WA Over 40's - 2007 Match Reports


WA vs NSW - Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Our gallant O/40s went down 1-3 to a tough NSW squad in the opening match of the tournament. We had a minor setback before the game when ex-Olympian Graham ‘Possum’ Reid was ruled out with a niggling hamstring injury. However, the 16 man squad has great depth, drafting versatile Kojonup stalwart Mike ‘Splinter’ Bilney out of the half-line to share the inside-forward duties with Alan Dick, Andrew Davy and Darran Wilson. All contributed strongly, working hard in the testing mid-afternoon conditions. 

The opening 15 minutes were played at a cracking pace, with both teams making incisive forward moves. Greg Pampling created our best opportunities up front, although an undisciplined act saw him receive the tournament’s first green card. Meanwhile, the defence, led superbly by Captain Blair Pedler, held firm. New cap Scott McDonald started nervously at full-back, but good chatter from the more experienced defenders helped him to ease his way into the action. Glen ‘Sloth’ Strother also made his mark with some crucial tackles when brought on at full-back. 

NSW broke the deadlock late in the half with a thundering strike from a short corner. Our defence became momentarily rattled and we soon conceded another series of corners. Unluckily, a desperate Warrick Greaves was struck on the foot, perhaps just outside the line of the goals, and a stroke was awarded. The high flick gave custodian Marty ‘BFG’ Ferrari little chance and we went into the break two goals down. 

In the second half, we again matched it with our combatants. The baby of the team, Craig Emslie, combined with ‘Pamps’ to find space in attack, giving the NSW defenders headaches. Our other strikers fared less successfully, with playing coach Noel Morrison sidelined by what is hoped is a minor strain and John Sims colliding with the umpire when finally given the chance to surge into the circle. 

The forwards were well served by centre-half and ex-Scotland international Mike Starling, who had a fascinating and quality contest with his classy NSW counterpart. In a man-of-the-match performance, ‘Mikey’ wrested control of the mid-field and showed that he would be a key to our success in future matches. 

Unfortunately, a quick breakaway saw the NSW forwards score somewhat against the run of the play. This left us ten minutes in which we could have capitulated entirely. However, we fought hard and won a late penalty through ‘Ems’. He made a withering run into the circle while being hacked viciously from both sides. Starling executed a blinding flick, which gave us heart and we continued to press for the final seven minutes. 

Result: WA 1 - NSW 3

WA vs WAC - Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Our forwards turned it on in the heat of the WA derby, crushing WA Country 6-1. Craig Emslie starred with a hat-trick of brilliant goals, the first coming after only five seconds of play. 

Centre-half Mikey Starling threw an overhead from the opening push back and nippy right wing John Sims chased it down behind the unprepared defence. He found ‘Ems’ in front of the oncoming keeper, where ‘Ems’ proved too slick, quickly slotting the ball inside the near post. 

We controlled the play in stifling conditions, but were not rewarded until Starling made a dazzling solo run, during which he sent four opponents the wrong way, before cracking a shot high into the net from the top of the ‘D’. 

Further opportunities were created, with ‘Ems’ and Sims both going close to extending the lead before half-time. However, Country found something extra in the last minutes and side-stepped the previously unpassable full-backs, Blair Pedler and Glenn Strother, to score a scrappy goal. It was a rare lapse from ‘BP’ and ‘Sloth’, who both courageously played the full 70 minutes. 

We emerged from the dugout with renewed vigour in the second half and scored twice early to break the spirit of many of our country cousins. Alan Dick and Greg Pampling became increasingly dangerous, as ‘Ems’ and Sims continued to run amok. Warrick Greaves, Darran Wilson and Andrew Davy worked hard in the midfield, using the opportunity to display their skills as Country wilted. 

‘Ems’ deflected a perfect Starling pass from a set short corner play, and pinched his third goal from under the keeper’s nose at another corner. Sims capped off some great stickwork from Dick, scoring a ridiculous goal from a behind the back deflection. 

The icing on the cake came ten minutes from the end when Colin ‘Disco’ Tyler, normally a defender, ran hard from inside-left to support ‘Pamps’, who had snared the ball on the baseline. ‘Pamps’ had the presence of mind to make a one handed, diving, reverse stick pass back to the gleeful ‘Disco’, who slapped a rare goal millimetres inside the post.

Result: WA 6 - WAC 1

WA vs QLD - Saturday, October 6, 2007

Superior fitness saw us snatch a thrilling come from behind win against host state Queensland in Brisbane. 

With Possum Reid back from media commitments and Tubby Morrison returning from injury, we had our chances in the first half, but also conceded a number of short corners from defensive blunders. Inevitably, Queensland capitalised on our mistakes and knocked in a straight hit from a corner. 

Our best opportunities came from Alan Dick at inside-right, who was strongly supported by overlapping half Splinter Bilney. Craig Emslie also made brilliant position for a deflection just on half-time, but was beaten by a crisp pass that took an unexpected bobble. 

The boys rallied in the second half, although we still made a couple of horrible errors, one of which led to a second opposition goal. Fortunately, Marty “Elton” Ferrari turned in a sensational second period in goals, denying Queensland’s most deadly forward on numerous occasions. Fremantle’s Sloth Strother and Edith Cowan’s Scotty MacDonald followed Ferrari’s lead, regularly bringing Queensland’s attacks to a crunching halt. Possum and Mikey Starling also gained the ascendancy in the midfield, and the flank halves took more risks by pushing high. Consequently, our strikers started to get the ball in more dangerous positions. Ems, Pamps and wee Simsy were all unlucky not to open our account. 

We drew one goal back with only 13 minutes to play when man of the match Starling finally found Ems on the spot during a set corner move. Minutes later Starling made a trademark silky run through the heart of the defence to set up Ems for another deft deflection past the keeper. 
Unfortunately, Ems joined Darran Wilson and Warrick “Capper” Greaves on the bench, all suffering minor injuries, but the momentum had clearly swung our way. In the final minute and a half, an inspired team move began with Sloth in deep defence and ended with a sprawling Possum finding the net from near the baseline. 

However, the high drama was not over and Queensland pressed forward, winning a last gasp corner with seconds on the clock. The umpire made us wait for the hooter, before our desperate defenders, outnumbered ten to five, closed down the angles and forced Queensland to waste the ball wide. 

Result: WA 3 - QLD 2

WA vs VIC - Sunday, October 7, 2007

Our tough and determined outfit overcame injuries to triumph 4-2 over a tenacious Victorian team. Star striker Emslie carried a hamstring niggle into the match and remained in the dugout for the opening ten minutes. Custodian Ferrari took some friendly fire during the warm up, while player of the tournament thus far, Starling, rolled his ankle mid-way through the first half. Versatile Darran Wilson required treatment for his back during the game, and Possum Reid’s dodgy muscles tightened late in the game when he was brutally taken from behind. Capper Greaves also moved gingerly, suffering from an inflamed knee. 

We started brightly with Captain Pedler directing the troops from the back and generating attacks along both flanks. Dick was lively at left inner, and Tubby Morrison provided a focal point at centre forward. 

The goal we deserved didn’t come until Ems slipped unnoticed onto the field. He had an immediate impact, sending a 25 metre pass to wee Simsy on the baseline, who drew the defence to set up Pampling for an easy put away at the far post. 

Starling and Dick had cracking shots, setting the keeper on his heels, before Wilson dragged the ball out of a skirmish at the top of the ‘D’, zipped right, and stroked a classy goal wide and low. 

After Starling rolled his ankle and held up play for several minutes, Victoria regrouped and began to make threatening counter attacks. Pedler, Macdonald, Bilney and company were holding them out until the umpire objected to Possum’s advice about the correct interpretation of the rules and a free hit outside the circle became a short corner. The Vics jumped on the resultant rebound and the score-line, although in our favour, was a disappointing 2-1 at the break. 

In the second half, Dick and Andrew “Pud” Davy stepped it up as inside forwards. Dick repeatedly went hard to intercept the ball as the Vics tried to come out down their right. It was a man-of-the-match winning performance. 

Meanwhile, Possum made up for his earlier indiscretion, sending a visionary through ball to Pamps, who had been lurking in the lengthening shadows in the left corner. He found Tubby with an early cross to the spot, putting us 3-1 up. This inspired Pamps, who continued to feed his team-mates extravagantly, and play like a millionaire. He frequently made something out of nothing, like an oyster makes a beautiful pearl out of a grain of sand. 

To Victoria’s credit, they continued to scrap, somehow threading a ball through traffic and past a perplexed Ferrari. We replied quickly, though, sealing the match with a typical Ems steal and quick flick of the wrists from in front of the baffled keeper.

Result: WA 4 - VIC 2

WA vs TAS - Tuesday, October 9, 2007

We got out of jail in this lacklustre match. Possum was rested and Disco given a breather for most of the first half. 

The tone was set early when Pamps chose to back pass the ball from left wing to the Tassie centre-forward, who was sitting on the top of our defensive ‘D’. Fortunately, BP was able to lunge across the goal face and bunt the ball out of harm’s way. It was a pattern to be repeated a number of times, with BP, Scotty, Sloth and Elton Ferrari forced to clean up bad mistakes. 

It was our most ordinary performance so far. We made poor choices in front of goals, taking shots instead of setting up team-mates in better position. We also failed to use the space being given to our right side attack. Splinter was often available, but rarely acknowledged, and inside-right Dick made few penetrations until Disco came on and played with him in close. 

We went a goal down, mid-way through the half, and only equalised when we finally got something right: a straight hit from BP on a short corner. 

Tubby was ropable at the break and managed to fire up three children spectating from the balcony above, Ems, Pud Davy, Dick and, perhaps unfortunately, wee Simsy. Three minutes into the second period, Sims unnecessarily slid late into a tackle from the wrong side. Play was halted for almost five minutes so that Sims and his blood smeared face could be removed from the turf. X-rays later revealed a broken nose and multiple fractures to his cheek and eye socket. He also had a gaping wound which required numerous stitches. 

Capper Greaves played solidly at left half when called upon, and Pud and Dick controlled the inside forward channels for lengthier bursts. Ems looked dangerous, had one booming shot brilliantly saved by Tassie’s keeper, and uncharacteristically squandered several other chances. 

We scored a second short corner goal when we threw the ball back to Dick who had injected it from the left. It was the final highlight in an otherwise forgettable affair. 

Result: WA 2 - TAS 1

WA vs SA - Wednesday, October 10, 2007

South Australia paid for our sluggish performance against Tasmania. In a stunning return to form we routed the Croweaters 8-1 in Brisbane. 

Ems scored his second hat-trick of the tournament and won his third man-of-the-match award. Wild Man Wilson, enjoying a full run in the forward line, displayed his full array of skills and knocked in two goals. Tubby ran rings around the defence, flicking in one goal and assisting with several others. Dick squirted one high into the net, and Splinter tapped in his first goal for WA. 

The first two goals came early. Both started with Starling, who waltzed through the midfield with his one repetitive but highly effective move. He nodded his head to the right, but dragged the ball left, before slinging identical passes to Wild Man and Ems to swish past the keeper. 

Tubby found space and circumnavigated the keeper for the third, while Splinter showed Pamps and Disco how to finish after their two rat power shots had been easily blocked. 

There was a minor hiccup moments before half-time when an opposition forward feathered a touch on a ball that everyone thought would sail harmlessly through the ‘D’. The umpires conferred, but the goal was not awarded until our defence graciously conceded. 

Immediately following half-time, slick passing on the left led to Dick’s goal, quashing any suggestions of a South Aussie revival. From that moment, we ran them ragged, relentlessly attacking through any avenue we desired. Pud Davy strutted like a peacock, flashing colourfully through inside right, and Ems mesmerised the defence, much to the delight of the highly appreciated supporters from the O/50s team. 

Whenever the ball did manage to clear the half-line, Sloth, BP and Scotty efficiently mopped up and ensured that Elton was able to have a stress free afternoon in the net.

Result: WA 8 - SA 1

SemiFinal WA vs QLD - Friday, October 12, 2007

Needing only a draw to take us through to the grand final, we combined grit and skill to manufacture a two-all result against the best that Queensland could muster. 

We produced our most devastating hockey in the opening fifteen minutes, running hard off the ball and zipping pinpoint passes all around the field. Starling dominated at centre-half, Ems befuddled the opposition full-backs, and Tubby finished the good work by knocking one in early. 

Our defence held firm when Queensland gradually ground their way into the game. BP and Sloth made several telling tackles, while Disco regularly got his big feet in the way to frustrate Queensland’s right side attacks. 

However, the increasing number of thrusts into our deep defence finally resulted in an over zealous hack from BP and a penalty stroke was awarded. Ferrari, who had already made a couple of significant saves, was unable to do anything about the expertly taken flick and we went into the break one apiece. 

The intensity increased with the midfielders magnificently assisting at both ends of the pitch. Dick, Starling and Possum provided the tight defensive unit with multiple outlets, and then fed searching passes to Pamps, Ems and Tubby. 

There was a temporary scare when Pud was yellow carded for encroaching within five metres of a free hit. However, Scotty provided the necessary strength at the back, while Disco continued to trip into interceptions at happily appropriate times. 

Meanwhile, Ems became increasingly troublesome at the other end. It was no surprise when he escaped his marker and calmly stroked a winner under the sliding keeper. 

The Queenslanders tried to press and were assisted by some puzzling whistle-blowing. They won a series of corners, but Ferrari marshalled the troops and we survived several anxious moments. 

Queensland finally scored from a set play to the left, and was awarded a third goal soon after. However, the decision was reversed when the besieged referee realised that the ball had hit an attacker’s foot. 

The play continued to see-saw until the final seconds, with both teams scrambling desperately for the berth in the final. Fortunately, the score remained at two-all, securing a place for us against NSW. 

Result: WA 2 – QLD 2

Final - WA vs NSW - Saturday, October 13, 2007

It was one game too many. Tired legs, rolled ankles, dodgy hamstrings, fractured cheekbones, broken noses, failing eyesight, receding hairlines and expanding waistlines all took their toll as NSW handed us a hockey lesson in the showpiece match of the tournament. 

We were still in it at half time, having recovered from letting in two early goals. Ems got one back from a short corner, and we also had a penalty stroke saved by the NSW keeper. 

After the intermission however, the stiffness and soreness from competing in our eighth game in twelve days proved too hard to overcome. Pud Davy was the only player who provided any genuine spark in the second half, waging a one-man war against a rampant NSW midfield. Everyone else battled manfully, but the bodies were simply unable to offer the necessary resistance and counter-attack. 

NSW deserved their victory, but the final scoreline did not reflect the ability and effort that we had displayed throughout the tournament. Congratulations must go to everyone who managed to get the team as far as it did. Well done to Noel for his coaching acumen, Marty for keeping everyone organised and informed, Alan Dick for being our player of the series, and Ems for being our leading goalscorer and sole Australian O/40s representative. Noel and Marty also made the Australian 0/45s. 

See you all next year in Darwin. 



Result: WA 1 - NSW 5