A feast of football

Fillies Italy captain and player of the Match, Sienna Bell being presented with the Scott Goodwin Memorial trophy by Scott's family, partner- Jodie (presenting the trophy), son Corey, daughters Steffanie and Natalyn, and grandchildren Mason, Chase and Makayla. Picture Julie-Anne Spiller.

By Tania Phillips

The Italy’s National Day came a day early to Stanthorpe at the weekend with the Italian sides dominating this year’ s International Festival of Football at the International Club ground on Saturday.

The competition now in it’s third year, but part of a long-standing tradition in the region, sees players of Italian heritage take on “Australian” sides chosen from their club mates across Stanthorpe.

This annual competition is held at this time to coincide with Italy’s National Day 2 June, which celebrates Italy’s 78th Anniversary of becoming a democratic Republic in 1946.

The games are usually played between Men’s and Women’s teams, selected by competition mastermind Franco Arcidiacono however the Fillies and Over 35s were added to the day this time around to make it a true festival of football.

In a rain-dampened competition the “Italian” teams took out the Women’s, Fillies and Over 35s competition but once again failed to capture the illusive men’s competition.

However, the fifth multicultural match of the day between guest workers from “IComply“ and “Eastern Colours“ employment agencies had to be cancelled due to the rain, held for the first time last year the match was a colourful addition to the day with players from Fiji and Vanuatu facing off against each other.

“We were very fortunate we were able to get the Fillies and Over 35s games done with barely a drizzle,” organising committee member Julie-Ann Spiller said.

“But then by about halfway through the ladies match, about half-time, it decided to really start raining. Then the poor old men, they played in a torrential down-pour so we actually shortened the men’s game because the grounds were becoming very choppy and we had to keep in mind that it is a soccer field and more games need to be played this season.

“We shortened the halves but it was still a great day and unfortunately we didn’t go ahead with the backpackers game, it was just too much with all of the rain and stuff.

“But considering the way the weather was, there was still a great crowd. Unfortunately most people had to sit in their cars and watch but there was still a great crown and it was a wonderful day.”

It was particularly wonderful for Italy who took three from four, though they once again failed to capture the men’s title – and have still never won it in three years of trying.

“Out of four games, I can happily took out three,” Spiller, who’s parents were both born in Italy, said.

“Unfortunately Italy went down in the men’s once again but not without trying. I have to take my hat off to those guys and the coaches and everything because the weather was torrential by the time the men were playing, they did exceptionally well to stay out there.”

The men’s match saw Australia beat Italy four-nil with goals to Harry Coleman (2) and one each to Alasdair Stewart and Jacob Steele. Player of the match for Italy was Nathan Webb and for Australia it was Harry Coleman.

Italy won the women’s game 2-1 with Melanie Reedy and Georgia Favero scoring for Italy and Marley Skinner for Australia. Italian player of the match was Anika Spiller and Shania Politch.

Local personality Milko Volpato starred for Italy scoring a hat-trick in their 5-nil win over Australia Stephen Favero and Romeo Salazar also added goals. Unsurprisingly Milko was the Italian player of the match while Michael Paech was the best for the other side.

The Fillies game was a close one going one-nil to Italy with the goal scored by Sienna Bell. Lucy Camps was the Australian player of the match while Sophia Calvisi starred for Italy.