Bangkok Veterans League Season #2, Month #10 05/Nov/2006 • Harrow School
Another long-awaited British Club victory in Nov/2006 Vets League
Nov/5th was another landmark day for the Vets League in Bangkok. We were able to draw 8 teams to the competition, with one of them, Pickled Liver, being the newest debutantes in the League. It was also the "first-ever" time we held the event in 2 groups format, playing on 2 pitches side-by-side. Not to mention the Formula-1 style "Trophy Girls" at the end of the day.!
The teams that took the field were:
• BU Japan
• British Club
• Harrow Teachers
• LeCoq French
• Yingcharoen Standbys
• Pickled Liver
• Sunbelt United
Splitting 8 teams into 2 groups made the fixtures easier to organize, and allowed plenty of football for each team. The random draw also turned out fair, as the stronger and weaker teams were evenly spread between the two groups. Not having Vikings, Winking Frog, and October champions Cosmos due to clashes with their Casual League games also meant any of the competing 8 teams had a shot at the Top Trophy, which would have been a lot tougher otherwise.
In Group-A, notable matchups were between the stronger LeCoq French -vs- Harrow Teachers and weaker Sunbelt United -vs- BU Japan. In Group-B, fixtures seemed uncertain with unpredictable Germans, always strong Yingcharoen Standbys, British Club with its large and talented roster this month, and the day's surprise package Pickled Liver.
After a string of disappointing results in the last few months, as expected, Harrow Teacehrs brought more senior teachers and were the runaway winners of Group-A with 2 convincing wins over BU Japan and Sunbelt United, and a fair draw against the LeCoq French. Hosting the tournament at their home ground (with a huge fan base following!) was also going to be intimidating to all the teams. Predictably, LeCoq French made less work of it this month but still took the 2nd spot in the group, leaving Sunbelt United and BU Japan fight for the crumbs down at the bottom. BU Japan were playing some energetic football, with young & charismatic Mori San back in the line-up and directing the troops, they squandered many chances in front of the goalmouth which didn't help their cause, as they looked like they were heading for another valiant defence of their BadCup!.
The scores in Group-B, on the other hand, were total surprise to many, as the rejuvenated Germans were steamrolling any competition and never looking back. Only British Club, with a draw, were able show some character and bring them down to earth somewhat. Yingcharoen Standbys, in their Royal yellows, having baffled by the first game loss to Germans, bounced back in the next 2 games, and were able to secure the group's 2nd spot. Strangest of all, British Club, with its huge depth of players in Adrian, Eric and the maestro Martin, were strolling along nicely with 3 draws in 3 groups games, very much looking like the Azzurris of 1982. And the newbies, Pickled Liver, were all hard at work, trying to find their bearings in their first Vets outing, and, not having influential Stuart on their ranks, was going to make it even tougher. Nevertheless, Scott and Finn poured their hearts out in the defence, while Omar was pouring his guts out after a 5-year absence from the game!
So the scene was set for the Quarter Finals, meaning all 4 teams in both groups still had a chance to aim for the Top Trophy this month. Group-toppers Harrow and Germans made an easy work out of their QF games against Pickled Liver and BU Japan, while the Group-A 2nd place LeCoq French fell to the Group-B 3rd place (and warming-up) British Club unceremoniously. Also, despite all the flying-diving saves from Gonzague in goal and masterful footwork from Preben in the midfield, Sunbelt wasn't able to offer much challenge either to the national-team boosted Yingcharoen Standbys.
While the Semi Finals were eagerly awaited, the QF losers were still battling it out for the BadCup!. In a very entertaining match between the Pickled Liver -vs- BU Japan, after many twists and turned and a goal each on both ends, it came down to the penalties again for BU Japan to escape the curse of bottom-enders. And, in dramatic style, they converted all their penalties unprecedentedly, clenching a spot in the game for an opportunity for a 5th place. Sunbelt, on the other hand, just rolled over and let the LeCoq French walk all over, which meant the BadCup! was going to don the trophy case of either the debutantes Pickled Liver or the underpowered Sunbelt this month.
Both Pickled Liver and Sunbelt went into the 7th and 8th spot "Bottom-Enders" game cautiously, as the loser was going to be labelled "BadCup! Holders" until next month's competition. But, sure enough, the game picked up steam towards the middle, and attacks were coming and going fast on both ends. Also, getting Harrow's striking defender Matt on an injury replacement, Sunbelt was causing a lot of headache to Pickled Liver defence. However, none of the teams could get on the scoreboard, and we had another dreadful penalty-shootout on our hands. After a few nicely taken penalties, Sunbelt's Newcastle connection, Emre, made a mess of his shot, to hand his team the much revered BadCup! for the "first-ever" time in their history. We hope they will be back in December to repeat the feat..! Pickled Liver, on the other hand, were simply content with not finishing last in their first outing, and are reported to aim for one better in next month's competition.
In the 5th place game, BU Japan stuck with the game with their tooth-&-nail until the end against the LeCoq French, and went into the penalty-shootout again on a late equalizer. And, to the disbelief of hundreds of spectators, they were able to pull out another victory on penalties on the same day, bringing down the unfancied LeCoq French and grabbing their best ever finishing at 5th place. The crowds were jubilant, and so were each and every one of their players. The sad news was, at 5th place, they were going home without a trophy this month, not even the BadCup!
At the other end, the SFs were turning out to be cracking games, and to the surprise of everyone both group leaders, Harrow and Germans, were defeated by lesser teams in the groups — Yingcharoen Standbys bringing down Harrow Teachers on a well-taken lone goal, and British Club winning over the Germans with a convincing 3-1 result. At which point, the crowd started asking, will it be another British Club day after their Dec/2005 victory almost a year ago, or perhaps Yingcharoen would have no mercy at all.
For the 3rd place, the Semi Final losers, battled it out in fair and entertaining game, which saw Harrow Teachers finish 1-0 ahead of the Germans, both of which teams surely wondering what went wrong in the SFs.
And the eagerly awaited Grand Final, matched Yingcharoen Standbys against the British Club — a "first-ever" in the Grand Final. The game rocked-&-rolled back-&-forth, both teams exhausted but still hungry for one more goal . . . . . which did not come. So, we were to witness another Grand Final being decided on penalties. As is well known, British Club does not have a good reputation in these situations, getting their cue from their younger brothers back in Europe. Then again, Thais are not flamboyant in penalty taking either. So noone knew which way it would go. After a few well-taken penalties from both sides, it was to be British Club's day, coming all the way from meager Group-B 3rd place with only 3 points from 3 draws, to lift the Vets Top Trophy this month, something they deserved thoroughly. Surely, Adrian and 3 Erics had plenty of contribution throughout. Adrian is rumoured to have won the Vets 5 times out of the 6 times he played in it in the last 2 years. And, coming 3rd in the group had a jinx to it this month. While Group-A 3rd place Sunbelt picked up the BadCup! at one end, Group-B 3rd place British Club brought home the championship trophy. Congratulations indeed.
Also, congratulations to Khun Kruu Gerry from Harrow Teachers for wining the Vets first offered "Top Scorer" trophy with 4 goals in the day. Of course, Khun Kruu Matt made the most of it, picking it up from the Formula-1 Trophy Girls on behalf of Gerry.
Here's the complete scores of the day ==>
I would like to thank each & every team and each & every player for making the November competition such a big success. Seems like the Vets will only be getting better from this point on. Also, sincere thanks for keeping the game fair and enjoyable. Despite the instructions given to the Referees to crack down hard this month, there were no yellow cards at all, and everyone had a great time throughout the afternoon.
I shall not pass the opportunity to thank Bruce for taking care of the beers on the day, who gave everyone anxious moments and lead to some inquisitive questions from those "thirsty" players on his whereabouts, showing up late in the afternoon. Also, my thanks go to Sirichai of Yingcharoen for handling water and the soft-drinks.
Hope to see y'all in December.
Picture 1 — Getting ready to kick the day off.
Picture 2 — BU Japan ready as ever.
Picture 3 — Handsome boys from Sunbelt looking bright at the beginning of the day, with a touch of Turkish infiltration.
Picture 4 — LeCoq French had a large and intimidating squad this month.
Picture 5 — Everyone is in line in Yingcharoen Standbys in their Royal yellows.
Picture 6 — Pickled Liver had a great time in their first outing in the Vets.
Picture 7 — Harrow Teachers, on their home ground, seemed a strong side to beat.
Picture 8 — Yingcharoen Standbys looking rather confident following their victory over Pickled Liver.
Picture 9 — British Club's big squad of talented pool of players was a a force to reckon with throughout the day.
Picture 10 — All the silverware, raring to go, including the pinky-ribboned "Top Scorer" trophy on the right side.
Picture 11 — The day's Grand Finalists, British Club and Yingcharoen Standbys, enjoying the photo-op before the Grand Final.
Picture 12 — Formula-1 Trophy Girls and the trophies.
Picture 13 — As he picked up the BadCup! on behalf of Sunbelt, some sighed that Preben should walk the catwalk instead of running the football.
Picture 14 — Frenchie Eric accepting cheers as the whole crowd sang "Happy Birthday" on this 24th! birthday.
Picture 15 — And, Eric with his birthday presents.
Picture 16 — Tsuchimoto San from BU Japan was brimming with overjoy for not getting the BaCup! this month and getting an opportunity for a photo with the Formula-1 Trophy Girls.
Picture 17 — Raphael, on behalf of the Germans, didn't mind the 4th place, although winning the group earlier in the day.
Picture 18 — Rather stiff looking Khun Kruu Steve with the 3rd place trophy for the Harrow Teachers.
Picture 19 — Yingcharoen's Thai international, Kh. Cherdsak, looking doubly happy with the 2nd place trophy of the day.
Picture 20 — Khun Kruu Matt making the most out of picking up Gerry's (inset) "Top Scorer" trophy(ies!).
Picture 21 — British Club's Martin getting ready for a big victory speech.
Picture 22 — And . . . the big victory speech.
Picture 23 — Not sure how or why Eric is back in the frame again.!
Picture 24 — And the big moment — Martin lifting British Club's championship trophy (with a little bit of help from Eric).
Picture 25 — Sirichai tops the day off with a James Bond style pose.
From: Scott Team: Pickled Liver Date: 17/Nov/2006
Excellent report! Thanks for that Eralp.
Have to disagree with this part . . . "So the scene was set for the Quarter Finals, meaning all 4 teams in both groups still had a chance to aim for the Top Trophy this month. Group-toppers Harrow and Germans made an easy work out of their QF games."
Hmmmmmmmm . . . I think the Pickled Liver had the Harrow team on the ropes for the majority of that game. A fortunate win for them!!
Thanks for a great day!! Hope to see everyone there in December.
From: Eralp Team: Organizer Date: 17/Nov/2006
Actually, you're damn right — I played in that bloody game..!! :-) We would have been great "giant slayers" .!! Slipped my mind.!
From: Eralp Team: Organizer Date: 17/Nov/2006
Actually, one other small fact went missing regarding BU Japan 5th place finishing. In a full-blown bigger tournament, they would have gone home with the Shield Division championship trophy, which we will instititute starting 2007 season.
They are "moving on up" ..!
From: Thierry Team: LeCoq French Date: 20/Nov/2006
Thanks for the commentary, EG
Always a pleasure to read these!!
Thanks also for the organization of the monthly tournament.
Won't be with you next time but enjoy the day, whatever the format you choose.
See you next year.
NB: You are right to ask the referees to be harder. It avoids any "heating" situation. I still think they are too mild !
Feel free to e-mail to me if you would like to voice your take on the above summary, or would like to obtain the original resolution pictures.