01 Jul Men’s 6th Grade
MATCH REPORT: Men’s 6s (SL2) 29/6/19
Ryde Black vs Sydney University
A game for the ages
The odds were stacked against us. No points from 8 previous matches, last on the ladder. Our warriors were undaunted. We faced Moorebank-Liverpool, a club with a fearsome reputation. We were a depleted bunch, with some absent figures, and some just from the big night beforehand.
The game was like no other, this team was second last on the ladder, so we knew it was perhaps our best chance at a draw or even a win. Dare we dream so high? ScoMo just won against the odds, pulling out a resounding 51.5% of the two party preferred. Could we follow in his footsteps? We’re a diverse bunch with many talents.
Our spirits were dampened by an early goal by Moorebank, but obviously this author is not to blame for that, despite his position as a defender. But we soon evened the score after securing a penalty stroke for one of the most blatant acts of cheating since sandpaper-gate. Which in this case was the Moorebank defender being struck in the foot on the goal line while facing the other way on a short corner. Vasu made no mistake, and we were even again. 1-1 going into the break at half time. We could smell our first competition point.
The early part of the second half was mainly fought in the midfield, with few forays into the goal mouth with any real danger. There were a few half-chances, but both sides were holding fast. Steadily, our team found another gear. They were slowing and we were connecting. It was if they were avocados and the field was toast. As millennials and Gen-Y (mostly) we knew what to do with those ingredients, and we smashed ‘em. Suddenly half chances became real chances and we scored two great goals. Ashwin capped off a great team goal, and Anei showed why his speed was to be feared when he managed to slot one home that his opponents assumed he’d never reach.
We were ahead 3-1 with about a quarter to go. Tensions were running high on the Moorebank side, as they started getting testy with each other and us. Far be it for us to waste time, or be unsporting, but I think it’s fair enough to take a second or two before taking a free hit. As the minutes ticked away, our game improved, and theirs stayed the same. We were stalwart in defence and menacing in attack. The final buzzer sounded and we were the victors. If we knew the club song we may have sung it, this was a rare moment. But instead we drank in the victory, and a few amber fluids, and somehow it made it all worthwhile. We were now second last on the ladder. Champions of the bottom of the ladder grudge match. Though to Moorebank’s credit, it was a very sporting affair, no fights, no cards, no harsh words. So it does likely remain to be seen which nice guys will finish last this season in SL2.
Sorry, that was round 9. This was round 11, and our opponents were one of the two dominant Ryde teams in our division. Despite heroic efforts, we fell 3-1. Obviously their goals were rubbish and lucky and our goal was the product of the finest teamwork since the Manhattan Project.
We had our moments, both laudatory and regrettable. Some passages of play would make our highlights reel, including a very nearly scored brilliant last-second full field goal, and some would feature heavily in our fines for the season, such as the airswings and the hits from defensive 16s that went directly to their forwards, on their foresticks most commonly. But this was not our day, and the score was probably a fair reflection of that.
This season has been, for me, characterised by playing with great mates, with a great attitude, against great odds. The scores racked up against us are daunting, and morale should be lower. It’d be nice to play against teams that we would be more competitive against, but such is the fate we’ve been dealt. The guys keep showing up, and play with great team spirit. So although this week, and probably will for most other weeks left in the competition, we ended up on the losing side of the score, it’s a great team that works well together, and gets better game to game, and does it all with humour, after-game refreshment and good times.
Back row L-R: Sri Puthi, Luis Verbeck, Anei Thou, Mark Harris, Aaron Lacey, Michael Balk, Phil Towers, Haydn Marshall, Ahwin Bhana
Front row: Edan Lacey, Vasu Pankhania, Dominic Metcalfe
– Joel Bedford