On 11 November 2012, NSW Bar FC competed in the Law Firms Challenge Cup at Queens Park under sunny skies. Also competing were teams drawn from Clayton Utz, Swaab Attorneys, Makinson & d'Apice, Fragomen, Holding Redlich, Kemp Strang, Norton Rose, Freehills, Bartier Perry, Law in Order, King & Wood Mallesons, Corrs Chambers Westgarth and Minter Ellison.
The squad consisting of David Stanton, Simon Philips, Vahan Bedrossian, Adrian Canceri, Lachlan Gyles SC, Michael Fordham SC, Stephen Free, John Harris, Faraz Maghami, David Patch, Justin Doyle, Ben Phillips, Shereff Habib SC, Iain Todd, Craig Bolger, Matthew Graham, Evan Walker and Anthony Lo Surdo SC was divided into two teams which competed in separate pools. Common to all of our opponents on the day was their relative youth and vitality which was countered by the Bar's enthusiasm and experience.
NSW Bar 1 squared off against Clayton Utz, Makinson & d'Apice and Swaab Attorneys in Group A whilst NSW Bar 2 met Minter Ellison and Corrs in their Group D encounters.
NSW Bar 1 accounted for Clayton Utz 2-0 with an own goal matching Habib's brilliant free-kick from about 20 metres and against a wall of 3 defenders to seal the deal!Ã¯Â¿Â½ The game against Makinson & d'Apice ended in a 2 all draw with goals to the NSW Bar coming from Bedrossian and Maghami. The last pool encounter was against Swaab Attorneys with NSW Bar snaring a 2-1 win to forge a place in the quarter finals against Fragomen. Honours in this game went to Bedrossian from an exquisitely-timed cross from Free and to Canceri from an equally impressive free-kick from Free.
In the sudden death quarter-final clash against Fragomen keeper Harris was his usual diligent but modest self as he and an impressive defence led by (Simon) Philips, Fordham SC and new-comer Ben Phillips, repelled foray after foray to keep our opponents scoreless at the final bell. Shereff, Habib SC and Gyles SC combined brilliantly to give Bedrossian the chance he needed to slam one into the back of the net to secure a spot in the semi-final against Law in Order.
The semi was a torrid affair as exhaustion and aching limbs took their toll on bodies wearied by battle and age. Law in Order looked cool and calm as well they might have been having cruised to their semi-finals berth and with an average age dating back to the 1990's when Britney Spears swelled the air waves with the dulcet tones of "Baby one more time." Undaunted and missing our star striker Bedrossian (who had to leave for a family commitment) the deft skills of Stanton (who also had to leave for a family commitment) and Maghami (out with a nasty calf muscle tear) first blood went to Fragomen. With minutes left in the game our impressive mid-field again combined to give Shereff the opportunity he needed to equalise. With no provision for extra-time a place in the Grand Final was decided on penalty kicks with the NSW Bar 1 narrowly losing 4-3.
NSW Bar 2 met an extraordinarily fit and youthful group from Minter Ellison in its first pool match which had just accounted for Corrs 4-2 in their opening encounter. Patch playing in his favoured striker position led from the front (albeit uncharacteristically right of centre) and was cruelly denied on several occasions. Graham and Walker combined in the attacking mid-field to give structure and depth to the team. Despite some impressive defence by Todd, (Ben) Phillips and Doyle, NSW Bar 2 was unable to stop Minters sneaking two past keeper Bolger to secure victory.
Smarting from its loss to Minters, Corrs were out to set the record straight in the next pool match against NSW Bar 2. With Harris temporarily detained elsewhere and Bolger keen to take the field, Fordham SC courageously volunteered to keep and was set to task almost immediately repelling volley after volley despite a stalwart defensive line of Doyle, (Ben) Phillips and Todd. Corrs slammed 2 into the back of the net before half time when a grateful Fordham SC handed back the keeper's gloves to Harris.Ã¯Â¿Â½ Sensing victory, Corrs were relentless in their pursuit and snared an additional 2 goals but not before Patch converted a penalty from a hand-ball a few minutes into the second term.
Congratulations to all those who competed and thanks also to the partners, wives and children who provided their support on the day.
12 November 2012