|Imojjen (left) vs Æowyn|
In keeping with their 1-1 draw from earlier in the day, Lucas and Æowyn slugged it out for a goalless draw, sending the match to shots. In a tense shootout, the lead changed hands through the duration. With her 5th and final shot, Æowyn hit the far post, the ball rolling across the line and stopping dead half-way across – no goal and no victory! So, to sudden death. Æowyn had been practising shootouts for use in her school competition, and the techniques paid off. She successfully kept Lucas’ next two out and, though she was unable to score from her first sudden death shot, she was able to clinch the title with the next, winning her first ever tournament.
|Kostas vs Antonio (background), Steve vs Paul (foreground)|
In the Opens, two groups were assembled and players chose their respective classic Subbuteo teams, ranging from 70s heavyweights through to contemporary 21st century Subbuteo brand figures, all to use on vintage cloth and nylon Subbuteo pitches and tiny little Subbuteo goalkeepers. Steve opened his account with a tight 1-0 tussle over Dave. Adrian came out all guns blazing against Tony, scoring 3 but also allowing Tony a goal via a travelling goalkeeper error. Mat was matched up against Kostas, playing his first competitive match since his teen years in Greece. In a good showing, he was pipped 1-0 by Mat. He struggled a little more against Adrian, conceding 4 goals. Meanwhile, in one of the day’s surprising results, Tony scored two early goals and a third later in the piece to put Mat to the sword. Newcomer, Paul (who had only played his first ever game of Subbuteo 4 days earlier), held up reasonably, going down 3-0 to Dave. In the final match up of Group A, Steve went on a bit of a spree against Dave, including one final miracle goal. Utilising the classic Subbuteo curl, Steve managed to use three figures doing a series of curls to touch the ball, then play it forward, for another figure to curl and connect. Then the final curl around a defender to touch the ball, play it back for the final figure to shoot into the top right corner! Mat scored one of the goals of the day – a long range effort chipped into the top corner to beat Adrian, while Kostas scored his first goal of the tournament, though conceded four to Tony.
So Steve faced Tony in Semi-Final 1. Midway through the half Tony took the lead, piling the pressure on Steve. However, Steve settled in to his groove, drew on his years of classic Subbuteo experience to come from behind and win 3-1. In Semi-Final 2, Dave took and early lead against Adrian but Adrian pulled back the equaliser soon after. A tight second half failed to split the pair so shots it was. Neither player was particularly good, each managing only a single successful shot of their first 5. Dave then buried his first from the corner in sudden death to pile the pressure on Adrian. However, in a change of form, Adrian also scored his to keep the game alive. His practise with Æowyn then paid off, as he first saved Dave’s next shot, then slotted home to win the match.
|The victor and the vanquished|
In the grand final, Adrian faced Steve. The September Cup, using figures that players are less used to using, had provided Adrian with his only ever victory over Steve in the past, so Adrian was hopeful he might be able to spring a minor upset over the favourite. The game was evenly balanced throughout, but Adrian managed to take the lead towards the end of the first half, positioning himself well for a relatively straightforward shot. But there was drama to come. With just 5 minutes left on the clock, and the taste of victory on Adrian’s lips, he played an innocuous ball across his own goal box with a defender. Except that it didn’t quite go across as planned. The ball trickled gently towards the goal and Adrian’s desperate lunge towards his goalkeeper was not enough to keep the ball, and the own goal, out. Steve doubled his efforts to snatch the victory, employing the world famous ‘Magee Swarm’ for the final few minutes, though neither player could take advantage of their respective late chances. So, another shootout. With Æowyn’s recent shootout victory fresh in his mind, Adrian used his training, keeping Steve goalless in the shootout, taking the match, and his first September Cup title since 2007, with a shot to spare.
Many thanks to all who played, including our two new competitors who were introduced to competition play via this tournament played in the best of spirits with great camaraderie and fun.
(Report by Adrian Elmer)