Category Archives: Foosball

FOOSBALL – July 27th – Victorian Open Masters Tournament

When you see an assortment of bandages, wrist supports, gloves and removable grips, you could be forgiven in thinking that you may be at a tennis tournament. But there wasn’t any hint of strawberries and cream, female grunting, short frilly skirts or glistening thighs on display at all at the Princes Park Bowls Club for the Victorian Open Masters Foosball Tournament.

Participating competitors aren’t discouraged from visiting the bar during competition, which makes it sound like my kind of sport. In the halcyon days of snooker and darts being at the forefront of everyday Britain in the 70s & 80s, TV programmes like Indoor League (with Fiery Fred Trueman as host, often wearing a cardigan, and smoking a pipe throughout his links ) regularly featured Table Football as one of their sports. They were definitely the sports of everyday people, based in pubs full of smoke and warm beer (bitter)! Today’s proceedings sees bitter replaced by ice cold lager and cider stubbies and smoking is confined to the outdoor areas.

In the much understated environment of the Princes Park Bowling Club, competitors trekked from all over Australia to compete for the Victorian Masters title, and for the chance of qualifying for the Australian National Titles which are being held in Hobart later in the year. The winner of the Australian Championships gets the opportunity to represent Australia at the 2014 Foosball World Cup, held in Nantes, France in January. However, trying to wrest that title from Freddy Collignon of Belgium could be quite difficult. Collignon is the Phil “The Power” Taylor of the foosball world, as he has won the World Cup, 10 times out the previous 15 tournaments.

There are three different tournaments contested – Singles, Doubles and Draw Your Partner (Lucky Dip) Doubles.

Wales’ own Leigh Hathaway, currently ranked the 248th best player in the world (ITSF world rankings) has organised this tournament and he tells me that numbers are growing as the sport becomes better organised. Australia are currently ranked the 27th best Nation in those same ITSF rankings. However, the Princes Park Bowling Club is a long way from the bright lights of Nantes and the big money tournaments in Las Vegas!


The now classic 2-5-3 table football formation is certainly a strange one, and one not usually found on any football field in today’s age. The game was essentially invented in 1923 and little has changed since. The one similarity between football and foosball is that possession of the ball, like most sports to be honest, is king. Players spend a large proportion of their time on the ball moving it sideways between players trying to create an opening for a shot on goal. Shots on goal can move at a fierce pace – allegedly close to 60 mph. But the one thing to remember though is no spinning. That is rather illegal. Growing up, that used to be the foray of the kids “down the club” – there was nothing quite like the sound of the players whizzing round at the speed of sound – all at once, as six 10 years olds tried to out-do each other on the spinning front.

Anthony Pino who was playing in this tournament represented Australia at the previous World Cup and it was a major surprise when he was knocked out in the semi finals of this tournament in straight sets. Anthony takes foosball far too seriously, as he only had his first beer AFTER he was knocked out of the singles tournament. Typical Welshman Leigh was also on the beers early, as he was quite embarrassed by his early exit from the tournament. Leigh did quite well in the doubles tournament though. I felt a bit sorry for the guy at the defensive end of the table as they only get to use the goalkeeper and the two defenders instead of the plethora of the “attacking 8”.


Foosball’s popularity rose incredibly during the 1990s in the USA as it featured prominently in the sitcom Friends. It is alleged that British rockers Depeche Mode insist on a table as part of their rider during their live shows, wherever they are in the world. It was great to see a competitive event with age and gender no barrier to competition. Who knows, this time next year may see another Welshman enter the Foosball fray…….



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