ALTHOUGH Football Hall of Fame chairman Louis Prospero scored the goal of the match, he was upstaged by former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan who showed he still possesses a keen competitive edge when he led Western Australia’s old rivals to victory in the traditional Football Ashes contest at Dorrien Gardens on December 12.
Vaughan, a talented striker who caught the eye of Sheffield Wednesday as a teenager before deciding to pursue a career as a professional cricketer, scored twice in normal time and also bagged the crucial penalty as the visiting British Cricket Media overcame a spirited effort by a Hall of Fame/Wa Media select.
Prospero, a former top referee, showed he was no slouch with the ball at his feet when he chipped home WA’s opening goal. But the visitors responded with some slick play to lead 3-1 before Ben Somerford scored twice for the locals.
It was 3-3 at the end of normal time and former World Cup referee Eddie Lennie decided that the social football match – which was keenly contested at times – should be decided in a penalty shoot-out, three penalties each and sudden death, if necessary.
Locals Ross Greer and Steve McGarry converted their spot kick efforts – Greer with a cheeky chip – but former Perth Glory stalwart Jamie Harnwell’s attempt was saved.
Vaughan then stepped up to beat keeper Ashley Morrison, who had been a hero with several stunning saves during normal time, and give the Brits a 3-2 shoot-out triumph and visiting manager/coach Dean Wilson graciously accepted the much-prized trophy which features a cricket bat on one side and a footballer on the other.
This was the fifth occasion our local sporting media/Hall of Fame have locked horns with the UK Media in a game which is played to celebrate the very first match for a Western Australian State representative football team in 1902.
It was the English cricketers who demonstrated their talent as footballers when they beat WA 4-0 in that historic encounter 115 years ago, which was watched by a crowd of 5,000 at Fremantle Oval.
The rivalry was revived in 2002 and, with the cricketers being otherwise engaged in Ashes showdowns at the WACA Ground, it was decided that the media would take up the challenge on the football field.
The visitors won 2-1 in 2002, with former Test cricketer Angus Fraser getting the winner, before the locals rebounded to take the next two, 6-4 in 2006 and 4-2 in 2010. It was two wins apiece in 2013 when Vaughan again played a crucial part as the UK reps won 3-2.
The 43-year-old Vaughan, who captained England to Ashes cricket glory in 2005, was in commanding form again in 2017, capturing more glory for the Old Dart.
Prospero said later: “Michael Vaughan is still a fine athlete and it was great to see that the visitors and the locals all had a wonderful time in a traditional match which all concerned look forward to every four years. We’ll be keen to get revenge next time round.”
The WA side also included former Socceroo defender and Hall of Fame Legend Robbie Dunn, who thoroughly enjoyed himself. “It was great fun, mind you it was no picnic trying to contain their striker who told me he was 27 years old, 30 years younger than me,” laughed Robbie.
**The Football Hall of Fame WA would like to thank all its sponsors that made this event such a success – Football West, Wright Burt Foundation, Fini Group, Osborne Park Mazda and Prosperity Strata Management. Also much thanks to Perth Soccer Club for making their excellent facilities available. The pitch at Dorrien Gardens was described by both sets of players as “like a carpet.”
PIC ONE: Louis Prospero scores a memorable goal. PIC TWO: Michael Vaughan gets the winner in the shoot-out. PIC THREE; Robbie Dunn in action against his much younger opponent. PIC FOUR: Louis Prospero presents the trophy to England manager Dean Wilson.