SPRING LEAGUE

2022 SPRING LEAGUE - WESTERN SYDNEY SUBBUTEO

2022 Western Sydney Spring League template.xlsx

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.

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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!

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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