the title coming down to the last game, the middle of the table filled with young players really starting to find their feet, and a healthy contingent of brand new players giving the League real substance. And, of course, in the end, Subbuteo was the winner.

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MATCH DAY FOURTEEN

Thursday, November 30, 2023
The Clubhouse

A : just wondering if you happen to be on your way to my place to play tonight?"

S : Oh s*** man I'm so out of the loop and didn't even realise I was playing!!! I'm so sorry mate, please apologise to the lads for me...

A : if you want to come a bit later, you've got some real exhibition games scheduled. ;) vs franck and vs paul

S : I just went in to the chat and saw!!! Dammit I'm out so can't get over. F***ing hell I feel like a d***head, sorry mate...

To group chat:

S : Hey guys I’m so sorry to have to no-show tonight… I’m so out of the loop I didn’t even realise I was playing!!! I humbly accept all the savage taunts that are coming my way - and that I truly deserve.

Sorry all


Please send all further correspondence to Mr Steve Diasinos.
_____________________


And so on to those who bothered to turn up. While Tim cooled his heels practising on the pitch on which he was to face Steve, Adrian played against Greg and Costa faced Franck. Adrian was always in control against Greg but some improving tactical play from Greg and some good goalkeeping kept the damage down to single first half goal. A tight tussle between Franck and Costa saw Franck slot a solitary goal, though the groans and exclamations coming from the pitch indicated that both players had great chances to add to the tally but were unable to do so by the finest of margins.


Paul and Dave R arrived for their shifts. Paul took the lead midway through the first half against Tim, only for Tim to equalise within 10 seconds of the restart. Tim was flying on confidence having comfortably won the grand final of his school Subbuteo tournament earlier in the day and a real upset was on the cards. In the second half, though, Paul settled into his groove and used his experience to end up a 3-1 winner. Dave R and Costa played out a gripping struggle. All the play was in the midfield, the two showing fine touches in and out of possession, but also cancelled each other out, with only one real clear cut chance across the 30 minutes - a shot by Costa which hit the far post, rebounded onto Dave R's 'keeper and somehow stayed out of the goal. On the pitch where Steve was supposed to play against Franck (but didn't turn up), Franck played a friendly against Tim's dad, John.


The final round saw Steve miss his game against Paul, a game which, like his previously missed one against Franck, was supposed to have a significant impact on the top of the League table for the season. So Paul and Adrian played out an entertaining friendly game while Tim took on Costa. As has been the case with so many mid-table clashes this season, the two battled out an entertaining, evenly balanced tussle which demonstrated both their talents. It was Tim who ultimately came out on top, with a close 2-1 victory.


With the days of Spring officially ending tonight, and only a week of available days for fixtures, it has become clear that not all the games are going to be played (especially when Steve and Othniel use pitiful excuses like each of them getting married this month to not turn up), we may turn to the official Power Rankings™ system to determine final placings. We'll see how we go. As it stands, Franck is the clear leader using either system, though Paul and even Ethan could still find a way to the top with a good winning streak over the last couple of match days. It is game on!

MATCH DAY TEN

Friday, November 3, 2023
Saturday, November 4, 2023
The Clubhouse

A split round of games this match day to mop up a few loose ends. It was Costa finally getting back into action on Friday night and a hastily arranged match against Adrian ended in a stalemate, Costa finally hammering the nails into the coffin of any chance Adrian might have had of retaining his title this season. Costa then followed this up with another tight game against Ben though, this time, he was able to find a way past Ben's 'keeper for a goal which gave him his first victory of the season.

Saturday began similarly to Friday night, a series of late withdrawals requiring some hasty reshuffling to give games to those present. Ray, unfortunately, missed out on a game as a result, but Othniel and Paul were both able to play a full set of games, bringing their 'Games Played' tally more in line with the rest of the League! They started with a game against each other. Not quite as verbose as last season's legendary encounter, Paul was able to ease to a 2-0 victory with a couple of goals that had Othniel in awe, though another chance was able to be stopped by Othniel, agonisingly close for Paul (see photos). Imojjen had high hopes against Paul after some recent great form in both the League and external WASPA tournaments, but Paul was able to summon his experience to take another 2-0 victory. Othniel went 1-0 up in his game against Ben and looked to be cruising to a victory until the final couple of minutes, when a quick attack by Ben combined with Othniel getting his 'keeper caught in the goal netting saw Ben stun Othniel with an equaliser. The game ended a very entertaining 1-1. In the final round, Ben was no match for Paul, the Irishman running out a convincing winner over Ben's Scottish figures. Imojjen and Othniel both threatened to score in their game but, in the end, cancelled each other out in a game that could have gone either way but, in the end, went neither way.

In spite of his relatively few completed games, Paul has quickly ascended the ladder and, with his games in hand, has those ahead of him looking over their shoulders very nervously.

MATCH DAY NINE

Sunday, October 29, 2023
The Clubhouse

A full schedule of games was played on a warm afternoon, with a general theme of close results being played out in between hilarious bouts of banter. Franck was only the player to break the results mould, extending his lead at the top of the table with an opening 3-0 victory over Othniel. Tim had to work hard to put a solitary, winning goal past David G, who was playing with his brand new Ecuador team and 'keeper. It hasn't take David too long to get up to speed with those around him in the league. Imojjen and Ethan battled out a 0-0 draw, during which both showed moments of nerves but in which neither could take the decisive advantage.

The next round was, if the results were the only thing used to make judgement, pretty boring, with not a single goal scored across three games. However, the truth of the matter was that each game was an exciting, back and forth between each combatant. David G was showing his growing ability, holding out Imojjen. Likewise, Ben, probably the biggest improver of the League so far, held out Tim who was the pregame favourite to take the win. Dave R and Othniel played out an entertaining, end to end spectacle, neither player able to supply the cutting edge to match the good build up play.

Tim went ahead early in his match against Dave R in the third round but Dave R, on a recent roll of playing and developing, struck back in the second half to pick up another point in a highly entertaining match. David G attempted to use the tactical advice he received for playing against Othniel - get Othniel to talk about something, anything at all, and his stream of conscious hilarity will distract him from actually playing! Unfortunately for David G, Othniel's support squad kept Othniel focused on the game, though Othniel's eventual winning goal went unseen by the same support squad. Ethan capped off the afternoon with a solitary goal against Ben, to move him up the table and keep him right in touch with the leaders, considering the number of games he still has in hand.

MATCH DAY EIGHT

Saturday, October 21, 2023
The Clubhouse

It was another packed clubhouse on a warm Spring afternoon with a full schedule of games. After playing his first 2 League games early in the season, a few false starts meant Josh had played fewer than anyone else, but was back in action today. And action was certainly what took place in his three fixtures. A total of 10 goals were scored in them in all. In the first, against David W, Josh took an early lead before the game settled into an even contest. But Josh refound the fire and put away two more late goals to take an emphatic win. The second, against Tim, was, unfortunately, the exact opposite. Tim took the early lead this time, then doubled it with the goal of the match - a long through ball which was hit while still rolling to slot past Josh's unattended 'keeper. A final, late goal sealed it for Tim. The last of Josh's games pitted him against league leader, Franck. The final score was 4-0 to Franck, but this only tells half the story. Franck had to make a number of fine saves to keep Josh out, while two of Franck's goals came from speedy play which saw Josh's 'keeper again unattended. With some small tweaks to his game, learning from these experiences, Josh will be a force in the future.

Imojjen and Ben played out a great natured game, in which Imojjen peppered Ben's goal but Ben came away with his first point of the season, his new 'keeper having now settled in well to hold out for 0-0. Meanwhile, Tim took a first half lead against League veteran, Ray, and it took all Ray's experience to claw back an equaliser in the second half for a 1-1 draw.

In his game against Vince, Franck took an early lead but Vince was able to equalise before the break. With Adrian cheering loudly for Vincent from the sidelines, Franck finally found a way to break through for a winner before full-time, keeping him on top of the table. Ray, meanwhile, eased past David for a 2-0 victory that saw him slide up into second place on the table, albeit having played more games than a few of those in the chasing pack.

In the last round, Tim struggled to recreate the magic he'd used against Josh, and finished with a 1-1 draw against David W, David W equalising in the second half to pick up his first point of the afternoon and keeping him at the head of the pack in the mid-table battle. Ben continued with his defensive heroics and even began carving out the odd chace for himself against Vince, demonstrating his continuing improvement. In the end, though, Vince used his experience to find a second half winner and keep himself biting at the heels of the League leaders.

MATCH DAY SEVEN

Thursday, October 12, 2023
The Clubhouse

Noting that he had a crunch match scheduled against Steve, Paul sent in his usual excuses for not being able to make it for his evening's fixtures. Some quick rescheduling allowed a full card of six matches to still be able to be played, with Paul now heading for an intense second half to the League as he makes up his missed games.

The banter was in full effect for the evening, with the master, Steve, in fine form, targeting the multiple Arsenal fans in the room, in particular. The boisterousness didn't hide the fact that a bunch of quality games took place, though. Ben took on Ray in a match Ray controlled, the mercy rule eventually being invoked as Ben struggled with his newly recruited goalkeeper, who seemed to be still suffering from jet lag. Steve and Imojjen had a much tighter game. While general play was reasonably balanced, Steve's composure in the attacking third enabled him to eventually ease to a 2-0 victory.

Before Steve and Ben's fixture, Imojjen asked if the audio of their game would be recorded as the two had already shown they were in fine verbal form for the evening. On the pitch itself, it was Steve who took control of the match but, at 4-0 down, Ben replied with a contender for goal of the evening to gain a well deserved consolation. Imojjen again put on a fine display against one of the League's other front-runners, Ray. Controlling large sections of the match, it was her composure in setting up the final shot that let her down. Ray was able to score one to take the three points, but Imojjen is consistently showing she is closing the gap on the League's traditional big guns.

Adrian and David R had been cooling their heels on a practise pitch so far, and were finally able to join in on the action for the final round of fixtures. The scoreline between Ray and David R was 3-0 to Ray, but David came away feeling that the results of his practise had been good, with just a few defensive lapses undoing his good general play. Steve then played Adrian in a game which could have significant impact on the top of the League table. A victory to Steve would take him past Adrian with a game in hand. So Adrian pulled out the trick that had worked on Franck a few weeks ago - getting the Spring League trophy down for Steve to hold in his hands and feel the prize he was playing for. The stunt had its desired effect and, midway through a tense first half, Adrian stunned even himself with a long shot from a defending figure which perfectly chipped Steve's surprised 'keeper. This, however, had the effect of spurring Steve into action and, within a minute, the scores were back level. Adrian had a few more shots but nothing else was getting past Steve's 'keeper until midway through the second half, when a slight defensive lapse from Steve finally opened up a clear shot from Adrian, which he converted. Steve controlled the game from there, but was unable to make the final, decisive move into a clear shooting position as Adrian held on for the win.

The table is now really taking shape now with Adrian closing the gap on Franck at the summit, while games in hand are still in Paul and Ethan's favour. Steve is right in amongst it at the top with the Micallef brothers, while the mid-table battles are heating right up. Imojjen has played many of the top players but has still been able to maintain a spot mid-table, ready to strike further up. Meanwhile, the less experienced players are finding improvements all the time, Ben and Greg scoring against top of the table players in recent games.


MATCH DAY SIX

Friday, October 6, 2023
The Clubhouse

Due to the vagaries of scheduling for a different day of the week each week, League debútant, Greg Adams, had not yet opened his account. Tonight he was thrown in at the deep end, with 3 fixtures to bring him up to speed. It was a bumper crowd stuffed into The Clubhouse, creating a great atmosphere for all the games.

Greg opened his account with a game against Imojjen. Imojjen's experience paid off as she slipped a goal past Greg in each half. For a player with only a handful of competitive games in his past, however, Greg's flicking is surprisingly accurate and he was able to set himself up for a late consolation goal in his 2-1 loss. Ben and Adrian started their game with little plastic Subbuteo 'keepers, due to being one large 'keeper short for a full complement on each table, and Adrian had put one past Ben's 'keeper before Franck arrived and loaned his out to make things feel more like they normally do for the pair. In the end, Adrian scored another 2 to finish 3-0. Steve started well against David W, scoring an early settler, only to be shocked into action when David W equalised soon after. Steve knew he had to really be on his guard after that and was able to focus for a final 4-1 victory.

Steve then found himself in another surprise tussle, this time against David R. While Steve largely dominated possession, David R remained organised and didn't give Steve many chances. It was not until the final few minutes, when David left his 'keeper unattended, that Steve was finally able to nab the vital goal for a 1-0 victory. The club's two newest members, David W and Greg, played out a highly entertaining, end-to-end match. David W's speed gave him an advantage in attack, something he used well. Greg was not to be completely outdone, though, scoring again to make things very interesting for a while at 2-1, but David W was able to seal the match with a late goal to make it 3-1. League leader Franck had a tricky game against Imojjen. Imojjen took the lead but Franck was able to peg her back for a 1-1 half time score. Imojjen, playing well, managed to go ahead again early in the second half and then begin the difficult task of holding the lead. Franck pushed hard and, with just under 30 seconds left on the clock to score a late equaliser, to his great relief. Imojjen is showing signs of considerable improvement, though, and is shaping up as a real dark horse to take it to the more established players.

In the final round, Ben and David W played out a game that was far tighter than the final 2-0 scoreline would suggest. Both players created opportunities, but it was David W who was able to capitalise at a couple of key moments. Franck found himself in another battle to maintain his place at the summit of the League. After scoring from a stranded 'keeper moment by David R, He conceded soon after, much to Adrian's delight who was, for the first time in his life, cheering for an Arsenal team of any sort (in David R's figures) to succeed. But Franck remained calm and was able to score a winner in the second half to take all 3 points. The final fixture saw Steve take on a flagging Greg. In complete defiance of the sporting conduct codes established in the League, Steve piled goal after goal (only 4 of which are to be officially recorded) past Greg's novice 'keeper. He earned himself 3 points, but also the admonition of all the League's other experienced players, who later published a unified statement condemning Steve's unsporting behaviour. 

So, with every player now having seen action, the table is really starting to take form. Franck is still out ahead, albeit with more games played than other players, but they are points on the board which will still take some catching. David W and Imojjen's good evenings see them slide upwards on the ladder while Steve, with 3 from 3 for the evening, has positioned himself very well for a strike at top place in the League.

MATCH DAY FIVE

Tuesday, September 26, 2023
The Clubhouse

Having each pulled out of their originally scheduled opening fixtures (no doubt, a ruse from both to have a good look at the opposition before having to play any games themselves), Paul and Costa finally got to play their first games of the 2023 season. They were joined by the Micallef brothers who, after artificially inflating their own self worth by each trouncing their father on the weekend, were looking to ride the wave of false form that those results gave them. Half an hour later and very little had been learned - all four cancelling each other out. Ray got an initial upper hand over Paul, who was able to claw back into the game by half time. But Ray wasn't finished and again took the lead, only for Paul to once again equalise before the end in a see-sawing contest. The other pitch didn't provide as much goal mouth action but certainly provided as much tension, with Vince and Costa having to settle for a 0-0 draw.

Imojjen then joined for a game against Vince. In an equally tense game, neither could break through the other, though Vince was dominating the chances. Imojjen did almost pull off a magical goal with a shot from a figure on her defensive line. Whilst making a clean flick through the small gap, her figure, unfortunately, made a jump just before contact with the ball, the airborne figure heading the ball meekly before ending up itself in the back of the net instead of the ball. Midway through the second half, though, Vince finally beat Imojjen's 'keeper at the near post to take the lead. A few minutes later, Vince, not to be outdone by Imojjen's earlier effort, went one better with the goal of the evening, his own shot from the defensive line which rocketed the ball into the roof of Imojjen's goal, leaving the final score at 2-0. Costa has been consciously working on his defensive structures, meaning Paul had to find ways around, rather than through, Costa's defense in their fixture. While Paul did create a few early chances, Costa's 'keeper was inspired, forming a final wall that Paul struggled to get past early in the game. However, late in the first half, Paul got his goal then added another. Costa stuck to his tactics for the second half, but Paul finished a 3-0 victor. 

In the final round, Paul eased to a 2-0 win over Vince in a game which Paul never totally dominated but was never in any real danger of losing. The tension was saved for the other pitch, where Ray slugged it out with a tiring Costa. Costa's defensive structures were, by now, finely polished and Ray had very little opportunity to even get into the shooting zone. Costa's main issue was that, with such a solid defense, he struggled to make his own headway when gaining possession and having few, if any, figures in advanced positions. It was late in the game when Ray finally did get a chance which he took. And so the game finished at 1-0 to Ray.

And so the old guard were back in action, and the 2023 Spring League is now well and truly in full swing. Franck maintains his place at the top of the table but the chasing pack has now started its hunt to try and reel him in.

MATCH DAY FOUR

Saturday, September 23, 2023
The Clubhouse

A couple of late withdrawals meant that the first half of the weekend's split round only had a handful of matches, with some quick reshuffling of fixtures to add to the ones still scheduled. Two of the League's three Davids were on hand, alongside the two Elmers. David W arrived early to warm up for his fixture against Adrian, by playing an extended friendly game against Adrian! Once official proceedings got underway, Adrian pressed hard but could only find a solitary goal in the first half. Within seconds of the second half restart, however, David W's resolve broke and Adrian was able to put a second goal away, closely followed by two more, David W was not laying down, though, and scored a consolation goal of his own. Imojjen and David R played out a closer game. While the general play was relatively even, it was David R who was able to carve out the clearest chances. Imojjen's 'keeper was in fine form, though, making a handful of saves across the game to keep the goalless at full time.

Adrian and Imojjen switched pitches for the second round. Adrian eased a goal past David R in each half in their encounter. David R commented that he always kept his worst performances for games against his childhood friend, Adrian, showing how the game is more than just flicking little plastic figures - the psychological aspect can be crushing! Imojjen and David W played out a tight tussle in their fixture. The game looked to be headed to another goalless stalemate until the final minute when David W found himself with space inside the shooting area and managed to get past Imojjen's 'keeper.

The final round featured the second of the League's 'Dave Derbies'. A tight first half saw both players have chances but it was late in the half before David W trickled a shot past David R's lazily held 'keeper, to take a 1-0 lead into the break. The goal kick started David R into action and he played a more dominant role in the second half. He gradually clawed his way back with an equaliser and, then, finally, a winner in a great come from behind victory. 


Sunday, Septmeber 24, 2023
Micallef Mansion

The annual Spring League Micallef Derby Day made up the second half of the split round and it was a goal fest across all 3 games. 

The brothers went head to head to open the day's games and Vince opened the scoring with a tight angle shot from the left edge of the box to take an early lead. Ray hit back shortly after with a running goal off a corner and it closed 1-1 at the break. Didn’t take long for Vince to restore his lead with another impossible angle shot followed by a brilliant counter attacking goal to take the lead 3-1. Despite two shots hitting the posts, Ray could not find the net again giving Vince a well deserved 3-1 victory. 

Next up, the Godfather, Louis, was up against Ray and, unfortunately, he felt the frustration of Ray's earlier loss as Ray put on an attacking onslaught to win comfortably 7-0. Despite the heckling from Vince for scoring too many goals, Ray did show plenty of patience in his scoring opportunities, waiting for the Godfather to be ready on numerous occasions. Louis had his fair share of shooting chances but his usual powerful shots let him down at the last shot. 

Finally, Vince took on the Godfather and this time it was Louis' defence letting him down to score 3 deflected own goals and give Vince a 3-0 half time lead. Despite a better attacking performance this game from Louis, Vince closed out the match with a 5-0 win in the end. Plenty of goals on a fast pitch today as the sons continue their winning form against their father's when it comes to the Spring League! 

(note: as per League rules, no result is recorded as greater than a 4 goal difference, and goal difference is not used in any table calculations. This is to stop stronger players using their games against weaker players as a means to improve their goal difference. Of course, that policy gets thrown right out the window on Micallef Derby Day!)

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MATCH DAY THREE

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Paul Magee sent a late notice, "Oh, I won't be able to play tonight, I've got a bung back, sorry". This raised significant suspicions as Paul has spent the last week lounging on the beach in Fiji. So, Paul left it to the other scheduled players to fight it out, with much discussion in the background to work out what he's up to. Is this the equivalent of the 'Magee Swarm', a mere psychological ploy to throw the other players? Or is he running scared, seeing how close the competition has become this season?

The first sign of this closeness for the evening came in the opening matches. The Dave Derby kicked things off, Dave R playing his first fixture for the season against David G. In a tight tussle, Dave R came out on top 1-0. On the other pitch, reigning champion, Adrian, yet again found the going difficult and, once again, dropped points in his defense of the title. Ethan had a couple of early half-chances but then the game settled into Adrian peppering Ethan's goal with shot after shot. But nothing was getting past Ethan's 'keeper tonight and he came away with a heroically backs-to-the-wall 0-0 draw.

Ben then joined for his first League match of the season, but had difficulty manoeuvring his semi-polished figures around the pitch. Franck eased to a 3-0 half time lead. Ben found some more form for the second half, though, which finished without any further scoreboard action. Dave R faced Ethan and a titanic battle ensued, with both players pushing for a goal but, simultaneously, keeping their defenses tight. Both have improved greatly over the last year and pushed each other to the limit. A solitary goal midway through the second half was enough for Ethan to take all 3 points, however, capping off a memorable evening for one of the League's younger players.

The final round was highly entertaining on both pitches. Ben's improving defensive structures meant that Dave R was often thwarted, in spite of monopolising possession. To add to his frustrations, on the few occasions Dave R did break through and slot the ball past Ben's 'keeper, he found himself with a figure off-side, errors that almost cost him the match. Late in the game, he finally found a legitimate goal, a quick move catching Ben off guard to slide the ball past his 'keeper. Before the final round, the players had all had a chance to touch the prestigious Spring League trophy, and Franck, the early leader on the points table, seemed to get spooked by being so close to the prize! Early in his following game, the crowd was in amazed uproar as David G went into the lead against Franck, Franck choking under the aura of the trophy. Playing with greater freedom, David G was trying things out, and succeeding. David G was reveling in his new-found attacking ability and put a further 2 goals past Franck across the course of the game. Unfortunately, this also opened his defense up a little too much, with Franck able to respond with 4 goals of his own in an absolute League classic.

So, after 3 match days, the table is beginning to take some sort of shape. In spit of Franck having played the most games so far, his lead on the points table is well deserved and, currently, greater than the games in hand of those immediately below him, including a languishing Adrian. Ethan has made a brilliant start to his first Spring League, taking points from a number of the top contenders and positioning himself very well after 5 games. The middle of the table is suitably tight considering the closeness of most games. With a handful of players to begin their League campaigns of the next couple of weeks, the table should really begin to warm up.

MATCH DAY TWO

Saturday, September 9, 2023

A huge afternoon on a glorious Spring day to really get the 2023 Spring League motoring along. 2 players, Josh and David W, made their Spring League débuts while Vince, Louis, Othniel and Tim played their first matches for this season. Franck, Ray and Adrian joined in for their second lot of fixtures meaning 12 of the League's 18 players have now got their season underway.

Tim got off to a flying start in his game against Othniel and was soon cruising at 2-0. In what was to become a theme for the day, though, Othniel mounted a comeback and had the score at 2-1 by half-time. He kept going, first scoring the equaliser then having a golden opportunity to win the game late, but 2-2 it remained. Franck and Louis had an equally close tussle in the first half of their match. Louis' goalkeeper was often slow to action, but brilliant once engaged. 1-1 at half time until Franck found another gear and finally managed to break Louis' resolve to take a 3-1 win. Josh had a nervous first ever competitive game and, while performing admirably across the pitch in general, had no answer to Ray's cut throat attacking thrust, Ray running out a 3-0 victor. David W, likewise, was good in general play, but couldn't match Vince's attacking composure, Vince also gaining a 3-0 win.

Round two saw Franck ease past Tim, 2-0, an improvement on Franck's part as the duo had previously always drawn in competitive matches. Louis and David W had a boisterous and entertaining 0-0 draw, both picking up their first point of the season. Othniel used some excuse about an "open house" (or something along those lines, according to Louis) to avoid having to face Ray. However, he was back by half time and so the pair played their first half - Ray taking an early lead but Othniel then making his comeback for 1-1 at the half way mark. Vince had a stranded goalkeeper moment in his game, leaving Adrian with a relatively simple open goal, only for Adrian to do the legendary Gordy move, hit the upright with his shot and send the ball out for a goalflick. To rub salt into the wound, Vince then proceeded to shoot from deep in his own half at a ball only half visible behind a defender, putting it into the top far corner of Adrian's goal. In the second half, for the second time in a week, Adrian celebrated a goal out loud, equalising with a few minutes left. 1-1 it finished.

In the final round, Adrian's frustrations continued as Louis' goalkeeper was, again, the player of the match. With Adrian sending more and more figures forward, nothing could get past that little metal figure. Finally, in the second half, a trickled shot finally did the trick, just managing to scrape over the line and break Louis' defenses. A second late in the game left the final score at 2-0. David W had a few chances but couldn't find his shooting range, with Franck heading to a 3-0 lead by midway in the second half. David W was not to be discouraged, however, and finally slotted home his first League goal to make the final score 3-1. Othniel's comeback run finally broke against Vince, who had a relatively straight forward 3-0 victory, helped by Othniel's ability to distract himself from his own game. Tim took another lead into half time only to have it eroded in the second, this time by Josh, scoring his first ever League goal and picking up his first points with a 1-1 final scoreline.

Which left just the second half of Ray and Othniel's game to be finished up after all the other fixtures were done. The growing crowd didn't help Othniel's concentration and Ray was able to head back into the lead half way through the second half, beautifully cutting back in from the right to then blast into the goal. He looked comfortable from there, holding most of the possession and keeping Othniel right out of the game, until the final minute when a block flick by Ray inadvertently opened up an unlikely long shot for Othniel. Othniel hit the ball perfectly, only for Ray's little subbuteo 'keeper to make a fingertip save with the gathered crowd roaring in amazement at the sequence which could have made Othniel the ultimate final minute comeback king. There was to be a further twist, though. The tension finally broke Ray and, with just seconds left on the clock, he choked as Othniel's innocuous looking play suddenly found him in front of goal and the final flick of the game sending both the ball and the defending figure into the back of the net, to the delight of Othniel and the crowd, with Ray slumping to the table in disbelief. Othniel had pulled it off again! 

MATCH DAY ONE

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

And so it begins! A mild Tuesday evening provided the backdrop for the opening 9 fixtures of what will be a massive 153 matches to get the 2023 Spring League completed. Steve returned after a few seasons out and the banteromoter was immediately set pulsing. Unfortunately for Steve, his opening 1-0 loss to League debutant, Ethan, meant the banter was mostly aimed at himself - "You don't play for a year and you think, 'I really miss playing, I can't wait to get back into it'. Ten minutes into it and you think, 'f***, why do I do this to myself!??". Defending champion, Adrian, went to half time in his game with League debutant, David G, with a precarious 1-1 scoreline, following a stranded goalkkeper incident. Luckily for Adrian, David returned the favour in the second half as Adrian managed an unconvincing 3-1 victory. Ray and Franck had an excellent battle with both having numerous chances. The end result was 1-1, a good indication of events and testament to some great goalkeeping, with both players forced to use traditional (very little) plastic Subbuteo 'keepers.

Round 2 saw Steve get his season properly underway, with a comfortable 3-0 victory over David G, and Franck finished with the same scoreline over Ethan, who was unable to replicate his Round 1 heroics. Adrian maintained his psychological edge over Ray, leading 3-0 by the half-time break. Ray fought back in the second, though, winning the half but still recording a 3-1 loss.

The final round pitted all the experienced League players against each other, and none could be separated, with both Steve v Ray and Franck v Adrian ending in 1-1 draws. Most dramatically, Adrian managed an equaliser in the absolute final second before the final whistle blew after Franck had him up against the ropes. The battle of the debutants was where all the action was really happening, though, with David making constant complaints that his son was cheating in their encounter which Ethan won 3-0. Ethan was having none of it, accusing his father of being a bad sport each time he uncompromisingly fired in a goal, with the whole debacle ending in David telling Ethan to make his own way home.

Ah, yes! The Spring League is back in all its glory!

SPRING LEAGUE 2023 REGISTRATION

As the days begin to get longer, it can mean only one thing - the Western Sydney Subbuteo Spring League is COMING SOON!!!

The Western Sydney Subbuteo Spring League is Australia's longest continually running club league and the largest league in Australia. After a bumper 2022 Season, we're aiming to make 2023 the biggest league we've ever had. In 2022, Paul Magee lost his long held title to Adrian Elmer, a bunch of new or returning-after-a-few-years-off players joined in, and some old members improved their skills to earn career best placings.

The Western Sydney Subbuteo Spring League is free to enter and is open to all players, regardless of age, experience or ability. The only pre-requisite is that you are happy to then be counted as a member of the Western Sydney Subbuteo club (membership to the club is also free). If you don't have your own equipment, there is plenty at the Clubhouse which you can borrow. 

Games are played weekly during the Spring months, but players will, on average, only need to be available for about 2 of every 3 weeks. Games will generally be played at the Western Sydney Subbuteo Clubhouse in Toongabbie (though if others would like to host matches, this is also possible), with a variety of pitches used to test the versatility of every player. Players can nominate which days of the week work best for them and the draw will be worked out around whatever suits the majority of players, with different days used in different weeks to allow players with other commitments to still compete. 

A copy of the League rules will be e-mailed to you upon registration. If you'd like to see these before registering, just send an e-mail to Adrian at ajebec at netspace dot net requesting them.

Please note: Junior players are very welcome. Due to child protection rules, just be aware that you'll need to be accompanied by a parent/guardian while attending.

2022 SPRING LEAGUE - WESTERN SYDNEY SUBBUTEO

2022 Western Sydney Spring League template.xlsx

MATCH DAY SEVEN

Scheduling difficulties saw the seventh and final match day spread across 3 dates in late November. The first of these was a Friday afternoon double fixture for Costa, both of which turned out to be tight games. Tim and he traded blows first up with neither player able to wrestle complete control over the other. Costa scored in the first half and hinted that he might get the upper hand, but a brilliant 2nd half equaliser from Tim with a shot on the run saw the pair share the points. Imojjen then faced off against her uncle. This time, Costa was able to hold on to the lead he established in the first half and took the 3 points with a 1-0 win to conclude the fixtures for both players.

Two days later, the masses converged on The Clubhouse on a fine Saturday morning to knock the majority of the rest of the games. The Godfather was back in action with a full quota of fixtures, He got off to a solid start with a stout 0-0 draw in what was Dave's final fixture in his successful return to the league. Louis was living dangerously with some of his (lack of) goalkeeping tactics but it has become clear that he is merely lulling his opponents into a false sense of security while, underneath, his cat like reflexes are drawn upon precisely when they are needed. Ray and Imojjen also remained goalless - a result which was, ultimately, beneficial to both in their quest for table positions.

The Godfather next faced Paul. Unlike last season's corresponding fixture, where a desperate Paul had to draw on all his reserves to move past a stubborn Louis, Paul was able to ease to a 2-0 victory this time, his final result meaning that Adrian would have to pick up points in order to dethrone Paul as Champion. The battle for 3rd place came down to a final game between Ray and Franck. Having played a mountain of games across 2022, Franck was, possibly, the Spring League's biggest improver and looked to be on his way in the first half after taking the lead and seeing a possible goal from Ray ruled out by VAR for not fully crossing the goal line. However, Ray had other ideas and somehow wrestled control of the match back with a blistering second half, edging it 2-1 by the final whistle to leaving him with an unassailable lead over Franck on the final table.

Franck was not to leave empty handed however and, while Louis was up to his old tricks in being far more difficult to break down than appearances would indicate, Franck was able to score the crucial goal that gave him victory in the match and 4th place in the final standings. In the other game, Imojjen played well, showing her significant improvement this season, but Vince's composure in front of goals proved the difference as he finished his campaign with a 2-0 victory.

And so to the final day, two leftover games played the following Friday. The first was between Othniel and Tim and was an even, entertaining affair with very little midfield play but lots of end to end action. Unfortunately, neither was able to take advantage of their many chances and the game ended in a goalless stalemate. For the League's final match, Adrian needed victory over Othniel to take the title. Othniel came out trash talking in overdrive, a factor which merely increased the longer the game remained goalless. Late in the first half, Adrian finally found the goal he needed. Othniel reacted with yet more banter, which sparked Adrian into shutting him up with more goals in the second half. The final 3-0 result meant that Adrian was able to take the title, care of his head-to-head victory over Paul, that has been held by Paul since 2019.

Down the table, Ray won the battle of the Micallefs, while Franck improved considerably on last year's results to finish in 4th place. As per league rules, players who end with the same points total have their head-to-head result used to determine their placing. If that was a draw, they finish in equal position and so Imojjen and Dave finished tied in 7th place, great improvements on previous seasons for both players. And so the season came to a close before the end of Spring (just!). The quality this season has been considerably improved, with not a single blowout result (oh, except for the Micallefs' disrespect towards the Godfather). New players have injected a renewed enthusiasm while the older hands have found new challenges in the improved standard. Only 9 months to go until the next season kicks off!


MATCH DAY SIX

Another split round saw match day six's true star, Othniel, get a huge 5 games in to bring him up to speed with everyone else. Two fixtures on Friday night saw him battle first Dave, then Imojjen. Unfortunately, the rust was hard to shake off for Othniel and he suffered two narrow losses. Dave picked up his second consecutive league victory. Imojjen then stepped out into The Clubhouse minutes after a 3 hour zoom interview. Her exhaustion, however, soon dissipated as she found her flicking groove and scored a fine goal on the run to take a slender victory.

On Sunday afternoon, Othniel returned, this time with Costa, Paul, Vince and Franck joining him. Franck and Vince played out an incredible draw. Vince thought he had taken the lead midway through the first half until the goal was ruled out for offside. To rub salt into the wound, Franck took the lead soon after and then added another early in the second half and appeared to be cruising against the deflated Vince. Vince, however, then rallied himself and, in an explosive 45 seconds, scored not 1 but 2 goals to tie up the score. Both pushed for a winner but the draw was a fair result for what had transpired. A staggered start time saw Costa take on Paul next. The low-key match went 2-0 Paul's way, as he doubled down on his concentration to make sure that the very real potential of slipping up against Costa did not come to pass, keeping the pressure on Adrian at the pointy end of the table.

Following Franck and Vince's game, Othniel began his run of three games in a row. First up was his clash with Franck. In an end to end game, with very little value placed on midfield build up, the two attacked and counter-attacked each other viciously, but to little effect as a mix of some rushed finishing and some excellent goalkeeping kept the game in a scoreless stalemate for its duration. Probably the most exciting 0-0 game of the entire league so far.

Costa had the honour of the next match v Othniel. As is often the case, the game was more notable for the excited commentary from Othniel than the on-field prowess, with Costa happy to chime in with excited responses, and a couple of goals, to take the honours.

The final game, between Othniel and Paul, was far more about the discussion of racism, politics, nationality and heritage than the actual Subbuteo, though Paul did manage to sneak a goal in each half without anyone else completely realising. A laid back game if ever there was one!

And so, with just a small number of games to go for each player, the table is still a long way from settled, with the middle and lower parts still particularly congested. Paul Magee heads to the top of the League for the first time this season. Will his points on the board be more valuable than Adrian's games in hand? The big question, though, is - has The Godfather finally conceded his role as the statesperson of the League? His late withdrawals with ever more spurious excuses are really making his opponents begin to question his commitment!

MATCH DAY FIVE

The Godfather was scheduled for three games on this Wednesday night fixture, but decided a couple of days out that it was too late for a school night. And so it was to Vince and Ray to come along and face games against each of Costa, Paul and Dave.

The first round provided two dour affairs, with nobody managing to excite either audiences or scoreboard. A solitary goal to Paul in his game against Ray was enough to keep his slender title aspirations alive, while Vince and Costa cancelled each other out.

In the second round things got a bit more exciting. Paul kept his nose in front of Vince with an unanswered goal in each half, as well as some close misses which were expertly caught on camera by Costa. In possibly the evening's most exciting match, Ray took the lead against Dave midway through the first half. An improving Dave, however, was carving out some chances of his own. He finally managed to find the back of the net, only to have pointed out that neither he nor Ray had noticed one of Dave's figures in an off-side position. From Ray's ensuing free kick, he swept downfield to add insult to injury, scoring a second goal. The two Arsenals continued the tussle, but the scoreline remained at full time.

Vince's lacklustre form followed him into the evening's final round of fixtures. In spite of scoring yet another goal which was ruled out by a VAR check for off-side, Dave did manage to score a fair goal and was able to hold on for his first ever victory. In a heavyweight slug out on the televised pitch, it was a case of small margins being the difference. Costa made one costly defensive mistake, which proved to be the difference between he and Ray, as Ray was able to pounce for the game's only goal.

With things now shifting well and truly into the second half of the season, he table is taking on a more settled look, though the logjam of players in the middle of the placings will still take a fair bit of sorting over the final few matchdays.

vince v louis spring league 2022.mp4

MATCH DAY FOUR

Another split round with some Sunday games from Micallef Mansion...

The Godfather came out firing with his pre- and mid-game trash talk but it back fired quickly with 3 first half goals to establish a solid lead for Arsenal. An early second half goal wasn’t enough and a 5-1 win was secured. It was more a defensive battle between Vince and the GF with some great saves to keep the score 0-0 at half time. A late goal secured the victory for Liverpool in the end.

------

Paul's constant standing to attention during all the recent royal remembrance services saw him damage his knee so he was a late no-show. Luckily, others were able to take up his slack, with Dave dropping in for a single competitive fixture (and bringing his daughter, Jess, along for her formal introduction to the game) and Adrian filling in the gap against Costa. In that game, Adrian scored an early goal but struggled to impose himself on the game and was never quite comfortable as Costa mounted his attacks and defended firmly. The game finished 1-0. Imojjen was taking on Franck on the slick pitch but had a shocker, never quite waking up and shipping two unanswered goals as Franck eased to the win.

Opponents were then swapped but, remarkably, the scores finished exactly the same. This time Costa conceded the solitary goal to Franck, while Imojjen slept through another 2-0 defeat, this time to Adrian. The final round saw Dave take on Costa. A goal in each half gave some points respectability to Costa's evening after his two earlier unlucky defeats.

Joining us on the night was the aforementioned Jess, who played some friendly games against her dad and Imojjen, and Lee, returning for a couple more friendly games as he learns the ropes. And the Western Sydney Subbuteo live streaming services took another step forward in quality, allowing the evening's three Pitch 1 games to go live to the world.   

Vince v Ray ready for flick-off

MATCH DAY THREE

A split round for this week as the Micallef Mafia had their matches scheduled internally on Sunday afternoon at Micallef Mansion. A report from Ray:

As the scores reflect, it was a fast paced, attacking style of of game with lots of shots on goal from both teams. The 'keepers had to pull off some solid saves to prevent the score on either side blowing out and, despite a late comeback from Vince's Liverpool, Arsenal's early lead was enough to get them home 5-3.

The Godfather hadn't had his coffee yet so Vince v Louis and Ray v Louis have been postponed 'til next week.

Not that caffeine will help the Godfather!

-----

There was some confusion in the days leading up to the Monday fixtures as a number of players were desperate not to miss the Queen's funeral telecast. Paul learned he would be able to catch a replay on the Glasgow Celtic website the next day, so reluctantly committed to honouring his fixtures. Meanwhile, Othniel made a last minute withdrawal, citing having to watch 'a lecture', sending organisers into a mad panic to reschedule fixtures for the evening. This meant the key fixture of Paul v Adrian was brought forward by a week, a fact that Paul only discovered (not having kept up with communications throughout the day) on his arrival, much to his disgust.

Opening proceedings, though, Franck and Tim played on the livestream pitch. A tight opening half saw them go to the break at 0-0, before Franck was finally able to break Tim's resolve, and slot 2 unanswered goals in the second half. Meanwhile, Dave was determined not to let his old school mate get the better of him. A combination of competitive nerves on his part, and Dave's determined defending, meant Adrian had visions of dropping vital points in a game he was expected to win. In the end, a solitary goal, which trickled past Dave's 'keeper, was enough to take the hard-earned 3 points.

Round two saw Tim and Dave go head to head. It was a game both players felt they might have a chance at winning but, in the end, they cancelled each other out completely, with 0-0 the final score. Paul faced Adrian on the livestream pitch and it was as tense a game as could be expected from the league's top two seeds. Early mind games involving underplaying their own relative abilities, swapping out goalkeepers and bemoaning different pitch conditions had no significant effect on either as a tight midfield battle ensued. Ultimately, the difference was a single, 5 second period of play where Adrian found a small gap in Paul's defense and utilised it on the run to take the lead late in the first half. He was able to hold on to that, with a late 'Magee Swarm' going pearshaped as soon as it began as Paul attempted to find the equaliser.

The final game saw the League's most experienced player against its most inexperienced. However, midway through the first half, Tim sent shockwaves through the room taking the lead with a goal that Paul would have been proud of himself, sending a moving ball from a flick-in manoeuvre to bulge the back of the net. Despite video later showing there had been an off-side in the previous phase of play, with no VAR in place (and neither player noticing), the goal stood. Paul had to really settle into his game from there and was back equal by half time. In the second half, with renewed resolve, he was able to put two more past Tim to take the game, but notice had been served to the entire League - Tim was not to be taken lightly.

The addition of some friendly games and a brand new (though resolutely non-league!) player, Lee, made for another friendly and fun evening for Western Sydney Subbuteo.

MATCH DAY TWO

The season's first Saturday outing was moved forward a couple of hours to give Ray the chance to go and watch the boganball in the evening and the arrival of the Micallef Mafia was the sign that the Spring League was well and truly in full swing. In order to utilise the daylight to give players more space in The Clubhouse, one of the Pegasus pitches was moved into the outdoor shade, a decision that had consequences down the track!

First up, the league's newest and youngest player this season, Tim, made his debut against Vince. While putting in an excellent display and scoring on debut, in the end it was Vince's experience which took him to a 2-1 victory. Othniel came out fighting in his clash with Ray, and it was a tight 1st half and 1-1 at the break. The wheels then fell off for Othniel, however, and Ray galloped to a comfortable 4-1 win. Meanwhile, on the outdoor pitch, the surface, which had been carefully placed in the shade a few hours earlier, now found itself warping in the full sunlight as the sun wound its way across the sky. And so Louis and Imojjen were left to deal with the consequences. They both did this admirably in a tight struggle, but it was Imojjen who came out on top with a slim 1-0 victory.

Round two saw Othniel and Louis on the livestream pitch. Othniel ran rampant, slotting 4 unanswered goals home to get his season underway. Adrian and Vince headed to the outdoor pitch which was really feeling the heat now, with some areas becoming very unpredictable. Adrian led 1-0 at the break after a speculative long shot that neither player could quite believe had succeeded. He then gifted Vince a goal with an appalling travelling 'keeper error early in the second half to give him visions of dropping points to Vince yet again in the league. However, in the end, Vince cries that the pitch conditions were to blame for his 3-1 loss fell in deaf ears. In the other game, the season's first big shock came when one of the league's perpetual darkhorses, Ray, found himself a goal behind to Tim at the break. Attempts to draw on his skill and experience to get himself back into the match in the second half were fruitless, as Tim added a second to really announce his arrival in the league.

The final round saw Vince take on Othniel on the outside pitch. By this time, the pitch had expanded fully in the sun and was back to its flat self, allowing for more accurate flicking - though the wind that was picking up did have some effect. It was difficult to blame conditions for the lacklustre game, though, a dour 0-0 draw never threatening to become a league classic. On the livestream pitch, Ray seemed to have been mentally shattered by his loss to Tim and allowed a steady stream of goals from Adrian into the back of his net. A late consolation cheered him a little, but the 4-1 loss put another significant dent in his title aspirations. Conversely, Tim's exertions against Ray seemed to have taken it out of him, and he struggled to find his groove again against Louis. The game finished in a 0-0 draw, Louis' first point of the new season. 

Ray v Othniel (front); Vince v Tim (back)

MATCH DAY ONE

There was excitement in the Clubhouse air as the new season's first 5 competitors filed in. The two pitches had been freshly vacuumed and the little plastic balls were running true.

First up was Dave, playing his first competitive match since 2015, against Franck.  A little bit of new season rust needed to be shaken off but both players soon settled into a groove. Franck had the better of the shots, but Dave transferred his real life goalkeeping onto the small pitch and kept Franck at bay. It wasn't until halfway through the second half where Franck's best, most delicate chipped shot of the evening, finally snuck through the tiniest of gaps in Dave's defense to  earn his 1-0 win. Meanwhile, Paul opened his title defense with an encounter against the  greatly improving Imojjen. In what would usually be a foregone conclusion in the Spring League, Paul struggled to break Imojjen down. The half time break finally allowed his team a good half time spray from the manager, and they came out and went into the lead inside the first minute of the second half. Imojjen would not roll over and concede the game, however, and continued to doggedly press Paul, creating a few chances of her own. In the end, it was a hard fought victory to Paul, who was full of the empty rhetoric learned from watching one too many boganball post match interviews.

Round two pitted Dave against Imojjen. The exertions of their respective opening games seemed to dull their follow up. Imojjen dominated without carving out too many clear-cut opportunities, while Dave continued to get the muscle memory back into his flicking without troubling Imojjen much where it counts. A 0-0 draw ensued. Franck and Paul, on the other hand, seemed to have thrown all Subbuteo tactical sense to the wind. While Paul opened up an early lead, Franck returned serve and a loud, expansive game had them 2-2 well into the second half. Paul then pulled a little from his stock of experience and put two unanswered goals home to take the match.

In the final round, Franck's stamina appeared to wane. A fresh Adrian was able to put two goals past him, though Franck was able to carve out a few opportunities, and Adrian survived one very close stranded traveling 'keeper scare when Franck unwittingly played himself offside. Dave showed that he was really growing back into the game putting a season opening goal past defending champion, Paul. Unfortunately for Dave, Paul was also in good touch, and put three past the 'keeper that Dave had so well manipulated in his previous two games.

So, a mixed bag of dour defense, zany attack and recycled cliches made for a great opening to the 2022 Spring League. 

2022 Western Sydney Subbuteo Spring League

Has it really been a year?!? Well, OK, no, not really. COVID played a bit of havoc with last season's Spring League, so we didn't get started until late October and, with a Christmas/New Year break built in, finished in April! But, Spring waits for no-one, and now it is time to begin preparations for the 2022 season.

The Western Sydney Subbuteo Spring League is the largest league in Australia and (aside from the 2020 COVID washout), in running every year since 2014, is also Australia's longest continually running club league. We're hoping to make 2022 the biggest season yet (with whispers of creating two divisions if we can get enough players), so join up now!! In recent years, Paul Magee has established himself as the league master, retaining his title in the 2021 edition.

The Western Sydney Subbuteo Spring League is free to enter and is open to all players, regardless of age, experience or ability. The only pre-requisite is that you are happy to then be counted as a member of the Western Sydney Subbuteo club (membership to the club is also free). If you don't have your own equipment, there is plenty at the Clubhouse which you can borrow. 

Games are played weekly during the Spring months, but players will, on average, only need to be available for about 2 of every 3 weeks. Games will be played at the Western Sydney Subbuteo Clubhouse in Toongabbie, with a variety of pitches used to test the versatility of every player. Players can nominate which days of the week work best for them and the draw will be worked out around whatever suits the majority of players, with different days used in different weeks to allow players with other commitments to still compete.

A copy of the League rules will be e-mailed to you upon registration. If you'd like to see these before registering, just send an e-mail to Adrian at ajebec at netspace dot net requesting them.

Please note: Junior players are very welcome. Due to child protection rules, just be aware that you'll need to be accompanied by a parent/guardian while attending.

2021 SPRING LEAGUE - WESTERN SYDNEY SUBBUTEO

2021 Western Sydney Spring League.xlsx

Match Day 10

It's 2022! The 2021 Spring League continues!! Well, there was a hope it might even finish tonight but the Greeks let us down. We'll see if we let them play again. The important part of deciding the season's title winner was able to be resolved, however, with both Paul M's final games going ahead. With two games in hand, he started the evening 5 points behind Adrian, so needed two victories to retain the title he won in the last Spring League in 2019.

Firs round of games saw Paul S take on Louis. A tight game ensued but Louis put himself ahead early in the second half. Paul managed an equaliser with about 5 minutes remaining after Louis' spare 'keeper was stranded. However, a referral to VAR showed one of Paul's figures to be offside and the goal was scratched. The final score remained 1-0 to Louis. On the other pitch, Paul attacked for the first two minutes, only to concede the opening goal on Vince's first foray into the shooting area. He composed himself, though, and patiently clawed back into the lead by half time, with two clinical finishes from wide angles. A tense second half finished with Paul holding Vince out to complete the first half of his task.

The second round had Ray against Paul S. With figures flying in all directions an exciting game finished with Ray taking a 2-0 victory. Paul M and Louis' respective table positions meant that their game should have been a foregone conclusion. However, Subbuteo is not played on paper and Louis proceeded to frustrate Paul at every turn. Even when not getting his 'keeper to hand in time to save Paul's shots, the ball couldn't find the back of the net - over and over and over.  0-0 at half time and Paul was seeing his title slipping away...until a minute into the second half, when The Godfather finally cracked. 1-0 to Paul. The relief was palpable, but there was still time for more twists. Louis found himself in his own shooting positions and might have equalised with 5 minutes to go. However, Paul kept him out then managed a second to ease to the title after an extremely tense two games.

The third round fixture matched Paul S with Vince. Vince managed a 1-0 victory in another closely fought match. The fact that Vince had such tight tussles with both Pauls - one the League Champion and the other near the foot of the table, demonstrates the benefits that regular league play has had on all players, with no games being a foregone conclusion and every player able to push every other player in the league.

So, a stop-start league is decided. There are still some important mid to upper table positions to be jostled over, but Paul M successfully retains his title of Western Sydney Subbuteo Champion. Well done, Paul, and well done to every player involved.

Match Day 9

With the Micallefs unable to make the Thursday night session, Match Day 9 was a split round. Paul Stockbridge drove down from Newcastle with his car blowing smoke and driving on 3 wheels a to play his game against Adrian. Unfortunately, his luck didn't change on the pitch and Adrian eased to a 3-0 victory.

A week later and Franck was back in action with his match up against Imojjen. A tight game saw Imojjen probably edge it in possession terms but Franck having the better scoring opportunities. 2 of his shots rolled across the goal line during the game, but Imojjen ultimately kept them out to keep the scoreline 0-0. Steve took on Ben on his own, newly claimed pitch, and was 1-0 up after 30 seconds and a miss-hit that trickled into the goal. Ben battled well from there with no further goals. 

Steve then took on Franck in a highly entertaining match with both players complaining of the polish stripping qualities of the new pitch. Steve struck a goal in the first half, but was never completely comfortable and only secured the points with a 2nd goal deep into the final minute of the game. Meanwhile, Paul looked to make his run towards the top of the table against Ben. Ben held out until late in the first half but then Paul's pressure paid dividends. By full time, Paul had stretched his lead to 3, while always remaining careful to play overtly sportingly so as not to appear as a jerk in the week's match reports.

The final round saw Franck play Adrian in the final league game for both. Having played each other in a friendly on the very first Match Day of the League, a vastly improved Franck made Adrian work much  harder this time around. Adrian's experience got him through to a 3-0 victory but, with all his games now played, Adrian will watch nervously over his shoulder, hoping someone can take points off Paul to stop Paul overtaking him. Imojjen was unable to do this in her final game against Paul. She talked herself into giving away a stranded traveling 'keeper goal in the first half. She played well, overall, despite going down 3-0 in the end. 

One thing the League has provided this season is close competition on all parts of the points table, with congestion featuring prominently in a number of areas of the tally. With one (postponed) Match Day to play, the champion is yet to be confirmed, the second tier of places are still to be highly contested and even the entire lower third of the table is far from settled. A great season is drawing to a great close.

Match Day 8

There is a table footballing term that was born at Western Sydney Subbuteo and is in common use throughout the greater Sydney table footballing community. Named after legendary player, Gordon Dudley, the term 'did a Gordy' means that an attacking player has failed to score a goal when the defender's goalkeeper is stranded on the pitch, leaving an open goal for the attacker to shoot at. On Saturday, November 27, 2021, the Subbuteo world witnessed a moment that will be remembered forever when defending Spring League champion, Paul Magee, did the greatest Gordy of all time. Paul has the slimmest of upper hands in his bid to retain his title, but knew that he could not afford to drop any points which could allow Adrian, Steve, or both, to slide ahead of him. In his opening game of Match Day 7, against Othniel, the pressure was appearing to make him nervous in a game everyone knew he should win but which could definitely pose a bit of a banana skin. As the first half wore on, Paul wasn't quite dominating as would be expected and was missing some finer touches, also allowing Othniel a few attacking opportunities. In the final minute of the half, however, Othniel made the crucial mistake. Bringing on his traveling 'keeper, he flicked at the ball and missed it, leaving Paul in possession with an open goal. Paul's first flick saw the ball headed goalwards, only to make contact with the post and leave the ball sitting on the goal-line. No huge problem yet, though, a touch on the ball from any figure would see it easily cross the line. Othniel tried to defend the situation but couldn't cover every angle. Paul flicked an attacker towards the ball. The figure crashed into the same post and missed the ball completely. It finished millimetres from the ball and, in the grand scheme of things, possibly, his league securing goal.

As it turned out, the miss had no effect on the match result or Paul's league standing. In spite of Othniel's best efforts, Paul was more composed in the second half, slotting 2 goals for the victory. Avoiding the TFM Muddy Pitch™, Steve and Vince squished their game next to Paul and Othniel. In a classic back and forth battle Vince held the upper hand until the final few seconds. Then a quick one-two saw Steve score an equaliser - with the final whistle sounding. Technically, the goal came after the end of the game, though was part of a swift move that started before that whistle sounded. Left to sort it out, Vince and Steve decided the game deserved a 2-2 scoreline and that was the result entered - emblematic of the great camaraderie and sporting spirit in the League.

In the next round, Steve and Louis had a friendly, though one-sided, all Manchester Utd derby, with Steve coming out as the winner. Vince opened the scoring in his game against Othniel with the goal of the afternoon, a superb chip from distance that seemed so unlikely, Othniel hadn't even properly grabbed his 'keeper to try and save it. Vince scored another before half time but Othniel made a much more even game of the second half, the score finishing at 2-0. In his encounter against Ray, Paul scored an early goal but then Ray made him work hard to hold his lead until full time, the 1-0 result keeping Paul on track for his title.

The final two games saw Othniel ease to a 2-0 victory against Louis (the Godfather accusing Othniel of practising too much!), while Steve scored the same result in a key match-up against Ray.

The afternoon's results meant Paul is reeling Adrian in, while Steve has just slipped off the pace ever so slightly. But there is more than just title honours at stake, with mini-tournaments within the tournament keeping everyone interested. In the battle of the Micallefs, Vince has slid past his brother, Ray (oops, did I just write that out loud?) and Othniel has decided his lower-mid-table position is enough to allow him to roast some of the players below him, though Paul, who had suffered the brunt of some of Othniel's quips after the epic Gordy, did keep him in line with one barbed put-down about the two goals Othniel had conceded in their match. All part of another afternoon's great fun and enjoyment!

Match Day 7

The power is back on in The Old Clubhouse and so the Subbuteo is also back on! Costa faced Paul S and put a lot of pressure on Paul. This led to an opening goal, surprising even Costa as his shot accurately hit the exact spot for which he was aiming! The score remained this way as Paul's 'keeper put on a powerhouse display. Meanwhile, Steve and Othniel, having just met, were getting acquainted on the pitch. While Othniel held his own across most of the pitch, his final touch leading to a shooting chance consistently let him down. Steve, on the other hand, eased to a goal in each half without the same issues, the shooting area experience being the telling factor across an entertaining game.

Imojjen then had a crack at Steve, also playing well across most of the pitch but her final flicks into shooting opportunities were also letting her down. Again, Steve found a goal in each half to slide his season's points tally upwards, giving him a real shot at the title as the late bolter. Paul and Othniel played out a 5-5, sorry, 0-0 draw, neither player able to wake the scorekeeper up.

In the final round of games, Costa really found his form, with his shooting stepping up a notch. A loudly contested match saw him slot 4 past Othniel who had no answers for the marauding Greek who was definitely not playing to cultural norms. He gave Othniel a trigonometry lesson (which Greeks apparently invented) with his precise shooting. On the other pitch, a clearly flagging Paul was punting the ball to the sideline at every opportunity. Imojjen built up the pressure as the game wore on, finally getting some shots on target, only to be thwarted by Paul's 'keeper, whose fine form across the evening was capped off by this match saving performance. 

So Costa slips into 2nd place on the table after his fine evening, but it is two players with games in hand, Paul Magee and Steve, who are reeling in current table leader, Adrian. There is just as much congestion at the other end of the table with all players continuing to pick up points from each other.  With just 3 match days left to play, there is still a great deal of jostling for table positions to be had.

Match Day 6

A power outage in the Western Sydney Subbuteo Clubhouse as a result of renovations meant that this afternoon's fixtures were moved to the 'Carport Clubhouse'. In spite of weather predictions in the days leading up that the wind would be gone by the afternoon, it kept up and was a bit of a factor during the games. The early game saw Adrian and Othniel play the 2nd half of their game that had started the previous Sunday. Othniel had taken an early lead which had snapped Adrian into action, coming from behind to lead 2-1 at the break, when Othniel had to leave. Midway through the delayed second half, Othniel pulled another goal back and a huge upset was on the cards. However, a traveling 'keeper error saw Adrian snatch a 3rd with 5 minutes to go, which proved to be the winner.

By this time, the crowd had built up, enjoying the intensity of the final few minutes. And so the players went to the first round of fixtures across the three pitches (including, fittingly after all the water that has fallen in Sydney over the last few days, the infamous Muddy Pitch). Vince scored an early goal against Imojjen but, from there, the game settled into an even contest which couldn't produce any more goals. Ben and Ray worked hard on the muddy pitch. Ben has grown to love it and used his experience on it to grind out a well-earned 0-0 draw against Ray. Othniel took an early lead in his match against Franck but Franck excitedly hit back with his first ever competitive goal. Othniel, who had finally remembered to bring his own team along after a few match days of borrowing, played with determination to leave the final scoreline at 3-1.

The next set of fixtures had Adrian facing The Godfather (Louis). It was a tight opening half with the scores remaining level and Adrian (who knew any points dropped would allow Paul Magee a look-in at retaining his League title) was getting more nervous. He finally cracked Louis' stern defence midway through the second half, before a second eased the nerves. Ray gave Franck a bit of a Subbuteo lesson as the scoreline blew out in their fixture. On the muddy pitch, again, Ben clashed with Othniel. The two were more interested in throwing shapes for the photographer than concentrating on their game but, in the end, Othniel edged it 1-0.

The final fixtures saw Louis matched up with Imojjen and Vince with Adrian. Ray was drafted in to referee in the former match, believing The Godfather wasn't above trying to put one over Imojjen on the pitch. This led to loud complaints from Louis from the outset, accusing Ray of cheating even before the first whistle had blown when Imojjen one the coin toss. The game itself was an even battle with a few chances each way but neither player able to break the deadlock. An indentical 0-0 was played out in the other game. Adrian attacked with purpose, again knowing that only a win would guarantee him maintaining his points gap over Paul. However, Vince was in a determined mood, his 'keeper making a number of fine saves. One particularly brilliant save in the last 10 seconds of the first half saw the ball spin viciously towards the other end of the pitch. Both players recognised what was happening and were seen bolting to the other end where Vince shot the still spinning ball just wide of Adrian's goal as Adrian scrambled to try and get his 'keeper in his hand. In the second half, as Adrian pushed for the breakthrough, he took more and more liberties pushing defenders forward, leaving himself exposed to the counter attack. Vince pounced on a number of occasions but, in the end, neither play could find a winning goal.

Another brilliant match day with lots of enjoyment for all, and all players able to see the improvements they've been making with consistent playing. Adrian still sits atop the points table but the matches in hand for those chasing him mean that the table is a little misleading and far tighter than it might, at first appear. Meanwhile, every player has picked up points and the middle and lower parts of the table are also highly congested. As the League heads into its final few match days, we are headed for an exciting conclusion.


Match Day 5

Othniel had an early look at tonight's fixtures, got spooked and decided to head for the hills. Literally. Too scared to play, he decided to spend the evening in the Blue Mountains! Which left just two of the evening's fixtures able to be played, but they were two of the crunch matches for how the top of the table might turn out.

First up, Western Sydney Subbuteo's two surviving foundation members, Costa and Adrian, went head to head. The game was a huge arm wrestle with both players creating chances. Neither was able to find the net in an extremely tense first half. 5 minutes into the second and Adrian finally chipped Costa's 'keeper to break the deadlock. Within seconds of the restart Costa created a chance of his own, with his shot just going wide and Adrian knowing it was going to be a long long game if he simply tried to park the bus. The game continued to-ing and fro-ing until Costa's one poor defensive flick of the night allowed Adrian a regulation shot on goal which he dispatched to finally seal the points. It was an epic match with both players sweating by the end.

Adrian then faced Steve, the only other player, along with Costa, who has taken points from reigning champ and current table leader, Paul (Adrian having been beaten by Paul), so another titanic struggle was on the cards. Again, both players created chances in the first half - Steve edging it in terms of shots but finding his radar being off. Again, 0-0 at the break. The second half  was Adrian's turn to edge it in the shots department, though both players were still causing the other problems. Half way through, Adrian found a way through and was able to chip it over Steve's 'keeper. There aren't often goal celebrations in the Spring League, but Adrian was heard to emit an involuntary 'yes!', knowing how much was riding on the goal, and the difficulty there would be in getting many clear chances. Steve looked for the equaliser but Adrian was able to hold on.

Special mention goes to the photographers on the night. Two of the goals were caught with the ball mid-air, a few close calls and reactions were snapped and Steve's reactions to one wayward shot from Adrian was particularly, shall we say, balletic.

Match Day 4

With travel finally allowed between Greater Sydney and the rest of NSW, Paul Stockbridge was able to join us for his first games (Paul lives north of Newcastle, but works in Parramatta Thursdays and Fridays, meaning he can join us while he stays over on Thursday nights). And so the League is now able to really take some shape. His first game was against Ben - could there be a more humour infused match-up!? The game ended in a stalemate, but both players were happy to avoid a first up defeat for the night. Meanwhile, the Elmer derby took place on Pitch No. 1. The sledging flew in both directions while the general play was evenly balanced but Adrian was able to put a goal past Imojjen's 'keeper in each half.

The 'Paul' derby was next up (if the A-League can throw up ridiculous derby names, WSS can do even better!) but this ended a bit more one-sided, Magee outdoing Stockbridge 4-0. In his game against Franck, Ben scored an early scorcher then set up his defensive line. Franck accepted the invitation to attack and peppered Ben's defensive line for the next 25 minutes but Ben held on for his first competitive win.

He repeated the feat in the final round of games with another early goal against Imojjen. While Imojjen then dominated the game and had numerous shots, Ben's 'keeper stood firm as he ground out the win. Franck and Paul Stockbridge played on Pitch No. 2 and Paul notched up his second goalless draw of the evening, both players edging their way up the points tables. Franck, in particular, is becoming a master of the drawn game, with 4 of his 6 so far ended tied up.

On Sunday, Othniel was able to play his game against Imojjen. In an even, open game, Othniel managed to get one of his shots on target while making a few saves at the other end to keep Imojjen at bay.

Match Day 3

Match Day 3 saw the Spring League really get into full swing with 7 matches played. The Godfather  (Louis) returned to Toongabbie and started the afternoon in fine voice, asking for rule changes and extra considerations for his playing style. He did squeeze a goal past Ben's defense, though, to earn his first point of the season. Adrian and Ray's game started with a bang. Ray's 'keeper turned a shot away for a corner inside the opening minute, only for Adrian to take the lead a few seconds later with a deft chip. Not to be outdone, it took Ray less than 30 seconds to get back on level terms with his own piece of well worked build up and delicate chip finish. After some tussling for control, however, Adrian took the ascendancy and was up by 4-1 at half time. The second half was a complete stalemate with the scoreboard remaining untouched.

The day's second batch of games saw two extremely tight affairs. Franck and Vince battled on the muddy pitch and, not taking the advice to polish their figures well, found it tough going. Franck kept up his admirable start to his first League, with the game ending in a goalless stalemate. Imojjen and Ray finished with the same scoreline, though both players had their chances and Imojjen's 'keeper, in particular, had an excellent game, helping her to her first points in this year's League.

Having been held up at work, Othniel arrived in time for the afternoon's final fixtures. His extroversion got the better of him as he talked his way through his game against Ray, half playing, half reveling in the joy of finishing lockdown and having an audience! Ray was in fine form, though, with a series of deft finishes punishing the amazed Othniel, though Othniel did manage to pull one back himself. Franck and Louis battled out for another draw - Franck's third in a row in his admirable start. Meanwhile, Vince battled in the mud for another game. He went into the break with a 1 goal lead but Ben pulled one back early in the second half, scoring his first competitive goal with a screamer from a figure just inside his own half shooting into the top corner. Vince's patience paid off, however, finding the winner before full time.

So Ray edges to the top of the table having played a handful of matches but the League is proving to be tighter than usual, no players having a perfect record and the table still very congested.


Match Day 2

Match Day 2 was a split round, with Micallef Mansion hosting the heated Micallef derbies on Sunday. Over to Vince for the match reports:

Game 1- Ray v Vince. Battle of the brothers started cautiously from both sides with not a lot of shots both then Ray pulled off a sweet goal with a long shot chipping the keeper. Good tight game which ended 1-0 to Ray.
Game 2- Louis v Ray. Ray dominated the game quite well with Louis pulling off some nice shots but Ray was way too good and too strong scoring a nice goal and the second goal was a own goal according to Louis. 2-0 to Ray.
Game 3 - Louis v Vince. This game started off really slow with little action involved. Louis pulled off some sweet saves but the keeper couldn't save them all and unfortunately let one in with about 3 minutes to go in the second half. Close game which ended up in a 1-0 victory to Vince. The Godfather of Subbuteo will bounce back.

This was followed up with a handful of fixtures at The Old Clubhouse. After playing in a couple of the sporadically held COVID-years WASPA tournaments, Ben Vickers made his Spring League début. With a stated goal to get through the League without any of his results needing to be adjusted (the League has a 4 goal differential rule - no result is recorded as more than a 4 goal difference). His opening fixture was a tough one, but he played admirably against Adrian Elmer to get off to achieving his aim, the 4th goal coming in the final 10 seconds. Ben even excitedly scored a goal himself. Unfortunately it was ruled out as the shot was taken from near the halfway line! Steve Diasinos made his comeback in a first up battle of the titans against Paul Magee. Paul made all the running but his opening goal was pinned back by Steve's 'one shot, one goal' performance. With Paul congratulating Steve on his resolute defensive effort, Steve's reply (a phrase that will, no doubt, enter WSS folklore) was, "I didn't come here to defend"!
The Greek derby was up next. Steve opened the scoring, only to be pegged back quickly by Costa Kamarados' equaliser, but Steve took a 2-1 lead to the break. This blew out to 4-1 by full time, a result not completely reflective of the end-to-end nature of the game. Meanwhile, Paul had another heavyweight match against Adrian. A tight affair was edged by Paul, whose 1-0 victory was a fair reflection of proceedings and a big step forward for his title defense.
Closing out the evening was Costa v Ben. Costa eased to a 2-0 victory, but Ben showed he will be a nuisance to many players in the league, especially once his own Tanzanian team (the country where Ben grew up) arrives and completes quarantine.
The biggest part of the evening, though, was catching up with old friends, the games stretching out well beyond their allotted time frames as chatter, banter and backyard philosophy was enjoyed by everyone coming out of lockdown.

Match Day 1

It's exactly 3 days short of 2 years since the last Western Sydney Subbuteo Spring League game was played. The 2020 version was wiped out completely by COVID-19 and it was looking like the same might happen to the 2021 edition. However, after a two month delay, the opening night of fixtures took place.

The opening game saw reigning champion, Paul Magee, tackle Costa Kamarados. By half time, Costa was leading 1-0 and a major upset was on the cards. But Costa couldn't hold on to his lead for more than a minute in the second. From there, Paul largely bossed proceedings, but the mighty Greece '04 squad did what they do and held on stoutly for the draw. Apparently, Costa will be engraving the result on Paul's coffin sometime in the future.

Costa then took on Imojjen Elmer, returning to the Spring League after a haitus of a few years. Costa was on a roll after his opening fixture heroics, and quickly eased to a 2-0 lead. From, there, however, Imojjen settled in and controlled large periods of the game but couldn't find the goals that might have got her back in the running, the game ending as it had remained since Costa's early flurry. Meanwhile, league newcomer, Franck Cozzarin faced a baptism of fire against a wounded Paul. Franck has known about the game since childhood, but never had a set. In lockdown he's caught up with his childhood, gone wild buying equipment and teaching himself to play. He has learned quickly and, while Paul was able to register a comfortable 3-0 win, Franck was showing that he might cause some opponents great trouble during the league.

This came to pass in the night's final fixture. Whether it was the effects of three games on the run for Costa, or the lessons Franck had learned in his opening game, this match was an arm wrestle. While Costa made himself a number of shooting opportunities, Franck's goalkeeper was up to the task on every occasion. As the game progressed, Franck began to wrest control and had the Greeks setting a large defensive line. He was unable to make any clear chances though, but gained his first competitive point in a well earned draw.

Even though he's played more games than others, we have seen in the past that points on the board are crucial, and Costa has them at the end of Match Day 1.

It was great to be back!!

2021 Western Sydney Subbuteo Spring League

****UPDATE****
After our original start was thwarted by the Sydney lockdowns, recent announcements about the easing of restrictions actually allow us to run our Spring League for 2021, while complying with all restrictions.

The clubhouse is 25m sq, meaning we can have 6 players at each match day - 5 visitors and the host! (the clubhouse being part of a private residence). All players over the age of 16 will need to be fully vaccinated. It's still unclear whether facemasks will need to be worn but, if that is a requirement, we will abide by that. Otherwise it's all business as usual!!

***************

Running since 2014, The Western Sydney Subbuteo Spring League has become an institution and remains the cornerstone of the club's activities. Unfortunately, COVID-19 ruled out the possibility of running the league in 2020, but 2021 will see it return with a vengeance. Club stalwart, Paul Magee, won his second title in 2019 and, so, remains the incumbent champion.


The Western Sydney Subbuteo Spring League is free to enter and is open to all players, regardless of age, experience or ability. The only pre-requisite is that you are happy to then be counted as a member of the Western Sydney Subbuteo club (membership to the club is also free).

Games are played weekly during the Spring months, but players will, on average, only need to be available for about 2 of every 3 weeks. Games will be played at the Western Sydney Subbuteo Clubhouse in Toongabbie, with a variety of pitches used to test the versatility of every player. Players can nominate which days of the week work best for them and the draw will be worked out around whatever suits the majority of players, with different days used in different weeks to allow players with other commitments to still compete.

A copy of the League rules will be e-mailed to you upon registration. If you'd like to see these before registering, just send an e-mail to Adrian at ajebec at netspace dot net requesting them.

2019 SPRING LEAGUE - WESTERN SYDNEY SUBBUTEO

Match Day Two - The Old Clubhouse

A few late withdrawals left just a few games to be played - a few players already seem to be showing signs of being scared and are coming up with lame excuses like, "I have an exam tomorrow" or "my chronic back injury is still playing up". So it was left to Ben, Costa and Adrian to play each other. Ben was aiming for a draw in his opening game against Costa, but that was blown away in the opening moments with Costa scoring early. A slow procession of goals proceeded with Costa on fire. Ben got better as the game continued, but the result was never in doubt. The second game saw Ben take on Adrian. Again, he conceded an early opening goal but, this time, didn't capitulate, holding on to the 0-1 by half time. A few minutes into the second half he sent a few shockwaves into the league with a beautifully struck long range equaliser against Adrian's complacent defence. This triggered Adrian into action and he managed a couple more goals by full time, Ben happy with only his second ever competitive goal. The final game saw Adrian line up against Costa. Some very dodgy referee calls gave Adrian a few of the chances he converted, while Costa accused Ben of deliberately provoking Adrian by scoring in the previous game. In the end, the match finished 4-1.
So the table begins to take a little bit of shape, though many contenders are still to kick off their account. Defending champion, Adrian, has, after just four games, already conceded more goals than he did during the entire 2018 League, showing the improvement of the opposition as they seek to knock him off his perch. With some of the big guns playing their first games in the next couple of weeks, things should start to get interesting.

Match Day One - The Old Clubhouse

The 2019 Spring League kicked off with a handful of matches at The Old Clubhouse. The opening round provided one blockbuster, with father and son - Louis and Vince - facing off against each other. Vince got the upper hand with an early goal but Louis ascended to dominate much of the rest of the half and was rewarded with an equaliser just before half-time. In the second half Vince managed a second which proved to be the winner. There was disappointment that Louis only appealed to the VAR once in the post-match wrap up. Meanwhile, Othniel made his Spring League debut against defending champion, Adrian. Adrian spent no time taking the lead but, after this, Othniel grew into the game and actually lead the shots count at the break. In the second half, Adrian's experience made the difference and he eased to the victory.
In the second round of games, Adrian got off to another flyer against Louis, taking an early lead and then piling on the pressure. However, after the opening goal, Louis' 'keeper became a brick wall, repelling shot after shot, much to Adrian's frustration. It wasn't until midway through the second half that Adrian finally found a second. Within a minute, though, Louis had scored with a quick break down the left that found Adrian's 'keeper napping. A third goal came in the dying seconds to ease the pressure for Adrian in what was a tricky match. Meanwhile, Othniel and Vince played out a very boisterous fixture. Vince took an early lead when Othniel stranded his traveling 'keeper, then a second with a delicate shot at an angle that took Othniel by complete surprise. From there, however, Othniel again grew into the game and only his nervous finishing prevented him from the rewards that his many forays into the shooting area deserved.
So after just a few games, the table doesn't give much away. One note, as per League regulations, players on equal points are split based on their head-to-head results, not overall goal difference. In the absence of a head-to-head result this early in the League (noted by the little red dot next to names on the table), simple alphabetical order (first name) is therefore used - the table will begin to sort itself out much more clearly in the coming weeks.
On that note, many thanks to Paul Mercer of Northern Phoenix in Melbourne for the creation of the incredible custom spreadsheet for our League this season.

2019 Western Sydney Subbuteo Spring League

It’s that time of year again. The days are starting to get longer and the chill in the air isn’t so biting. The semis are rolling around in your football season and so you’re looking for something to fill the void once it’s all over. The Western Sydney Subbuteo Spring League is about to swing into action to fill all your footballing needs.
Now in its 6th year, the Western Sydney Subbuteo Spring League is open to all players, regardless of age, experience or ability. Registration in the League is free and will automatically earn players membership into Western Sydney Subbuteo for the upcoming table football season (Sep 2019 – Aug 2020).
Games are played weekly during the Spring months, but players will, on average, only need to be available for about 2 of every 3 weeks. About half the games will see us gather at Good Games Bella Vista, while alternate weeks will see us play at a variety of venues around the area. Players can nominate which days of the week work best for them and the draw will be worked out around whatever suits the majority of players, with different days used in different weeks to allow players with other commitments to still compete. If you would like to nominate your place as a venue, and have space for at least 2 pitches, include that in your registration.
A copy of the League rules will be e-mailed to you upon registration. If you'd like to see these before registering, just send an e-mail to Adrian at ajebec at netspace dot net requesting them.

2018 SPRING LEAGUE - WESTERN SYDNEY SUBBUTEO

2018 Spring League

MATCH DAY TWELVE


With the title sorted, the 2018 Spring League is now all about bragging rights on the points table. Which Micallef can finish above the other two? Who will finish higher on the ladder between Steve and Dave? Can Steve catch Paul? Many of those questions came close to being answered on the penultimate match day of the league.
Steve met the Micallef clan for the first time, before taking each of them on in turn. The first round saw him go toe to toe with Vince but, by half time, the only occasion on which he could find the back of the net was about 5 seconds after the half time whistle had sounded. The second half, likewise, remained tight, but Steve finally found the goal with a deft chip, something he'd frustratingly found impossible to do for the rest of the game. Meanwhile, on the other pitch, Leivur and Ray were also locked at 0-0 at half time. The second half saw a flurry of goalmouth action, though, with Ray holding a 3 goal lead with a few seconds on the clock (one of which came from what is becoming Leivur's signature move, stranding his traveling 'keeper!). For the second week in a row, however, Leivur pulled back a consolation goal in the dying seconds with a full team press.
In the second round of games, Leivur and Louis slugged it out without either player being able to land a killer blow. The game finished 0-0 with both players happy with a point. Meanwhile, Ray took the lead in the first half against Steve with a fine goal on the run. Stev dug in and found an equaliser in the second half with an equally fine finish. The spoils were shared with the 1-1 scoreline accurately reflecting the balance of play.
The final round was where things really got interesting. Leivur took a shock lead early in his game against Vince - mostly a shock to himself! Vince responded by settling in, pulling one back by half time and then taking the lead, settling in to his groove. However, Leivur wasn't ready to simply roll over and, before game's end, responded with an equaliser of his own to take another point from the evening. Meanwhile, talk of the Godfather putting him in his place seemed to have rattled Stve on the other pitch. Though carving out a number of chances, he couldn't find the goal and was starting to look a little suspect on the counter. With time almost up in the first half, Louis then really put Steve in his place. knocking the ball just outside the goal area, he took an outrageous shot with a figure from his own half, delicately chipping the ball over Steve's 'keeper and taking the lead to the break. Steve pushed and pushed in the second half, and was finally rewarded with an equaliser half way through the second period. From here, both players carved out more chances, but the scores remained locked. The results meant that Steve could no longer catch Paul, but edged him ahead of Dave. Meanwhile, in the Micallef mini-league, Vince edged his way to the top. 3 points ahead of Ray, Ray has a game in hand but a victory there will leave the two tied, meaning Vince will come out on top due to his victory in their head-to-head result.
Another fine evening with plenty of banter flying and almost as many goals. One more week left in the league for players to scramble for some minor placings.
26.11.18

MATCH DAY ELEVEN

Proceedings were coming to a head leading up to match day eleven, which saw a series of games being played that would decide the title for the season. Adrian had a 3 point lead on Paul M, but Paul had a game in hand. Steve had a whole bunch of games in hand as well, and victory over Paul would give him a chance to finish above last year's champion.
The first round of matches pitted Adrian, playing his final fixture, against Leivur. Leivur's 'keeper was in fine form and, in spite of Adrian carving out a number of chances, kept the scoreboard level for quite a while. One particular fingertip onto the crossbar save was particularly outstanding. Adrian finally went ahead just before half-time and this unsettled Leivure, who conceded another shortly afterwards when Adrian moved quickly and fired off his shot before Leivur had a chance to grab his 'keeper. The second half was more even and the scoreline remained 2-0 at the final whistle. This meant Adrian had earned enough points to take the title. All that needed to be decided was whether he would be sharing this with Paul, or taking it for himself.
In a season highlight game, Paul eased into a 1-0 lead halfway through the first half of his match against Steve. This had the effect of prompting Steve into action and, by midway through the second half he had not one but two goals to his name, sending Paul into a panic. VAR was needed to decide of a third was actually a goal but, ultimately, the two players sportingly agreed to a no-goal ruling. By the final whistle, however, with Paul in full 'Magee Swarm' mode, it didn't matter. Steve held on for a famous victory, handing Adrian the title unopposed.
Paul took his frustrations out on a shell-shocked Leivur in the second round fixture. 1-0 at half time finished at 4-0 as all Paul's experience came through against the player he had recruited to the club earlier in the year.
With both Leivur and Steve having had trouble being available for fixtures earlier in the Spring League, the fact that they were in the same room at the same time meant their showdown was billed as the week's feature match. And the game did not disappoint. Steve took all the early running but, again, Leivur's 'keeper was in brilliant form. In fact, it wasn't until Leivur stranded his traveling 'keeper that Steve finally scored the goal his possession had threatened, though there were some nervous 'doing a Gordy' moments in the lead up. With a minute on the clock before half time, Steve then had an on-the run attempt at goal which was blocked illegally by a moving figure from Leivur. However, the free-flick went the way of Leivur as, in the rapid lead up, Steve had both hands on the pitch. Leivur sent the ensuing free-flick the length of the pitch and slotted home an equaliser with his next flick - his first time into the shooting area in the entire match. With Steve stung, the second half began as a much tighter affair, Steve beginning to play a little nervously and Leivur enjoying some more possession. Then, half-way through the half, disaster struck for Leivur and, in an almost identical situation to the first half, Steve slotted home to an open goal with his 5th flick after Leivur had, again, stranded his travelling 'keeper. Steve then went to a 3-1 lead with 45 seconds left on the clock, to ease his nerves. In response, Leivur through caution to the wind, placed 10 outfield figures along the halfway line for the ensuing kick-off and, 3 flicks later, had buried a second into the back of Steve's goal. Two goals in the final minute after a tense tussle was a fitting finale to a great game. 
23.11.18