Thursday, 4 August 2016

International Flavour at Winter Challenge 2016

From left: Greg, Carl, Abraham, Johan, Alyssa, Sve, Ernest and Clifford

Badge of Johannesburg Table Football Club – ‘The Eagles’
Wednesday the 28th of July saw the Johannesburg Table Football Club host the annual Winter Challenge at the Panorama Sports Club. The tournament proved to be aptly named as Thursday evening proved to be the coldest night in Johannesburg for 2016. The tournament was brought forward from Sunday to co-incide with the visit of top German table football player, Sven Schilling.
Sven is a former German national player, veteran of numerous table football tournaments in Germany, France, Denmark and South Africa. He has played for Germany against England in an official international match. On a recent visit he also captured the Cape Town Open.  Sven also won the North German Cup in 1994. The cold evening prevented a larger turnout, however 8 players braved the icy, winter evening and dished up some spicy encounters. All the players were divided into 2 groups with the group winners and runner-ups progressing to the semi-finals.
Sven vs Carl
The tournament saw two players, namely Johan Niewenhuizen and Carl Bolweg, make a comeback to the beautiful game after a lay-off off 15 and 12 years respectively. Johan first played Subbuteo in the late 1950's and is extremely keen to get back into the fold and continue playing at club level. Carl showed some great touches and is also keen to play at club level. The two top seeded players, namely Sven and Clifford progressed, unscathed through the league stages and were joined by Carl and Alyssa Green, the only junior girl in the tournament in the last four.
Sven accounted for Alyssa, and Clifford defated Carl to set up a mouth watering final encounter.
The final got off to a cracking pace with Sven attacking early on and forcing Clifford to make a good save to keep the scoreline blank.
Greg, who is vice chairman of Rand Central LFA handing the
runner-up trophy to our visitor, Sven
Clifford then attacked with some swift play down the flank only to be thwarted by a save and goalpost to insure parity. The remainder of the game was cut and thrust from both players with Clifford having the last chance which was well saved by Sven just before the final whistle.
The resultant penalty shoot-out was a real thriller. The first six flicks were all well saved by the keepers. Clifford broke the ice by scoring his fourth flick and then saved Sven's attempted equalizing flick. Clifford wrapped up the game and the title with a sublime 5th flick which nestled in the top corner and securing a victory over the experienced German visitor.
A special thanks must also go to Nita, Clifford's better half, who generously supplied a slendid and delicious meal for all participants.
A special medal was also handed to Sven along with the runner-up trophy commemorating his first visit to the Joburg TFC.

(Report by Clifford Graaff)