Ryde derby honours

When the two powerhouses of Ryde football, North Ryde and West Ryde Rovers, collided at the city’s premier stadium, Magdala Park, local pride was on the line. Who would come out on top this time? Would there be any horses punched? Read on…

First up, Saturday morning’s clash between Redfield College and West Ryde Rovers, Under 10s division 2, with up and coming referee Zach in charge. Rovers, coached by two of their Premier League superstars, were looking good early on, Latu with a great goal, but with the day warming up quickly, the superior fitness of the visitors was evident, and the reds eventually turned the screw, racing into a 3-1 lead. Zach’s first experience of an over-zealous coach occurred at half time, the visiting coach waxing lyrical about the intricacies of the Under 10s rule from goalkeepers – “I’m not telling you how to do your job, but…” was the tone. Zach handled it well, and wasn’t going to argue – probably because his 15 year old self couldn’t really give a toss what he thought. A super second half saw two goals go in, one for each side, Rovers done over by the better team.

No game for Zach this weekend, the great Australian phenomenon of the bye coming into effect and giving him more time for more assistant referee appointments later in the day. It’s all about the cash mon-eh!

So, on to Saturday afternoon and the Ryde derby. There is no East Ryde or South Ryde club, so North v West was the flavour, and it was a classic game of two halves.

Rovers were struggling for numbers, Rod running late and Chris turning up with five minutes to kick off. The return of Sean, the scarlet pimpernel who has only played twice and scored in both games, was a boost, but there were a number missing players and Rovers started with bare numbers, Rod eventually arriving to bolster the ranks. Rovers were playing with the wind in the first half and it was quite fierce. Needless to say, it was Rovers on the offensive first up, and a flowing move saw Naz loop a ball out to the right to the advancing George in space who struck sweetly to give Rovers the lead.

Soon after it was two. A Texi free kick from the right caused confusion, the goalkeeper went down in a heap and Sean hooked the ball home for two. The home side had expected a whistle for a foul, but like myself, the ref saw nothing wrong and signalled the goal. The length of time the goalkeeper was on the ground, clutching his jaw with blood coming through his fingers suggested that there may have been a collision. Sheeks then cleared off the line to preserve the two goal lead, and Rovers had chances for more but couldn’t eke out a third. Half time 2-0, and yes, under the circumstances a very dangerous scoreline.

Ten minutes into the second half, Rovers had already squandered the lead. The first some hesitation between goalkeeper Matt and Joey who had tracked his man back, the second an ambitious shot from thirty yards that caught the wind and sailed right into the top right hand corner of the goal for an incredible equaliser. As aesthetically pleasing a goal as you will see.

Rovers dusted themselves off and started again, battled hard and got back into the game. Dimitri was felled by the goalkeeper after rounding the replacement shot stopper for what looked like a stonewall penalty, however the referee pointed the other way, then Rod burst through to only find the keeper’s shins. The moment that turned the game was a cross from the left that struck an arm. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot to give the Rovers a great chance. Knowing the Rovers record from 12 yards, this was no foregone conclusion, and George confidently stepped up to add to his 0 from 1 record this season, the keeper easily saving. Thankfully though the ball dropped beautifully for the silky midfielder and he rolled the ball home for 3-2. With time running out, and North Ryde on all out attack, Rovers broke, the ball was rolled into George’s path and with the goal and the hat-trick beckoning, the sniper struck, a hamstring pull sending him off balance and to the ground.

It was end to end action after that, both keepers forced into saves, before the whistle blew to give the West a famous win over the North in their own back yard. Get in! The post-match er picnic was tremendous, the mood was celebratory. A great day to be alive!

An even greater morning followed, when the Toon got off to a flyer in the new EPL season in the early game at West Ham. Fantastic!

A trip to North Turramurra on Sunday morning was always going to be a test for Aurelia’s Under 13 GSAP team. The Div 1 Northern Tigers lay in wait. Coach Eddie was again missing, on duty for the Under 15s, so Gladesville Ravens relied on Under 12s coach Olga to run the team again. After all she got the win two weeks ago!

This was as expected a bit of a mismatch. The Ravens, fresh from their trial full field game with the Under 14s midweek, were totally overrun by their hosts. They were quicker, smarter and lethal. The pick of the four first half goals was from a Ravens corner. The Tigers player picked up the ball, beat four players and with a turbo burst of pace, raced through and thumped the ball home. Sage had the only chance of the first half, shooting just wide when release by Erika. The second half was a much closer affair, the wind again giving one team a massive advantage in each half. No goals though from the Ravens, and only one from the hosts and 5-0 was the final score.

Smashing facilities out at Turramurra, a synthetic field hosting the older age groups, modern buildings and Gaudi-esque floodlights. We’ll be back.

Sunday arvo saw a refereeing appointment Mac Uni against Macquarie Dragons in AA2. This was a fine game, the Uni team looking professional from before kick off, and they took that on to the field, dominating their opponents. They led 2-0 with three minutes to go before a late goal back caused panic and Dragons were unlucky not to snatch a draw with a late chance that flashed past the post. A pleasure to referee with two Rovers assistants too, Elijah and Nable keeping their referee right with some good calls.

I’ve been packing up ready to move house and I came across these gems from the Ravens end of season trip to Byron Bay, where comedy t-shirts were used as forfeits. Damien Lovelock even took one of these photos from the stage at the Beach Hotel. Good memories, and from the fresh faces in the photos, this was a long time ago!

A busy week consisted of training for Aurelia on the Tuesday at Bedlam Bay, Texi on Wednesday at Meadowbank 4 (the Four-tress), then Zach at Meadowbank 3 on Thursday while Aurelia was back at Bedlam. Friday was spend moving and unpacking, this fine t-shirt from a few years back when coaching Zach’s team was unearthed. Great memories.

The week ended with news of the Football Writers Festival over in Manly in November – the event is gathering steam and looks increasingly likely to go ahead. So exciting to have something to look forward to. That came with another email from Fair Play Publishing with the first edit of my next novel, with the working title Anna Black – This Girl Can Play. Lots of work to do on that one, but I should be winning some time back now that I’ve moved house. Stay tuned for more football this week, Aurelia going back to her old club for Koalas v Ravens on Sunday, should be a cracker!

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