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COMPETITION DRAW / GOALS TALLY / FINAL RESULTS
SEMI FINAL (OCTOBER 17, 2020)
vs THE ENTRANCE @ PAT MORLEY OVAL 2
Well what can you say. As painful as it is to relive it, here it is. The Major Semi Final: 1st vs 4th. Yet again, there was no advantage to the top two sides of the year with a knockout finals series system (though we did benefit from this last year) and a further disadvantage of playing at our opposition’s home ground (perhaps better than the original draw that had us playing on a Tuesday night at Pluim, 3.5 days ahead of the Grand Final). It was a nervous wait for Brad Avery on whether he could overcome his hamstring injury from last weekend and by Thursday he’d ruled himself out, ending his run of 114 consecutive games since 2014. Everyone else had confirmed their availability including Flanno despite his retirement announcement last weekend and scan results coming through mid-week of a partial ACL tear. Plans were afoot on securing Mick Kennedy to return for the finals. It came with a caveat though that due to Premier League commitments the next day - and a chance to play alongside son Ethan for the first time - he would mostly warm the bench and come on only if necessary. The predictions on when he’d be needed ranged from 2 to 8.5 minutes after kick off.
An hour before kick off, we’d assembled with the instructions to be covid-safe by scanning a QR barcode stuck to the wall by a bit of flimsy tape and to line-up for the teamsheet, all co-ordinated nonchalantly. We half expected The Entrance might stack their team with B-grade players and Patrick Zwaanswijk (listed on the teamsheet) but neither was the case. Our teamsheet did have one last minute alteration: Gregg Marlow had to be omitted due to work commitments so Brad, who had brought his gear, would keep him Iron Man streak running if he was up for it. He did get onto the field albeit only a few minutes. Julia was busy particularly with the strapping tape and had been concocting bath salt remedies to help these ailing old blokes.
It was a hot day and the forecasted ‘light rain’ did not come to our aide. We were teased by a light breeze but that mostly appeared during the half time break. From the start things looked a bit off for us with the ball finding its way back to Aaron from the kick off when no attacking options presented themselves. As the game continued, we seemed to be chasing our tails and defending rather than creating options. The Entrance drew first blood when one of their wingers made a break from what appeared to be an offside position. He crossed it into the middle where their No. 6 managed to chip it beyond Aaron’s reach. We’d come from behind before but danger bells were ringing when they picked up their second through a disastrous own goal. Aaron’s attempted clearance ricocheted off O’Connor and into the net. Heads had dropped and there were fears of a third with some dangerous crosses. Their No. 15 was not only carving us up on the flank but resorting to his usual simulations and cries to the ref on any 50/50 challenges. Unfortunately for us, they worked in his favour. Up front, chances were limited. Andy had cut across a ball to Luca inside the box but before he could get a shot away, the ball had brushed up against his hand. McGarvey had a great chance but was dubiously ruled offside. The flag wasn’t kind to Paul either who was busy creating options. Light at the end of the tunnel finally came for the Tigers though when Luca made a great run on the right edge. He cut it back to Jay who got a shot away on target only for it to be blocked by the arm of an Entrance player. Despite pleas from us for an instant red card, the referee decided a yellow card and dot shot would suffice. McGarvey thankfully made no mistake putting it away.
We started strongly in the second half infused with a better passing game and composure brought upon by the appearance of Mick Kennedy in the middle. He came close to an equaliser with a header that sailed just wide. It was unfortunate we couldn’t keep him on the field for the duration of that half. Ryan was particularly solid combining well at right back. Luca and Colin fought on despite both carrying injuries. Fouls to Kenno and Luca inside the penalty area were waved away from the referee as was an unseen handball by one of their players. McGarvey made some good runs but quickly became overshadowed by too many defenders at once. Time was becoming our biggest enemy and our cause wasn’t being helped by too many infringements. We weren’t winning many of the 50/50 calls and they whined much better than we did. A frustrated Nige picked up a yellow card for a foul on No. 15 and wanted to hold a committee meeting with Boz after they collided rather than pursue the Entrance player who had seized the ball. He also found himself the target of prolonged jeering from the Entrance supporters on the sideline after calling No. 15 a cheat. He wasn’t wrong. Unfortunately No. 15 continued to find good fortune when his cross resulted in a goal from a defensive error.
Despite now down 3 goals to 1, we pressed on. Giving us a lifeline, O’Connor ran onto a clearance from Aaron. He charged down the right flank and smacked the ball across the goalmouth. Andy was in front of goals hoping that if the ball did come his way he wouldn’t f#@k it up like he did last weekend. He need not worry as O’Connor rocketed the ball beautifully into the net himself. Six minutes remained. The final few minutes though summed up our game. Inside our 18-yard box, the ball bounced up into the hand of Boz. The ref pointed to the spot. This would be all over if they claimed a 4th goal. Aaron however read it beautifully and made the save but Boz was surely going to be off Aaron’s Xmas card list having stepped inside the box before the shot was taken. The referee ruled that the penalty would have to be taken again. The lack of a solid poker face on the striker helped Aaron’s cause. His second shot went in the same spot and Aaron blocked it again. In the ensuing charge, Aaron got to his feet quickly to reach the ball before No. 15 could. Seconds later, Aaron dropped to the ground in agonising pain clutching his knee with what is a suspected ACL tear. He bravely dragged himself off the field for the game to continue. Boz took over as custodian. An ensuing goal kick went straight to an Entrance player who took a pot shot. It sailed just wide but not before Boz frantically chased after it and ran straight into the goal post. Thankfully he was okay and didn’t crush those ailing ribs any further. And with no time left on the clock, that was that, our season was over, no Grand Final glory for us. That being said what a successful season it was. League Champions, finishing on top eight points clear and only having lost one other game all year. In an unpredictable, chaotic year, for there to even be a competition taking place was a blessing. Thank you to all involved. Aaron, hope you’re back on your feet soon mate.
(Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz)
Goals (Assists): McGarvey [p] (Paudel), O’Connor (Quill)
ROUND #14 (OCTOBER 10, 2020)
vs TERRIGAL @ ALAN DAVIDSON OVAL 1
The final game of the regular season was an away fixture at erm, Alan Davidson Oval, and Field One at that!!. Terrigal kindly hosting us here for the annual Old Boys Day with three of the four Wyoming Over 35s grades playing on Field 1. Gazebos, a barbecue, eskies of plentiful beer and an impressive crowd adorned the sideline. To mark the occasion, Kevin “Flanno” Flanagan had declared that today would be his retirement game (Game #120 for this team). Thankfully he gave enough notice for Julia to order one kilometer of strapping tape for his knees. With 16 already available, Meady kindly volunteered to stand down #makinroom4flano. What a champ. He could’ve played though as Jay opted to “lay turf” that weekend and despite intending to arrive for the 2nd half, he did not. O’Connor had also threatened to not turn up unless Boz delivered the post-game beef jerky treats. Thankfully he did. Also keeping the squad nervous was Aaron who drove up from the south coast that morning. Traffic however was obviously kind as he made it earlier to the ground than he would when travelling from his home five minutes away.
Despite the League Championship wrapped up last week, we opted not to muck around and play football (well as best we can to be honest) much to Terrigal’s chagrin who needed to win and pray other results went their way for them to squeeze into the Top 4. Luca (his 100th game today) took on Captain Duties and accompanied Flanno for the coin toss. They lost. Flanno started up front for the first ten minutes. Unfortunately he didn’t put one away in that time despite Colin sending him away with a long ball that he might’ve raced onto and reached had it been the year 1990. Brad and McGarvey showed them how it was done. Brad, who alternated his usual spot with O’Connor, put up a high one that brought the keeper out of his box to contain. Mick charged ahead, read the bounce perfectly and slotted it away. He was in again not long after. He lined up Luca for a shot but Luca selflessly cut it back across goals for Mick to claim his brace. Further attacking chances included a cross by McGarvey that Brad couldn’t quite get to and a header chance for Boz on a corner kick who opted instead to take a shot on the volley … it went out for a Terrigal throw-in instead. Having more luck on target today though was the Invisible Sniper who knocked Lawesy down a couple of times.
Up 2-0 at half time, the second half lacked the level of composure we’ll need for the finals but the boys continued to defend hard. Boz, O’Connor and Brad weren’t shying away from getting into the heavy tackles. Gregg too made some impressive blocks. Flanno of course had to have one last hurrah in the art of a scuffle. Brad had some fun getting under the skin of a couple of players and despite some cheeky dissent with the ref, avoided getting a yellow. Fitzy however did not. Thankfully the highest tally of individual cards is three (Fitzy & Brad) so we’re not in danger of any suspensions for the finals, unless of course they do something in the finals. Anyway, moving along … the third goal came from an O’Connor through ball up the left flank. Brad picked up his second assist when he raced onto the ball and sent Andy away who slotted it past the keeper. Andy almost had another when O’Connor raced up the right flank and sent through a perfect cross. What should’ve been a tap in was a right footed miskick over the crossbar. Boz also had a chance when the ball came his way on the edge of the box after a Fitzy corner. The shot that ensued was summed up by Luca as a “koala killer” as the ball disappeared high into the trees. Luca himself had some good chances. He opted for the chip rather than a shot when O’Connor delivered him a free kick. He had a shot upfront but couldn’t quite get enough sting on it trouble the keeper; and headed the ball into the path of McGarvey for a shot only to be ruled offside. McGarvey made a few signature runs. His best chance resulted in a shot that veered wide and blasphemy ensued “Oh my McGodvey!”. Three goals was enough though for victory. The only concern was not that Terrigal scored a late consolation goal but that Brad limped off the field clutching his hamstring. Fingers crossed he’ll be okay for next Saturday.
The win saw us finish on 33pts, eight points clear of 2nd place Woongarrah who lost– that’s four defeats in their past five games – to The Entrance, securing a finals berth for them. Kanwal were teased with a Top 4 spot as they waited for a delayed Ourimbah vs Toukley 1 result to be posted. That game was called off by the ref before full time due to dissent (apparently two of the Gunners players were sent off) but Ourimbah’s 1-0 lead eventually went through meaning they finished 3rd and take on Woongarrah. Our opponents in the 1v4 Major Semi Final… The Entrance. A huge game as we battle for a place in the Grand Final.
With no Senior Presentation this year due to Covid restrictions, the Players Awards were handed out post-game. Congrats to Stewart Webb in picking up the Coach’s Award and Mark “Boz” Bohringer claiming the double prize of Player of the Season and Player’s Player.
(Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz / Game Photos by Julia Barry)
Goals (Assists): McGarvey (Avery), McGarvey (Scuri), A.Kennedy (Avery)
ROUND #13 (SEPTEMBER 26, 2020)
vs KANWAL @ ALAN DAVIDSON OVAL 1
Finally, a return to Field One for only the second time this year. A cool breeze meant we wouldn’t be scorched in the sun this late into September. McGarvey nevertheless coated his bald head in sunscreen after double checking the planned team photoshoot wasn’t happening. On the positive side, we welcomed back Nigel Mead who’d overcome a feared season-ending shoulder injury (word was it was just a burst pimple) to return for his 150th game. On the negative, Michael O’Connor was absent having mixed up the weekend off (next weekend, mate) and made family arrangements. He had only missed one game this season prior to this and that was also against Kanwal. Naturally, an inquiry had to be made on whether there was some type of gentleman’s agreement not to play against the Bulls. He claimed he didn’t even know where Kanwal was. Fair call for a Coast newbie but who would admit it anyway?
After preventing some attempted thievery from the Wyoming 35A’s ball boy who “accidentally” grabbed our game balls and put them into their kit - we really blame Boydy!! - we were good to go. Here we were: two points clear of second place, two rounds to go and up against 3rd placed Kanwal. A loss for us could see us drop from top spot, a loss for them could see them drop out of the top four. Last time, we hit them guns blazing with four goals in the first half, the first within the first minute. Round two would be a tougher slog and it took some time to gain the ascendency. We had the better of chances and Ashton was unlucky with a few he fired away, one was blocked by the keeper, another hit the woodwork. Luca (battling an ankle injury) was busy with some quality service including a beautiful long ball that curled just inside the sideline and sent Paul away for one of his chances down the left flank. Having been without McGarvey in the previous encounter we had the element of surprise. He was quick to unleash his arsenal of weaving trickery but positioned in the midfield for this game meant his chances were limited up front. Whilst his free kick almost caused some trouble for the Bulls, it was his break through the opposition from an Andy pass that saw him rush ahead and smack his shot past the keeper. At the opposite end, the backs were busy frustrating and limiting Kanwal’s attacking chances. Boz and Brad continued their dominance whilst Nige kept Kanwal’s speedster from breaking away down their left flank and Colin was solid as usual in the holding position. A few too many free kicks were given but the closest they came to scoring from those was thwarted by Aaron’s finger tips knocking the ball over the crossbar (or getting his hand in the way as it sailed over the crossbar, either way).
There was a brief scare as play resumed in the second half with Kanwal going on the charge. “Wake up!” yelled Aaron none too impressed by the ease they pushed through us. It wasn’t exactly a pretty half of football to watch with a lack of communication and rushed play at times. Offsides and more lazy fouls hindered our go forward and gave them the occasional sniff with threatening free kicks. Luca continued with the quality service whilst Andy, Fitzy and Stew made some good runs up the edges. Andy’s best chance for another assist came from a cut back to Jay but his ensuing shot sailed wide. When Andy retired from the game with a quad injury, Fitzy took over the corner kicks and delivered two pearlers. One curled in perfectly only for a Kanwal defender at the far post to head it away, rude!! Having overcome the adversity of not having arms long enough to retrieve the ball from the drain and being sent flying from a collision by Lawesy, where was Fitzy’s reward?? Thankfully, with only a minute or two remaining, Kanwal’s hope of any equaliser was finally put to bed. McGarvey had made several runs by now and this time he opted to pass it much to the chagrin of Kanwal’s center back who’d been bickering with him for most of the half. McGarvey’s cross found the outside foot of Ashton who flicked it into the corner netting, putting this game to rest. The final whistle was blown shortly after. We’d picked up our 9th victory of the year and on top of that, Aaron and the backs had secured another well earnt clean sheet. We didn’t have to wait too long for the results of the other games to be posted and to our delight Ourimbah defeated Woongarrah putting us 5 points clear and yes, with only one round remaining, we have claimed the League Champions title. Congratulations to all involved, a fantastic effort! Now we wait for the final piece of the puzzle to take place, who do we play in the major semi final? The final round takes place in a fortnight’s time with four teams in contention for the 3rd and 4th spot.
(Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz / Game Photos by Julia Barry)
Goals (Assists): McGarvey (A.Kennedy), Ashton (McGarvey)
ROUND #12 (SEPTEMBER 19, 2020)
vs TOUKLEY 2 @ HARRY MOORE OVAL 1
The danger game. Despite being at the bottom of the ladder, Toukley 2 had defeated competition leaders (well at that time anyway) Woongarrah last weekend. Having given them their first competition points last time round, we knew this wasn’t going to be an easy three points. Our third trip to Toukley this season and we’d have to do it with only two on the bench. Nige (shoulder) and Colin (toe) were out injured and Jay had gone camping. Thankfully, our opposition weren’t going to outnumber us with only twelve available (though that was reduced to eleven due to an injury early on). If it hadn’t have been for Ngari asking Andy if he’d packed the jerseys, we might’ve been playing in skins. He was ten minutes up the freeway when the question was asked. A certain f-word expletive ensued and a u-turn. Thankfully there was enough time to return home, grab the bag and arrive to the ground in time.
We had a strong start with an onslaught of attacking chances (including four consecutive corners) but offsides and final touches were letting us down. The deadlock was finally broken by some simple quick passing from the backs and culminating in a pinnacle pass from O’Connor through their backline. It reached Ashton first who had a solid crack at it only for the keeper to block it. Not to fear, Stew was here. Back from a two week hiatus due a foot injury, Stew picked up where he left of by scoring again at this ground (same net in fact) with a solid crack. Toukley 2 had their chances, their best coming from a cross from the right side. Aza coolly tapped it away. Another went across goals that came narrowly close to Gregg, who kindly did not tap it in for an own goal. Boz and Brad were busy again leading the backline, holding anyone accountable for complacency in returning to defend and making several tackles: Boz (19), Brad (23)**
[** These might not be accurate stats].
The Tigers hit the ground running in the second half. Having won a corner from a cross, corner-kicking hog Andy curled it across the goalmouth for the awaiting head of Boz. He’d come close in the first half in such a play so why not try again? Whilst Boz didn’t find the net this time either, the ball bounced off his noggin and apparently into the arm of Toukley’s No. 12 for a penalty. Poor No. 12, it wasn’t his day. None of his team mates would pass it to him, he kept losing his boots and now he’d given away a penalty. He did claim it hit his head and anyone who refuted such a claim would be taken to the cleaners by his lawyer. Umm, okay. McGarvey calmly slotted the dottie to make it 2-0 and unfortunately, an assist for Boz. The goals continued. The next came from another bustling run from O’Connor. He passed to Andy loitering at the front of the goals who slipped it past the keeper and just inside the right upright with his right foot. The fourth was all O’Connor. He’d made an almost length-of-the-field run that saw him weaving through half the opposition and culminated with a right-footed shot. The keeper had no chance… 4-0! Who says left footers cannot kick with their right ???
Just before the 20 minute drink break - the referee kindly offered such courtesy for both halves due to the heat - Toukley 2 did strike back from a free kick. Poor Aza paid the price for coming off his line and opted not to leave the goalmouth during the brief drinks break as he was still angry, plus it was a long walk. Luckily Boz didn’t’ ask him if he’d practiced reaching for the crossbar until after the game. Gregg too was lucky not to feel our custodian’s wrath after handballing it inside the box. The appeal was denied as the ref’s view was obscured. Luca did pick up a yellow card just prior to the free kick for some erm, colourful language of dissent. The Toukley spectators did their best to rile us up further, especially after the Gunners ruined our clean sheet.
The attacking chances continued. Ryan, when not being taken out by the invisible sniper, had some great runs down the left flank and Fitzy never stopped chasing up the right. He even fought back the expletives when unjustly ruled offside a couple of times. He looked certain to be rewarded for his tenacity when McGarvey crossed it to him in front of goals. Fitzy held onto the ball for a tad too long that when he fired his shot it went straight into the keeper’s bread basket. Stew too looked set to bag a double as the ball sailed his way. From The halfway line Brad stood and watched whilst chanting “miss it, miss it” in alongside a puzzled Toukley player. It worked, Stew sent it wide. Andy and Paul were unlucky in their combinations and Boz merely had to walk another 15 meters over the goal line when he had the ball stuck between his calves. He let it drop to the grass though, pfft loser! So, another win at Harry Moore, our home away from home. Today’s victory over Toukley 2 means we have now defeated every team in the competition; our unbeaten run at Away grounds continues; and most importantly we have secured a Top 2 spot in the finals. The Wildcats left it till late in the game to get their victory over a 10-men Toukley 1 squad; Ourimbah and The Entrance shared the lollies with a 2-2 draw allowing Kanwal to leap into 3rd spot after their victory over Terrigal. Next week it’s 1v3 (Wyoming v Kanwal) and 2v4 (Woongarrah v Ourimbah).
(Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz / Game Photos by Julia Barry)
Goals (Assists): Webb (Ashton), McGarvey [p] (Bohringer), A.Kennedy (O’Connor), O’Connor (Scuri)
ROUND #11 (SEPTEMBER 12, 2020)
vs THE ENTRANCE @ PAT MORLEY OVAL 1
There appeared to be field hopscotching tomfoolery afoot at Pat Morley for this important clash against The Entrance. The original draw had us playing on Field 2 but earlier this week this was changed to Field 3 with kick-off delayed an additional half hour … and then, just as we started warming up and the crowd settled in on the sideline, we were told we were now playing on Field 1! Aaron wasn’t impressed. He’d masterfully found prime real estate, reversing his ute with the esky in the perfect position for post-game drinks. Now, he and Stew (who was out this week, that foot injury is still not quite right) had to carry the bloody esky to the opposite end of Field 1. So what was going on? Were we delayed to accommodate some of The Entrance B’s to back up, was it to protect us from the notorious magpie attacks on Field 2 or was it merely because Field 1 is better? The surface wasn’t as dry as Field 3 nor would you have to run directly into the sun’s path. At any rate, bring it on, this was after all the setting of last year’s Grand Final and good memories are those.
Last time we played this mob we did it tough particularly the first half where they dominated the midfield. Plus, McGarvey suffered an MCL tear, Luca was absent and some idiot missed a penalty kick, regardless of drone technology or not. We escaped with a 1-1 draw. Despite their recent slump (three of their past four games had been draws and they’d been thumped by Kanwal 4-0 (again!)) they resembled the same strong line-up as last time. Sadly, despite being listed on the teamsheet, Mariners superstar Patrick Zwaanswijk was absent again though he did reportedly turn up to watch.
Speaking of last year’s Grand Final, it started the same way with us conceding an early goal. Boz laid off an inside pass to the opposition’s No. 15 who slotted it away impressively, oops! His aim had obviously improved since his off target attempts at Alan Davidson a couple of months ago. Not to fear, McGarvey’s aim was spot on too! Having been fouled just outside the right edge of their penalty box, he took the free kick with his left foot and curled it perfectly into the top left corner of the net to make it 1-1. It wasn’t long till he had picked up a brace courtesy of a beautiful through-ball from Jay Paudel who sent Mick on his way into open territory for a one-on-one battle with the keeper, 2-1!! We weren’t going to give up that lead easily with O’Connor and Luca working feverishly in the middle (particularly keeping their No. 6 at bay) and Boz and Brad keeping everyone honest with fine direction at the back. Up front, Paul came close with a shot just veering wide of the post and Jay’s shot was bound for the top left corner before their meddling keeper got a touch to it. Nevertheless, Jay was instrumental for marking another notch on the scoreboard with another quality through-ball beyond their line of defence. This time Andy was on the receiving end. With the keeper away from his line, he slotted it behind him to make it 3-1. A solid first half!
The attacking runs continued in the second half. We hit four when O’Connor sent Andy up the left side. He sliced it across the goalmouth where McGarvey claimed his hattrick. Mick could’ve had his fourth from an almost identical play but that attempt went over the crossbar. That three goal gap didn’t last too long though when The Entrance found their second with a tap-in across goals. Thankfully we weren’t done with yet, refusing to give them a sniff of a comeback. Paul worked tirelessly shifting several positions across the midfield, distributing nicely and even finding a moment to do some breakdancing when hitting the surface. Positioned on the right edge did give him opportunities to turn in and take a couple of shots with that killer left foot of his but both veered over the crossbar. He would have to settle for an assist today when crowded inside the 18-yard box, he passed it back to O’Connor in waiting. O’Connor hit it nice and low. It took a deflection but was goal bound regardless. 5-2!! With the interchange working much more coherently this week, some players did find themselves in less familiar positions including Ryan who had a good stint in left midfield and made a great run down the flank only to be out of steam when he turned it inside. Just to be greedy, Jay was at it again with another perfectly timed through ball and Andy (replacing McGarvey as striker after he retired for the day with a groin strain) put away his second goal with a quick chase and finish. 6-2!! To their credit, The Entrance didn’t stop fighting and the bulk of the final few minutes was in our defensive end fending off several corners. Boz had another fun time sledging their No. 15 who continued his vertically challenged moments by falling down a lot. This culminated in a penalty late in the game, Boz making the foul and bookending the game with his 2nd assist. Regardless, the damage had been done. The Tigers were triumphant making quite the statement a few weeks before the finals. To our surprise and delight, bottom-placed Toukley2 claimed their first win of the season with a 2-0 victory over Woongarrah. That sees us leapfrog the Wildcats into top position, two points clear. Ourimbah’s victory over Kanwal sees them finally into the top 4 now equal on points with Kanwal and The Entrance. With three rounds remaining, six teams are still in contention for the top four.
(Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz / Photos by Julia Barry)
Goals (Assists): McGarvey (McGarvey), McGarvey (Paudel), A.Kennedy (Paudel), McGarvey (A.Kennedy), O’Connor (Ashton), A.Kennedy (Paudel)
ROUND #10 (SEPTEMBER 5, 2020)
vs OURIMBAH @ ALAN DAVIDSON OVAL 2
September is upon us! Usually when the season of Spring hits we’re either playing finals football or planning the end of season trip but not this year, it’s only Round 10. With Ourimbah hovering outside the Top 4 we knew this would be a contest. Why they’re not higher is beyond us but that’s football, luck can be a key component in a competition that is quite evenly matched. We had 15 today as Stew was out with a foot injury (we’re not sure if Brad stomped on it after Stew’s goal last week or what). Gregg was initially uncertain due to being on call for work and a couple of the blokes were on thin ice for claiming they couldn’t bring snacks for the post-game Father’s Day gathering until Boz enlightened them with the news that you can buy food at your local servo.
The first half was a tightly contested affair. The Tigers clawed first blood. At the half way line and in traffic, Jay showed tenacity to get the ball away with a perfect long ball into the path of McGarvey. Having been goal depraved for a couple of games, McG slotted this away with finesse into the opposite corner of the net, his best for the season so far. Whilst there weren’t too many more attacking chances, Paul did get a fair shot on target that their keeper contained and Boz was unlucky running onto a ball from Andy’s corner. At the other end, Aaron had a little lie down in the sun after getting a smack in the face with the ball. Thankfully no HIA hiatus on the sideline was required. His biggest fear beyond Wallace passing it to his step-brother on the opposite team was trying to contain the long throw-ins from their No. 5. Playing on the smaller Field 2 – or as an Ourimbah player called it “Wyoming’s kiddies’ field” – meant the ball went straight into the goalmouth each time. Ourimbah found their equaliser fortuitously through a muddled mess up the back. Having made the initial error, Lawesy made a gallant effort to clear the ball off the goal line after it had rolled past Aaron. He ended up hitting the goal net harder than the ball did.
The biggest surprise for Wyoming as the second half kicked off was Luca was still here! The earlier timeslot meant we had him for a full game so that meant double the chance of blasphemous outcries in Italian and pleas for the opposition to be “fairdinkum” when being dishonest. He wasn’t too happy about being fouled in the penalty area either, especially as the ref opted to not point to the dot. Someone else who isn’t shy of getting vocal, Brad picked up a yellow card this week, but for a foul with his feet not his mouth this time. Nige made everyone nervous with an injury scare after going down clutching his foot. He played on and then backed up for the 35CS team where he may have dislocated his shoulder, bugger me!! Aaron also limped occasionally but thankfully it didn’t limit his leaping abilities when getting his finger tips to the ball and knocking it over the crossbar. He did question why he bothered though when Ourimbah found the net from the proceeding corner kick.
There were several attacking chances including shots from McG, Andy and O’Connor but as the clock wound down it was looking likely that we were going to suffer our second loss of the season. With only a couple of minutes remaining, a foul from Ourimbah gave Boz a free kick just inside their half. He hit it sweetly towards the right edge of the goalmouth where Brad was perfectly placed. Brad got a solid head to the ball and knocked it just adrift of the keeper’s reach. Brad’s first goal of the year resulted in not only a competition point but the best goal celebration of the season so far as he flew around the field arms raised like an eagle. “You bastards” quipped one of the Ourimbah players as the handshakes / fist taps / elbow knocks took place at full time. The result sees us edge closer to Woongarrah who suffered their second loss of the season. The Entrance were held to a 2-2 draw to cellar dwellers Toukley 2 (we are no longer the only team to have given them a point) and Kanwal have now jumped into 3rd spot on goal differential. Ourimbah sit adrift the Top 4 by three points but they have a solid chance to creep in there in the next few weeks.
(Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz / Photos by Julia Barry)
Goals (Assists): McGarvey (Paudel), Avery (Bohringer)
ROUND #9 (AUGUST 29, 2020)
vs TOUKLEY 1 @ HARRY MOORE OVAL 1
Having lost our first game of the season last weekend, this was shaping up as a danger game. Not only had we never won at Toukley’s home ground but we had a plethora of players either in doubt or still overcoming injuries. Boz, McGarvey and Paul had been not only struggling with physical injuries but being Parramatta fans, emotional ones after Souths thumped the Eels 38-0 on Thursday night. Toughen up boys, you have teammates who follow Tigers, Dragons, Manly … and Bulldogs, ouch! Gregg had injured his lower back doing parkour, bungey jumping or whatever crazy stunts he gets up to during his week; Luca was suffering from flu-like symptoms and was awaiting a covid test; and just to add to the drama, Mick O’Connor messaged that he might not make it as his car was being serviced that morning (kudos to Brad and Sue for giving him a lift). By Saturday morning it was looking like we’d have the bare eleven … but in the eleventh hour, Ryan, Jay and Colin (who left work early) were able to come to our aide. Thanks guys!
Boz won the practice toss but not the real one… yes the referee felt it was necessarily to show the captains how a coin toss works by doing a trial run. Boz had called heads successfully but then opted for tails, what was he thinking?? Anyway… it was downhill first half and we were at least taking advantage of that with several attacking runs. Ashton and Fitzy both found the net with beautiful left-footed shots only for that pesky offside flag being waved on the sideline. Since when do we have a linesman?? Outrageous! Thankfully it was third time lucky for a goal to count. Boz had been showing off some set piece kicks across the goalmouth in the warm-up declaring that this was how it was done. When a free kick was given just inside our attacking half, Boz stepped up to take it. But before he could show those pre-game kicks weren’t just flukes, he’d have to wait after the offending fouler Number 4 had kicked the ball away (no yellow card given) and then delayed time further by standing within the ten yards. In hindsight, he must’ve known it was going to be costly for Toukley. Boz hit it sweetly into the box where Stew was perfectly placed to get a shot away. Julia missed seeing the goal as she was distracted by osprey birds nesting in the light tower. Focus Julia, focus. That goal marked Stew’s first for the season and trophy engravers will be getting a call soon to work on another plaque to the perpetual Brad vs Stew Golden Boot trophy. Time to step up Brad. Stew had already saved a goal at the other end. Aaron had palmed off a shot but the ball hit the crossbar and bounced back rolling dangerously close to the goalline. Stew thankfully booted it away. He did admit at half time he’d handballed the ball in the penalty box earlier but shush, ride this wave.
As the second half kicked on, Brad said to Andy on the sideline that the only way we’d concede a goal in this game would be from a silly mistake. He was not wrong !! Poor ol’ Gregg. He zigged instead of zagged as a ball was passed in his direction and ended up turning around to in attempt to retrieve it. Boz got an inside touch to it before it came back into Gregg’s path. As the Toukley attacker lurked behind him, was he going to clear it or pass it back to Aaron? Neither. If the ensuing passage of play was a performance in ‘Dancing with the Stars’ it would’ve looked good as Gregg and Aaron moved /did the waltz towards each other not quite certain who was going to get the ball. Unfortunately Toukley squeezed between them and got a foot to it, finding an equaliser. Poor ol’ Aaron. If watching that goal being conceded wasn’t enough, he was already suffering from an “old man” calf injury and had been shouting expletives at anyone who’d seen his daughter Jordan (22 years old last weekend, happy birthday) holding baby Aidan, commenting her time could be soon. No grandfather Quill just yet please!. “Wyoming, it’s currently a draw” the ref declared as play was about to resume at the halfway line. He had previously told Toukley they would need to score two goals to win when we’d taken that lead. Thanks mate.
Last time at this venue we left the field depleted from a disappointing a 3-3 draw. Surely, we wouldn’t do that again? Toukley weren’t looking too worried when most of Wyoming’s attacking efforts were contained. Andy needed a right foot, especially when McGarvey’s cross came his way and he tried to turn to his left instead. He did try his right foot for another shot but it sailed wide of the posts. Wallace got conned to take an early shot by the Toukley backline when they told him to “have it” as he approached the 18 yard box, sucker!. Fitzy put through some dangerous crosses; McGarvey tried his best at ducking and weaving through Toukley’s defense; and Ashton and Andy combined for a cross onto the head of O’Connor but it veered just wide. O’Connor was in the thick of it as the clock wound down. A foul was ruled against him for a shoulder charge. He threw the ball away and got punished with a yellow card. Avery complained that Toukley’s No.4 didn’t get one in the first half for doing the same thing. The ref turned to Brad, stating “You’re asking about me giving yellow cards, here have one”.
Ultimately it would be O’Connor who had the last laugh. In a nice run of play that started at the backline, Aaron sent the ball up the right edge where Wallace had to stretch out to win possession. O’Connor received the ball and sent Jay on his way up the right flank and into the 18-yard box. Drawing the defenders in, Jay cut it back to O’Connor on the edge of the box. He smacked it into the net triumphantly. With only a few minutes remaining, we had regained the lead - we only knew that because the Ref told us we were now in front again. He was also gracious enough to tell Ryan he could take more meters up the sideline for a throw-in. We all particularly enjoyed it when he blew that full time whistle marking another win for us and first victory at Harry Moore!!
(Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz / Photos by Julia Barry)
Goals (Assists): Webb (Bohringer), O’Connor (Paudel)
ROUND #8 (AUGUST 22, 2020)
vs WOONGARRAH @ ALAN DAVIDSON OVAL 2
It was first versus second on apparently the coldest day of the year. Whether the latter was true or not, there was definitely a chill in the air. We had just reclaimed first position last week. A win or a draw would keep us there but the Wildcats were ready to make sure it would be a hard day at the office for us to avenge their only loss of the season, to us in Round 1. We would be doing it tough. We had 16 on the team sheet but a few of the boys were carrying and/or recovering from injuries: Paul (hamstring), McG (knee), Boz (ribs), Colin (hamstring) and Nige (pride). Plus due to the late afternoon kick off, we only had Luca for the first half. He only had $2.50 to pay for ref fees so we naturally had to give him the flick at half time, or he had to go to work, one of those.
Wallace almost shocked us all early when the wind caught his shot / cross and it forced their keeper to knock the ball away from the top corner. Would’ve loved to have written about that going in. We certainly had the better of chances. The best being when McGarvey sent a beautiful ball to O’Connor charging through but his shot went wayward. Colin got a header to McGarvey who was ruled offside. Stew also got his noggin going for a knock towards goal from a cross by Andy. Luca worked tirelessly in midfield that we had hoped the ref wouldn’t call half time just so we could keep him, sadly not.
We certainly lost the battle in the midfield for the second half but our defensive line did a stellar job limiting their shots. Boz made a cracking last ditch sliding tackle to thwart a shot being taken. Aaron ran almost to the sideline to stop another threat. He caught the ball just before momentum sent him out of the 18yard box. He swiftly sent an inside rugby pass to Boz to avoid being penalised and limped back to the goalmouth with a sore knee, thankfully he was okay. Brad went shoulder to shoulder (okay the occasional elbow) many times to slow down any breaks they had. Their goal was a fortuitous one. A shot – or possible cross - from the right flank. With the sunlight behind it, the ball dipped just under the crossbar and over Aaron’s fingertips. The scoring player said, “don’t ask me to do that again” … don’t worry we won’t. There was still plenty of time to push for at least an equaliser. O’Connor did find the net at the other end, though it was the cricket net, whoops. With one of their center backs leaving the first half with a groin injury, they made a reshuffle and put their best player, Dennis (No. 5) up the back. He was a constant pest to McGarvey’s runs. Speaking of pests, the ref found one in Fitzy. After being blocked from the ball in a classic shepherding play from two of their defenders, Fitzy was ropable for the next few minutes (felt like hours) eventually scoring himself a yellow card. At 9pm, the game resumed. Paul made a late cameo to the game opting to test out his bruised hamstring. It was a much welcomed addition as we tried to get an equaliser. He took a long shot but it sailed over the crossbar. Jay also had a hit that came a little closer whilst an Andy chip attempt was easily caught by the keeper. With barely minutes to go, the best chance came, Andy’s corner found the head of Nige. His knock came agonizingly close. It hit the inside of the right post and dipped behind the keeper. Sadly they managed to knock it away before any of our boys could tap it in. The final glimmer of hope was going to be a 100 meter run from Aaron. He’d already started his adventure by running 40 of those meters before realising, shit I have to run back if this goes tits up. That prompted him to kick it over the sideline for a 40/20 instead and retreat. I suppose we can’t really blame him. Alas, the undefeated streak is over but there were plenty of positives. They hardly made any shots and on a good day without injured players, we could easily dominate and put them away like we did in that second half of Round 1. I’m sure we’ll see them again in the finals if things go to plan.
(Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz / Photos by Kevin Flanagan & Julia Barry)
ROUND #7 (AUGUST 15, 2020)
vs TERRIGAL @ ALAN DAVIDSON OVAL 2
The rain during the week and especially overnight, garnered concerns on whether Field 2 would hold up. Wallace, who was on jersey washing duties this week, had concerns beyond whether he could reach the clothes line or not. Would they dry in time or would he suffer the same ridicule that Gregg had received weeks earlier on whether he’d actually washed them or not. Remember, if you don’t use fabric softener, prepare to face the wrath of the 35DN boys! They’re a fussy lot. There were concerns on Friday afternoon that we might not have a referee but thankfully that was rectified. Flanno taking on the whistle was a popular choice if Peter hadn’t come through. One concern we didn’t have was team sheet numbers. Flanno and Kenno were the only omissions with everyone else available including a welcome return by Mick McGarvey.
Saturday afternoon arrived and no closure announcement had come. The only disappointment was that the canteen were out of pies. Sue was not happy. 2020 has been a disaster for pies as well apparently. Before kick off, the team gathered around for a nice little tribute to celebrate the milestones of Andy and Gregg (both celebrating 150 games for this team), Brad (130 Games) and Paul (50). It was a big game for us. Woongarrah and The Entrance were dueling it out today. If that result went in favour of The Entrance or a draw, then a victory for us would put us back on top. We would have to wake up quickly though as Terrigal, the last team to face before we reached the halfway mark of the season, came out ready to play. They were chasing a third straight victory and Aaron was already called to action within the first minute. Echoing previous games, we weathered the storm and eventually found some cohesion. Paul sent Andy down the left flank, he crossed it to Fitzy on the right who calm and coolly drilled it into the net with his left foot. One goal up, we started to settle a bit. Boz and Brad were busy putting their bodies on the line as they controlled the backline. Boz’s tender ribs didn’t get much of a reprieve this week and Brad thankfully avoided a HIA after a high foot almost collided with his head. Terrigal favoured their Number 11 in their attacking moves but as the game progressed we got better at thwarting that threat. In a nice piece of play, Gregg dispossessed their No. 11 off the ball and sent it up the flank. He pushed up and got another pass away that led to some Luca brilliance. Luca dazzled with an inside move and chipped the ball to McGarvey who grounded the ball on his first touch and tucked it past their keeper. 2-0!! There were other chances upfront. O’Connor got a shot away that veered wide and Nige, who was playing in the midfield today also had a great opportunity. A tackle had been made on McGarvey and the ball came out towards Nige loitering on the edge of the 18 yard box. Some of his teammates would tease him later that it was an “open goal” chance but it didn’t matter as he lobbed it over the crossbar. Terrigal also had a shot of theirs go over our crossbar thanks to the finger tips of Aaron making a great save. With that we finished the half with a 2 nil lead.
We went into the second half a bit depleted. Luca had to leave for work whilst Paul and Colin had injury concerns. Stew was thrown into the centre midfield position gasping “Oh shit!” as Boz gave him instructions. Nige remained in the holding position and despite his “I don’t know what I’m doing” claims, he was solid in that position. The second half could’ve seen a plethora of goals from the Tigers but two more would suffice. The third came from an Andy corner where O’Connor rushed in at the far post like he was Van Dijk and put it away sweetly. McGarvey set up Andy for the fourth, cutting it across the goals for a quick tap in. Nige did have another chance for redemption but missed it completely and had to endure a roar of laughter from Ngari on the sideline. Ouch! O’Connor had a trio of shots on target but couldn’t get past their keeper. McGarvey faced the same fate on a free kick after O’Connor had been fouled by their keeper just outside the box. That was one of a few yellow cards given. Aaron picked up the only one for us when he complained about a corner kick being given despite the ball having been successfully shielded by Brad after a Terrigal touch. “Sorry Pete” he conceded after a bit of potty mouth had been dispensed. Beyond enduring that, Aaron had to a face a free kick just outside the box after a late tackle by Lawesy and then a clearance attempt by Nige that went twenty meters straight up into the air. Nevertheless, the backline proved impenetrable today with the second clean sheet of the season. The Entrance and Woongarrah game result in a 1-1 draw so yes, we are lead the competition again. Next weekend we return to Field 2 in a top of the table clash with Woongarrah who are a mere one point behind us. Let’s keep this undefeated streak going boys!!!
(Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz / Game Photos by Alistair Kennedy)
Goals (Assists): Fitzpatrick (A.Kennedy), McGarvey (Scuri), O’Connor (A.Kennedy), A.Kennedy (McGarvey)
ROUND #6 (AUGUST 8, 2020)
vs KANWAL @ KANWAL OVAL 1
It was one of those cold, drizzled mornings where you didn’t want to get out of bed. If we were booked for a home game today we would’ve been allowed such comforts as Alan Davidson was washed out … but nope, off to Kanwal Oval we were for another top four clash. As we huddled under a small area of shelter from the rain, celebrity of the moment Luca Scuri was copping it for his mid-week video interview where he took the piss out of a few of the BPL boys but not one mention of his beloved 35’s team!! Not even a ‘Gregg playing with a zimmer frame’ joke was made! Boz was handing out the lollies (the tests from the drug lab have not come back yet) whilst rejecting requests from the 35A’s to have a run with them. Aza took his time to arrive to allow the kids on the sideline enough time to scatter to avoid any concussions from his goal-line clearances. He remains a menace to society at this ground but disguising himself by growing a grey beard allowed him to cross the Wyong shire border. Nige had to arrive earlier than planned as he had the jerseys, just wish he would take them each week for this to happen. We had 14 today. Flanno, O’Connor, Webb and McGarvey were out though McGarvey did put his hand up for a run before wisely opting to rest his knee for another week at least. This decision kept him in Julia (aka The Boss)’s good books. With the numbers down, Andy was able to entice his brother Mick (aka Kenno) to make his season debut for the team.
Andy had lost the toss which meant we’d have to go up hill for the second half but he made up for that in the first minute of the game. Boz had sent Fitzy down the right flank. He crossed it perfectly into the path of Andy who luckily got a second shot away after his right foot failed him. What a start!! The push forward continued with more attacking runs down both flanks. After a few more threatening runs and crosses, Fitzy took a break on the sidelines. Mick Kennedy continued what he started. Nige placed a perfect ball inside the 18-yard box. Mick cut across and passed it to Paul in front of goals. Paul slotted away his 50th goal for the team with a solid right-footed shot. 2-0! The Mick and Paul combo was at it again soon after when a header from Mick bounced in the path of Paul who with a deft touch chipped the keeper. Luca could’ve easily got a touch to it but took on a supervisor role as he watched it cross the line. What a gentleman! Kanwal had only conceded four goals thus far this season. Leading up to this game Andy had said “let’s double it!”. Wishful thinking perhaps but after a run down the left flank, he crossed it to Jay who picked up his first “allowed” goal of the season and suddenly it was 4-0. Jay of course had to put this away as when the call-out for the team line-up during the week went out, Jay had responded “In and Win”. Words to live by. There were plenty more chances. Paul came the closest when he intercepted a Kanwal throw-in to their keeper but found the side netting instead. The backline were solid with some scrambling defence and some great clearances from Lawesy and Brad. Poor Boz copped an elbow in the rib cage from their Number 4. It soon became apparent it was a signature move for that player. The ref however didn’t pick up on it. Kanwal did manage one goal of their own towards the end of the half with a little chip that dipped just under the crossbar. Every other attempt that came close was expertly taken care of by our goalkeeper Aza who picked up the 3pts today.
The second half proved a hard slog. The sun had come out and everything felt like a struggle. Kanwal started to control the midfield and their left winger was giving our backline sound headaches with some fast runs. They looked to have scored early but some tenacious scrambling from Aza saw him dive back and put his hand on the ball. It was then kicked from his grasp and into the net but the Ref disallowed the goal. It was possibly the saving grace in not losing this game. They did score a second but due to it occurring a bit later in the game we were able to grind it out. Their jokester striker did take a dive in the penalty box hoping for a miracle whilst their No. 3 at the back was an endless nuisance trying to win free kicks by whining and foul play. Luca gave him a solid shoulder charge that sent him to the ground. Seconds later he made a rugby tackle into the back of Boz. Does anyone know a good counselor? Up front there weren’t too many chances. Paul again came the closest of missed opportunities with a curling left footer that hit the left upright. Their keeper casually watched it knock the post from afar. Boz battled on with the rib injury and did it no favours when he laughed at his cousin Colin’s fatigue at the end of the game who was also struggling from a leg injury. Ahh, family love. After two draws, it was nice to be back in the winner’s circle and along with Woongarrah and The Entrance, there’s a healthy gap between the top 3 and the rest of the pack as we near the halfway mark of the season. Next week, Woongarrah battle The Entrance whilst we take on Terrigal. If the Entrance can make the Wildcats drop some points and we win, then we’ll be back on top again. In and Win!!
(Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz / Game Photos by Michael McGarvey)
Goals (Assists): A.Kennedy (Fitzpatrick), Ashton (M.Kennedy), Ashton (M.Kennedy), Paudel (A.Kennedy)
ROUND #5 (AUGUST 1, 2020)
vs TOUKLEY 2 @ HARRY MOORE OVAL 1
I’m not sure how we get a home game at the furthest ground away from us but here we were at Toukley for the clash between first versus last. This was always going to be a danger game especially for bike rider Gregg. The last time he rode here he got as far as Lisarow before his bike caught on fire. Thankfully he completed the journey this time as did 13 of his teammates. McGarvey and Lawes were the omissions from the regular line-up this week. Toukley2 on the other hand, only had ten regular players and borrowed one from the Over 45s the game prior.
With a 3pm kick off, Aza was wise to the fact that whoever was keeper at the wrong end for the second half would have to contend with the glaring sunlight on the horizon. Captain Boz did him a solid by winning the coin toss. The only other thing left to avoid was cricket balls flying out of the practice nets!
We started the stronger keeping the majority of the play in their half. Boz, Luca and O’Connor teamed up in the middle creating attacking options. First blood was struck when O’Connor sent Andy up the left flank. His ensuing cross curled into the path of Boz who thumped the ball into the net with a solid header. It seemed like only a matter of time before we’d double our lead. Paul looked threatening upfront and Fitzy was looking all set to put one away after quality service from Mick only to be declared offside. We had several chances from corner kicks and Colin also got a shot in that just sailed over the crossbar. We were soon to rue the missed chances when an accidental handball against Wallace gave them a free kick with a few minutes before half time. The sunlight came in handy for Toukley with Aaron unable to get a firm grasp on the direct shot.
It went from bad to worse as the second half arrived. Brad sent a wayward back pass to Aaron who was forced to knock it out for a corner kick. Toukley took the lead courtesy of a header in the ensuing play, the outside post having been left unattended. Gregg copped the blame for that one and for the next few corners, Aaron stuck Gregg to the posts using the electrical tape from Gregg’s ankles. Frustration was high but we managed to bring it to parity not too soon after. O’Connor had been fouled just outside the box. Andy’s free kick curled towards the far post where O’Connor was there to slot it in. 2-2! The chances continued to come. Jay had a great run into the box but was unable to get a shot away and Paul had a cracker of a shot but just hit the base of the crossbar. It was Boz though who would take us into the lead again with another header. This one coming from Andy’s corner kick. With 12 minutes left, surely we could hold out? Wrong. A few minutes later, Toukley picked up a third. Another free kick. Though there was an appeal for the goalscorer being offside, the referee let it go and that was that, 3-3. The closest we came in the final minutes was a free kick from Paul but Boz and Andy weren’t able to connect with it. Despite not losing, it was a dejected team leaving the field at full time. A disappointing performance but on the bright side no injuries and we remain undefeated. We have dropped to 2nd place though as Woongarrah picked up their fourth straight win. Let’s hope we find that winning spirit again as we travel to Kanwal next weekend.
(Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz )
Goals (Assists): Bohringer (A.Kennedy), O’Connor (A.Kennedy), Bohringer (A.Kennedy)
ROUND #4 (JULY 25, 2020)
vs THE ENTRANCE @ ALAN DAVIDSON OVAL 1
We weren’t quite sure what to expect for this game. Our opposition was flogged in Round 1 by Kanwal but victorious in their past two games, putting 5 away in both. The real concern was they had former Central Coast Mariners and Grand Final hero Patrick Zwaanswijk on their teamsheet! Talk about slumming it. A least we could say we’d played against him and that Julia would be watching instead of playing her Candy Crush game but alas, he was absent. We too were missing a few stars with Sicily Cicadas legend Luca Scuri and Jay Paudel unavailable and Meady not due to arrive till the second half.
Our first game on Field 1 began grimly. They dominated the midfield early on but McGarvey looked set to turn the tide with a strong run though half the opposition. Unfortunately upon taking a shot he fell to the ground grimacing from a knee injury. He immediately diagnosed it as cruciate ligament and took to the sideline. The good news, he was able to return to the game later. The bad news, the scans reveal it’s an MCL tear and he’ll be out for a few weeks. Hoping for a speedy recovery mate. Shortly afterwards, Ashton looked like he hyper extended his leg and then Boz took a hard knock. Andy, who that morning had made a mock line-up change ruling out these three Parramatta Eels supporters, was suddenly worried he’d jinxed it. Thankfully they were fine, albeit sore. Andy soon had an injury too, that of wounded pride after stepping up to take a penalty awarded to Wyoming after a handball infringement. McGarvey, O’Connor and Ashton opted out by the way! Andy’s shot hit the inside of the crossbar and bounced out. His brother Mick had filmed it with a drone camera and a freeze frame revealed the ball had crossed the line. Damn you CCF, where’s the VAR for Over 35s D Grade?? Seriously! Of course, the rest of the team were happy to remind him it was a ‘Zero’ on the scoresheet. Particularly Flanno who made his return – and apparently his retirement – to the field for about three minutes of game time. Why didn’t the team founder step up for the penalty I hear you ask? That’s a good question. Considering his only goal for us was in a trial game, what a way this would’ve been to go out.
Granted our heads went down when McGarvey initially went off and The Entrance threatened constantly. Luckily for us we had Quill to save their shots on target and the rest were tree bound. Boz, Avery and Atkins worked hard in the back middle to force most of their shots from a distance. Up front, O’Connor came closest with a curling shot and Fitzy made a couple of good runs but just couldn’t fire a shot away. Ryan too made some good charges down the flank. Just before half time, The Entrance’s most vertically challenged - No. 15 – went down in the box. Boz had already been sledging him with comments such as “you fell over again” and Jordan was adamant we should check his age on the teamsheet. At any rate, a collision with Mick O’Connor (not as good as the collision between he and Ryan earlier) gave The Entrance a penalty. Could’ve been their second if Gregg’s handball had been spotted. Anyway, they didn’t miss their dotty and at half time we trailed 0-1.
The rain arrived for the start of the second half. As play resumed, Andy had to count our numbers a couple of times before casually sneaking off over the sideline, we had started with twelve players, oops! We looked the goods in the second half with many more attacking plays and pressure in the center of the park. The equaliser came about with some nice work on the left flank. Wallace – who put in a classy effort for this second stanza – combined with Andy who sent a charging O’Connor up the left edge. O’Connor sliced it across the goalmouth where Ashton stretched out and found the net. The charge continued. Meady arrived at the backs to give us further stability. Luca also arrived but merely as a spectator as he didn’t have enough time to gear up due to work commitments. McGarvey admirably soldiered on despite his knee injury and there were plenty of attacking chances. The Entrance didn’t really come close at the other end. Their Number 15 continued to fall down. Boz of course was there for more banter until one of their older players stepped in. It was Number 15’s Dad. Boz you bully! Unfortunately, time ran out before we could find the winner. Perhaps a deserved result considering their dominance in the first half. Our winning streak is over but we still remain undefeated. Onwards and upwards. Special thanks to Toby Flanagan for doing the 3-2-1 this week and congratulations for making his first grade debut mid-week.
(Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz; Game Photos by Alistair Kennedy; Drone Photos by Michael Kennedy)
Goals (Assists): Ashton (O’Connor)
ROUND #3 (JULY 18, 2020)
vs OURIMBAH @ OURIMBAH OVAL 2
Round 3 and another top of the table clash, this time against the only other undefeated team in the comp, the Ourimbah Falcons. We’d both had 4-0 victories over Toukley sides last weekend. Could we continue this winning run? This would be the first game of the season without a full compliment of subs. Meady and Ryan were out due to their kids playing at East Gosford. Meady did attempt a rain dance on Hylton Moore but to no avail.
Boz gathered the troops prior to kick off for a motivational pep talk to encourage us to own this game from the start … we did not.
Ourimbah came out firing and if not for some quality saves from Aza we could’ve been down one or two goals within the first few minutes. Nevertheless we weathered the storm as Luca and the two Micks took charge of the midfield. Our attacking chances started to come, sometimes against the run of play. The first real chance came when Brad sent a perfect cross from the right flank to Ashton in front of goals. Ashton tapped it on the volley only for their keeper to stretch out and make the save. Denied yet again! Not to worry. After a brief hiatus on the sideline, Ashton returned to tap in a blocked shot from McGarvey and soon after a shot of his own from wide was deflected for a tap in for Fitzy. Yes, despite a poor start, we were leading 2-0. O’Connor had a solid shot with a set piece. He later decided to claim another free kick before the whistle had actually been blown. He’d been fouled and promptly collected the ball with his hands. The ref thankfully agreed in his favour several seconds later.
Half time had come and to our surprise we were winning. Boz gathered the troops for another motivational pep talk to encourage us to go on with this, to not ease up and maintain this lead … we did not.
Yes, within a few minutes of the second half the score was level. Ourimbah scoring two goals in quick succession and prompting Aza to yell out something about a fire truck. It was looking dire but thankfully their momentum simmered and we started to push forward again … except for the times where Jay and Andy got pulled up for foul throws. Andy’s second in as many games. So embarrassed was his five-week old son Aidan (his first game) on the sideline, that he looked away and fell asleep!! Was he actually ever awake, who’s to say. There were shots aplenty with Andy, McGarvey, Paul and Jay having good chances. The Paull brothers at the backline for the Falcons were adamant that their former schoolmate McGarvey wasn’t going to score sending in three to four players to mark him whenever he made a run. This worked well for Andy when Mick got a ball out to him (perhaps accidental) in front of the goals. Andy placed it past the diving keeper to give us a 3-2 lead. Boz led the backline splendidly working tirelessly amid being fouled on numerous occasions and limiting the Falcons’ attacking chances. They didn’t really come close to scoring again and thankfully one of their strikers taking a dive in the box calling for a penalty fell on deaf ears. To mix salt into their wounds, Fitzy sent Mick O’Connor on his way from the halfway line for a last minute charge. Mick belted it into the net to put the victory beyond doubt. The full time whistle blew immediately after. Not a bad afternoon for Fitzy with one goal and one assist. His efforts weren’t as on song when attempting to drive out of the carpark and getting bogged in the mud instead, oops.
So there you have it. Three from three and we’re sitting nicely three points clear on top of the table. Today though was a reminder that this game could’ve easily gone the other way. It was a hard fought battle out there and the score did not reflect how solid the Falcons were. If our winning ways continue, I’m sure we’ll meet them again at the pointy end of the season.
(Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz / Game Photos by Brooke from Ourimbah FC)
Goals (Assists): Ashton (McGarvey), Fitzpatrick (Ashton), A.Kennedy (McGarvey), O’Connor (Fitzpatrick)
ROUND #2 (JULY 11, 2020)
vs TOUKLEY 1 @ ALAN DAVIDSON OVAL 2
Well game one was done and dusted. Albeit sore and Paul with a swollen knee, most of the boys came away unscathed and were ready for this Top 4 clash against Toukley 1. That being said, on Monday, Jay was already asking about a mid-week training session. You don’t mention the “T” word on a Monday !! That’s okay, he’s new.
Toukley1 were also a Round 1 winner putting 4 goals away against Toukley 2 last weekend so we expected this could be a tough game, especially as they were the Premiers of the DN competition last year. What a headline: 2019 DS Champions vs DN Champions! With the steady rain all morning there was no certainty this game would go ahead but despite the slippery conditions and mud slides, the whistle was blown – yes we had a ref (and two assistants) this week!! We had a full bench but Toukley1 only managed the bare eleven, one of their players is serving a four week suspension after the GF.
The Tigers were on the attack early and they didn’t have to wait too long to hit the lead. Starting from a shot by Andy that took a deflection from a Toukley player’s arm and hit the crossbar, McGarvey’s ensuing free kick hit the wall but bounced favourably for him to get a second shot that propelled into the top right corner. Just who gets the assist for this, I don’t know. Speaking of assists, Paul was robbed again. He sent McGarvey away who was no doubt on his way to score his second until he was taken down in a “last man” foul. Whilst Wyoming were awarded the free kick, the offending player received no card. The ref declared that it was an “accident” and that Mick had turned into him… um duh! This did prompt an eventual card - to Flanno for dissent on the sideline. Another goal was denied after a ball from Fitzy to Mick was cleared away from a defender who kicked the ball away after it had crossed the line. Where’s our goal line technology, CCF?? Other chances included a Boz free kick and a belter from O’Connor that sailed wide.
After all the attacking chances, it looked like Toukley1 were going to come up with an equaliser on the counter. Brad had made an error giving Toukley1’s striker a perfect chance. His shot hit the crossbar and Aaron showed quick reflexes to punch it – the ball mostly – away from danger. A handball from Brad inside the box also went unnoticed. Talk about being blessed, well done Iron Man. Eventually, the lead increased for the Tigers. Paul looked like he was lining up to take a shot but sent the ball through to Jay to his left. Jay switched it across the goalmouth where McGarvey was there to finally get his brace.
The rain had subsided by the time the second half had started, the Tigers onslaught did not. The Toukley keeper had a busy afternoon other than Boz and Andy having shots at the Grange Tavern. The third goal came about during a Fitzy flare-up. After being fouled, the advantage was played on as the ball travelled across to Andy. He found O’Connor perfectly positioned in front of goals who slotted it past the keeper. Fitzy was still arguing with the ref unaware we’d been awarded a goal. Flanno tried to call him off to have a rest but he was having none of it until he picked up a yellow card soon after. The ref had reminded all that when calling for an interchange, the player coming off had to leave the field at the nearest point of the sideline. And so poor old Fitzy had to do the long walk of shame from the other side of the field.
Paul was denied yet again from getting on the scoresheet. He slotted in a perfect cross from Jay only for Jay to be ruled offside. It’s coming, surely!! The fourth goal came about after O’Connor was fouled just outside the box. Andy’s free kick beat the wall but looked like an easy save for the keeper. The wet and muddy conditions didn’t help the custodian however and McGarvey pounced on the loose ball once it left the keeper’s hands. A nice treble for McGarvey today. The 4-0 victory sees us in outright first place on the ladder. Was a nice way to celebrate Luca’s 90th game with the team, Stew’s 70th and McGarvey’s 40th. But special mention to Colin Atkins for reaching the milestone of 2 games. Luca dedicated the win to Colin…” And the Wyoming Tigers 35D has the 2nd win of the season! 2 from 2 courtesy of our mighty #2 Colin Atkins, no doubt 2 is our lucky number! 2 goals in each half we were 2 good for 2kley!”
Other highlights: Aza almost taking Gregg out with a heavy goalmouth clearance; Boz heckling Luca’s high voice when he yelled out “Boz! Boz!”; Aza getting winded when he dived on the ball to block a shot only to be told by Nige that it was going out anyway; and Andy and Stew copping it from all involved for foul throws.
(Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz)
Goals (Assists): McGarvey (McGarvey), McGarvey (Paudel), O’Connor (A.Kennedy), McGarvey (A.Kennedy)
ROUND #1 (JULY 4, 2020)
vs WOONGARRAH @ HAMYLN TERRACE 1
After a ten month long off-season there were no excuses to not be ready for today’s game. Yet manager Andy didn’t arrive with the jerseys and team strapper Julia until 19 minutes before kick off. McGarvey claimed it was 18 minutes, pure hyperbole!. Thankfully the kick off was delayed as Woongarrah needed to find a volunteer referee so we had time to warm up and get in a team photo sans Nige (delayed with coaching duties till the second half) and Flanno (his knee injury meant he couldn’t walk onto the field quick enough to get in the shot). The anxiety of waiting meant Luca strapped his ankles himself, sorry brother! Gregg, who had enough electrical tape to strap his own, decided to infuse further anxiety by assessing that our opposition was looking very fit and provided intel that they train every Wednesday. They had a full compliment of five substitutes so we knew we could be in for a hard slog. Plus this was the club’s highest graded side (they have two teams in the E competition) and a formidable Number 5 in the midfield who we’d come across in previous years.
The first half saw both sides with chances in an evenly matched contest. The Wildcats generated more shots but they were either off target or blocked by Aza. Boz thwarted many of their attempts with a solid display in the backline and O’Connor was coolly composed in the center-mid holding position. Wallace had to be told that social distancing didn’t apply to the football itself as he seemingly jumped out of its path several times. Up front, Andy had a few shots. One hit the side netting, the others going straight to the keeper. Ashton eased into the game (his first in four years) up front and tweaked his groin upon taking a shot that veered wide. Luca also looked to be in strife when stretching out his hamstrings to block their Number 5. Thankfully both continued on. Ashton was fouled inside the box for what should’ve been a penalty but the fill-in referee declared it was a free kick just outside. McGarvey’s free kick took a deflection off the wall and narrowly missed the net.
The second half saw us find our groove despite the exploits of an indecisive ref. In the first half, he resisted blowing the whistle for a Wildcats free kick by letting advantage play on. The play ended with Woongarrah taking a wayward shot. The ref then declared no advantage and allowed them to take the free kick. This ain’t Rugby League mate! In the second half, Brad hugged the dirt during a tackle. The play continued on. McGarvey sent Andy down the left flank. Andy cut it across to Paul who having sent a previous shot over the crossbar a few minutes earlier, made no mistake this time and smacked it into net. Our opposition refuted the goal claiming they thought play had stopped due to Brad remaining on the ground. The ref said he hadn’t stopped the play. Our lads celebrated the goal and made their way back to the halfway line until the referee changed his mind and ruled no goal. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait too long to take our rightful lead. Without giving him too much credit, Nige had only just entered the field when he sent Andy down the left. Andy found McGarvey in front of goals an he swiftly put it away. Not long after, O’Connor put Andy into space who slotted it just inside the left upright. 2-0!! Brad was disappointed that Andy had no “baby in a cradle” or “sucking the dummy” goal scoring celebratory dance in place to commemorate becoming a father last month. O’Connor almost made it 3-0 after receiving Jay’s pass across the goalmouth but his shot almost knocked the crossbar off its perch. As usual Luca gave it his all in the middle; Stew worked hard in several positions; Jay showed some class and composure on his debut, and what ACL injury? -- Fitzy ran around the field with the endless energy. Unfortunately a clean sheet was not kept as the Wildcats received a consolation goal in the final minutes. Luca had left the grounds at 2-0 due to work commitments. He asked via messenger for the final score. Naturally we told him we lost 2-3. His response “You f#$ing kidding, me please!!”. The poor guy had to change his underpants before going to work. A great start to the season, well done boys. Thanks to Flanno for running the subs and congrats to Brad “Iron Man” Avery whose appearance today marked 100 consecutive games.
(Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz / Team Photo by Alistair Kennedy)
Goals (Assists): McGarvey (A.Kennedy), A.Kennedy (O’Connor)
Coming off the high of winning the premiership in 2019 and a fun End of Season trip up in Shoal Bay (no one was arrested, not even window-cleaner Elton), the prospect of 2020 season was an exciting one. A majority of the boys would be returning plus we’d be welcoming back former teammates Paul Ashton (ready to test his knees again), Tony Crecca (missed his football brothers too much), Michael Kennedy (Nige somehow convinced him to join us during a Year 12 prom … we didn’t ask how) and Mark Wallace (despite his antics at the senior presentation). Two of the Scotts (Porter and Barker) announced their retirement - just take your premiership winning bottle openers and leave us, fine!! Dale Smith also decided to take a year off as his family increases to Brady Bunch proportions. He also had a couple of cruises planned (oops, thanks Covid-19) and a wedding in August. All the best mate and thanks for running the team last year. Finally, after 7 years in the team, Steve George would also be sitting out as he and wife Sharon set off for a six-month trip around the country in January. They made it as far as South Australia (thanks again Covid!). We also welcomed three new recruits: Boz managed to lure his cousin Colin Atkins away from Mountains District (he’s still wearing their socks though) to join us; and two guys new to the coast - Michael O’Connor and Jay Paudel. Welcome guys !!
We had 20 players on the books by February and then someone ate a bat in China!! As the months passed, the prospect of playing a football season in 2020 started to feel like science-fiction. Self-isolation hit and even the Quills’ garage had to close its door! The only team bonding we had was via social media and a video compilation where we beat each other up. Brad opted out of the latter as he prefers to restrict his violent acts to the opposition on the field and in training sessions against Nigel’s kids. Also during the hiatus: Andy and Ngari had a baby boy whilst Nigel’s padlocks didn’t work very well as he is expecting a granddaughter in August. McGarvey and Julia busily fought the good fight against Covid doubters on facebook and Boz kept everyone’s inbox full with dick jokes.
By June, the dust settled and it was announced that the season would commence in July. We had lost three players by this time: Scott Howison, Tony Crecca and Elton Richardson. Hope to see you next year boys. It did bode well for Mark Fitzpatrick though. Having had surgery on his ACL last November, he had expected to miss season 2020 but the delay meant he was healed and ready to go … the CCF referee community, not so thrilled !! With Fitzy back, we were now at 18, the same age as Ryan’s new girlfriend. Oh wait no, she’s in her early 20’s, my bad. When it was finally permitted, we even had Saturday afternoon training sessions!! With a bit of juggling our request was granted to move to the Northern Comp. The grounds up there are closer to home for some of the boys plus we don’t have to knock out the other Wyoming team from the finals this year. Sanga, Ben and the boys… feel free to take out the DS premiership this year. What a team of nice guys we are!! So here we go, season 2020 commences. Let’s just hope Victoria doesn’t f#ck it up for us …
(Written by Andrew Kennedy-Schultz)
TEAM ISOLATION VIDEO