The curtain came down on West Ryde Rovers Over 35 Division 2 season on Saturday with a long awaited end of season celebration. Opting to take our event out of area, this was an away day of epic proportions. For those of us present it allowed us to let our hair down and have some fun.
Australian weather patterns really know how to mess around events. Most of the time, rain and storms create havoc and best laid plans for outdoor events go awry, this time though it was the phenomenal heat that threatened to derail the day. A few pull outs in the morning was no surprise, but the rest of us made our way to the Akasha tap room in Five Dock to sample some of their famous brews in the 40 degree heat. Arriving with the contents of the season’s beer kitty, the ‘no cash’ policy at the tap room kept the bulging envelope untouched as we sampled such brews as the Pineapple Express, Peanut Butter Stout and the Hazy XPA. Some crackers amongst them. With time ticking towards the end of the two hour session, a few of the hardy souls had a crack at The Eagle, a 12% ABV brew that had some eyebrows raised.
Stepping back out into the 40 degree furnace for a 300 metre walk to Barnwell Park pro-shop, the empty promise of a breeze off the harbour was realised, a hot gust welcoming us to the first tee of the day’s active pursuit, the growing sport of Foot Golf.
I reckon we did it justice too. Nine holes, plenty of birdies, and a lot of wayward shooting onto the wrong fairway. A couple of hybrid extra holes saw some attempts at the longest drive and the best chip into the frisbee-golf bucket. By now we’d been joined by the rest of the squad and it was time to get down to business at the Canada Bay club, a stone’s throw from the golf course.
Over a spectacular dinner of seafood platters and much Peroni, the Brownlow medal award was conducted. Midfield dynamo Sheeks took out the award by almost 100 votes, and there was a chance to reminisce about each game as the 3-2-1 post-game votes were tallied up. Save of the season went to Matt, for his point blank save at North Epping, Sheeks again took out the Players Player award and your truly Texi was awarded the goal of the season for a Bergkamp / Beardsley solo effort against Epping FC. The re-enactment in the club didn’t do it justice.
In a wonderful gesture, the lads presented me with a Sydney FC away shirt with Ninkovic No 10 on the back, bloody fantastic, a reward for the unenviable and often soul-destroying task of organising our squad during this extended 2020 season. There was an unexpected chat with the president of the local football team, Inter Lions, who are based at the club and who was watching on as the voting unfolded. It was good to know that our patronage was appreciated and we thoroughly enjoyed our evening there. The night drew to a close with a few beers over the early EPL game back on home territory at the West Ryde Hotel. That brought the 2020 season to a very satisfying close, a season that started on 23rd February at Blackman Oval with a thumping defeat in a pre-season friendly and only ended on 3rd October at Meadowbank Park with a 1-0 win in the final game.
We now move on to the 2021 season. Rumours of a mid-May beginning to the season will not deter us from getting up and running early in the new year, and the first training run is this coming Sunday.
A massive thanks to all the players this season. It has not been the smoothest of years on or off the football field, but with a run of good performances towards the end of the season, we’ve got our mojo back. Well done for braving the unbelievable heat on the day too, I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.
Up the Rovers!