Sawtell Old Boys player Steve Riddel catches a breather
Sawtell Old Boys player Steve Riddel catches a breather

Over 35's go full bore

By GREG WHITE

Anyone thinking players taking part in the Over 35's football at Coffs International Stadium on the weekend were taking it easy would have received a rude shock if they'd seen some of the exchanges. When Grafton took on FBFC in the Saturday luncheon hour, the boys paced themselves fairly leisurely around the park, but when Grafton entered the danger zone around the FBFC goal, all hell broke loose. With shot after shot fired at the box, FBFC defended like madmen till the danger passed. Then, it was off once more for the canter around the field. Robert Norvalle came to Coffs to support a couple of mates playing in the Bathurst 75 team. "I'm sort of like their one man medical support crew," Robert grinned. "Get the beers ready for the end of the day and call their wives if they're silly enough to get hurt." Norvalle was shocked at how seriously his mates are taking the event. "In the car I gave them plenty of cheek about creaking bones and all that sort of thing but when I saw them play, I couldn't believe how much skill they still had." If host group Sawtell Old Boys had wished for fine weather, their prayers were answered. The warm, spring sunshine forced shirts off with one participant stripping down to his Speedos, inviting shouts of: "Get your gear on Clarkey, you'll frighten the kids." The heat left exhausted players strewn around the concourse and forced a rush for the canteen as each match concluded. After all, these were noble old warriors with grey hair, no hair and midriffs in various stages of expansion. From the early stages, the signals were there who might be the top teams. Gold Coast Panthers had beaten FBFC 4-2 while Armidale Rams had dished out a 7-0 lesson to Sawtell. But the Killarney Kripples and Grafton Misfits were still turning up prepared for battle no matter what warnings their aching muscles were delivering. "If the boys survive I think we might be talked into coming back again next year," Robert Norvalle murmured in a thick UK accent on his way to the bar. "Just so long as I can still be the medical officer."



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