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Beijing Bombers host first tour match and first win

  • Friday, September 21 2007 @ 11:02 am ACST
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The Beijing Bombers were formed a few years ago by Aussies living in the Chinese capital, but until recently have not been as successful on- or off-field as their counterparts in the Shanghai Tigers. This is set to change however, with the Beijing Bombers defeating the Shanghai club earlier this month - the first home game for the Bombers and their first win against outside opposition - thumping the Tigers to the tune of 39 points.

The Bombers will return to Shanghai on October 27th for the second leg of the China Cup, but in the meantime there's plenty to do with development among Chinese nationals in Tianjin and Beijing. The following report courtesy of the Beijing ARFC's captain-coach Darryl Hoffman.

The Beijing Bombers have chalked up their first win ever with a convincing display over the Shanghai Tigers. The final 39 point margin, 14.21.105 to 10.6.66, could have been greater if the Bombers had kicked accurately for goal.

After arriving at the Clover Turf Farm and waiting for the soccer games to finish and the ground to be marked, the players went through their pre-match preparation. The captain/coach of the Bombers, Darryl "the Hoff" Hoffman, sensing a chance to create some history, asked his players to play accountable footy, run hard, be hard at the ball, and most importantly have the right attitude.

Beijing won the toss and then dominated the early play. However it failed to put scoreboard pressure on. Grant Keys in the ruck and Nick Clarke were teaming well, winning the clearances easily. Warren Rixon was doing a good job tagging Shanghai 's best player, restricting his influence. Finally it was left to The Hoff, with a left foot snap, to get the Bomber's first major on the board. Matty Bahen was superb in his hardness at the ball and the man, putting some big hits on and only coming off second best once, much to the amusement of several teammates. Big Karl Malakunus was creating plenty of headaches for the Shanghai defence and only inaccurate kicking prevented the margin being bigger at quarter-time. At quarter-time the Bombers were leading 3.5.23 to 2.1.13.

Beijing were asked to put in another effort in the second quarter and all the players responded superbly. Keys and Clarke were still dominating the middle of the ground and big Karl was playing his best half of the season. Mick Baird was spraying shots from 10 metres out but winning enough footy to create some problems, mainly for the cows in the next paddock. Michael Boddington was proving to be a useful forward partner for Karl. The half forwards were rotating well off the bench and kept running for the whole first half. Wade McLeod, Tim Beckensall and Aidan Nicolson finding plenty of space and plenty of the ball. The dominance was reflected with 5.5 for the quarter while the defence was terrific, restricting the Tigers to 3.3 for the half.

Defence was led by Tom Luckock, and JB McAuley. Both ran straight and hard repelling the limited opportunities created by Shanghai . Also contributing to the solid defence was Andrew "Sanga" Sawitsch, who was full of run and had some solid spoils. Dan Creer and Alex Bruce came off the bench and ensured high standards were maintained, creating forward thrusts after attacking the ball hard. Pete Nolan, despite carrying an injury and hobbling noticeably after two minutes, played well in the first half. Mr Ed Smith, proved to be a useful backup ruckman doing some good work around the ground. Half time saw Beijing lead 8.10.58 to 3.3.21.

The third quarter was by far the most disappointing of the day for Beijing. Despite dominating play and creating numerous opportunities most were squandered by poor kicking. Beijing 's defensive pressure also fell away during this time and players ignored specific instructions. Despite this Beijing managed to outscore Shanghai , kicking a woeful 3.7 for the term to 3 straight.

While coming to the 3/4 time huddle, The Hoff heard a couple of Beijing players say that Beijing had played well that quarter. He quietly and calmly asked the team whether they thought this was the case. Having received an answer in the negative he explained (still calmly) what he expected in the last quarter. Shanghai came out hard sensing an opportunity to run over the top of the Bombers. Beijing's players started running ahead of the ball to create some attack and some turnovers let Shanghai kick the first couple. Sensing a late comeback the Hoff kicked a captains goal from 40 out on a tight angle to seal the result. Although outscored in the final quarter this was probably due to Beijing switching off a bit when the game was wrapped up and Shanghai trying to avoid a big loss.

Not to be forgotten were the three players who generously agreed to play for the Tigers. All of them did some good things and these did not go unnoticed. Thanks to Steve Rixon, Dom Gray and Jesse Jacobs.

Overall it was very good game for the Beijing team with everyone contributing when they needed to. With Shanghai likely to have some more players for the return match, the Bombers' fitness levels will have to be raised and the effort maintained for four quarters to ensure victory in the 2007 China Cup.

Special thanks to all those that helped on the day. Mic Mittasch who sacrificed his playing spot to run the bench made sure everything went well. His company also opened the chequebook and paid for the ground. Umpires (Ray, Al, Daniel, Morls, Jim and Marcus) all did an excellent job and made sure the game was possible. The scorer (Dal) and timekeeper (?) and supporters also made the day possible and all the more enjoyable.

Look forward to seeing you all at training, including any recent arrivals to Beijing , in the coming weeks as we prepare for the return match in October, where we can hopefully secure the China Cup and the broken trophy.

2007 China Cup - 1st Leg
Beijing Bombers - 14.21.105
Shanghai Tigers - 10.6.66

Beijing Goalkickers - Malakunus 3, McLeod 3, Hoffman 3, Boddington 2, Baird, Sawitsch, Keys
Best Players - Clarke, Keys, Malakunus, W. Rixon, Bahen