YOU can almost smell the liniment in the air as the winter sports swing into action and in just seven days time it will be the opening round of soccer. But for some, the competition is already well under way. The Albury Wodonga Football Association sent two teams to the Proctor Cup in Bathurst last weekend, the under-14 and under-16 squads having to play a year above their age in the 15s and 17s. Both played through torrential rain and water-logged pitches, with the under-14s going down in the final to a soccer academy team from Sydney and Albury’s Chelsea Blissett, pictured, named the player of the tournament. The under-16s went down to Sutherland in a quarter-final. Elsewhere last weekend there was success at the other end of the age scale. A 13-man amalgamation of players from St Pat’s, Albury United and Wangaratta travelled up the road to Wagga as an over-35s team in the Masters. After 20 years of playing in the tournament it was a first for the Border when Dave Smith struck a 30-metre “screamer” with just five seconds left in golden goal extra-time in the final. Today the “Bling” City Wanderers, so named by some for their off-season recruitment, will take on Watsonia Heights FC in the second round of the Docherty Cup. It kicks-off at 2pm at Melrose Park in Lavington.