By Benny Ng
Congratulations to Altona’s very own Benjamin Ng for winning the Junior category at the Australian Grand Prix of Table Football (Soccer).
Held in Sydney in early February, the Australian Grand Prix is the biggest event in the sports table football calendar and is effectively the national championships for the sport.
Originating from a table top game called Subbuteo, table football is essentially football miniaturised on a table. Players flick small replica players on plastic bases to slide them around the pitch to manoeuvre a ball around the pitch. Like in real football, the aim of the game is to score more goals than the opponent to win. The game combines the strategic thinking of Chess, the mastery of ball striking angles in Billiards, with the speed and intense action of real football.
Benjamin plays for the Western Flickers Table Football Club, which started in Altona in 2015.
It has since grown exponentially from the two founding members – Benny Ng and Adam Deverell – to its current membership of around 20 members of both adults and kids.
Benny and Benjamin flew up to Sydney to pit their skills against the best table footballers from around the country. Whilst Benny performed admirably to reach the quarter-finals, it was the performance of his 11 year old son Benjamin who stole the limelight.
In a thrilling Junior grand final against Othniel – from Subbuteo Parramatta – nothing separated the juniors. It ended up goalless even after Golden Goal extra time. So it was down to the dreaded shootout to decide the winner. Both players missed their first shots, but Othniel pulled ahead with the second round of shots after Benjamin missed his second kick. Benjamin kept his nerve though, to pull level after the fourth round of shots. In the final round, Benjamin scored a stunning goal and piled the pressure on young Othniel. Benjamin pulled off a magnificent save with the last shot to clinch the Junior title!
If anyone would like to try out Subbuteo table football, please email Benny at email@example.com. All are welcome regardless of skill level or experience.