Bangkok Veterans League Season #3, Month #3 01/Apr/2007 • Harrow School
Apr/2007 Vets League witness LesGaulois miraculously dethrone Cosmos
We had another successful monthly Vets League day on Apr/1st with the following 16-team line-up.
• Anatolian Turks
• LesGaulois French
• Cosmos <== defending Champ!
• Japan FC
• Pickled Liver
• LeCoq French <== holders of the Bowl!
• Amadeus Bookmakers <== holders of the Plate!
• BU Japan
• Sunbelt United
• British Club
• Campioni Italians
• Debsirin Grads
• BSL Veterans <== holders of the BadCup!
• Winking Frog
• Irish Xchange
• Team-X Volunteers
With plenty of ups-&-downs for all the teams (including the defending Champ! Cosmos), LesGaulois French came out triumphant this month, winning over an underpowered Cosmos in a thrilling 5-4 penalty-shootout in the Grand Final, and snapping Cosmos's 100% winning record in Vets in the process. Congratulations to our new Champ!, LesGaulois, and big thanks to all the teams for being a part of the Veterans League in Bangkok.
Conducting large scale tournaments like this with 15-20 teams in the last 4-5 months, I think we're getting the hang of it in terms of estimating the quantities of water, drinks, and of course most importantly — beer. Nevertheless, touchups and tweaks are admittedly needed around the edges.
Frankly, I was most happy to see that all the teams & players stuck to their promise, and allowed the competition to start (relatively!) on time, with only a 10 min delay. The pre-competition Captains Meeting was tricky, as we had only 15 confirmed teams and needed 1 more to make a nice 16-team match fixtures.
That's exactly when we saw the birth of a brand new team in the Vets — Team-X ..! This was a totally hodgepodge team of young-&-old players, coming from far-&-wide, committing to pitch in their help in the smooth organization of the tournament, and volunteering to sacrifice themselves selflessly for an honourable cause — of course, the cause was . . . . . being that sacrificial 16th team to allow for a perfect 4x4 draw 16-team tournament.! Great many thanks to Preben (who haphazardly named the team) and Keith from Sunbelt United, Gary from BSL Veterans and Sirichai from Yingcharoen Standbys for taking on this mammoth task.
Armed with the knowledge of a 16-team tournament, the match fixtures were easily drawn up, making the Group Stage the qualification round for the Knockout Stage to follow. With 4 teams in 4 separate groups:
the Top-2 teams were going to enter the Cup Division,
and, the Bottom-2 were going to be content with the Shield! (9th overall) trophy in the Shield Division.
Being the middle of Songkran summer in Thailand, all the teams were forewarned of the heat and exhaustion. In addition, to compound their misery, upon popular demand, tournament organization fixed up the match fixtures to be 17 min/game, a whopping 4 min more than previous months, and total of 6 games for each team from 1pm-6pm.
Therefore, taking it cautiously, the result was a slow start to the day by all the teams in the Group Stage. It was so slow, even the mighty Cosmos got in the act and drew their first 2 Group games, plus the first 10 min of their 3rd game, jeopardizing their Top-2 Group finish and advancement to the Cup Division.
Of course, there were exceptions to the rule, and fast-starters such as Amadeus's 2-0 tournament-opener win over Anatolia, 3-0 thumping of the Campioni by LesGaulois, and 3-0 clinical finish of the British Club over the "We're just getting started" Team-X.
Thanks to the newly-introduced, technology-aided, much-improved scoring system, tallying up the scores and points took only a matter of seconds, as opposed to "hours" in prior months! (of course, barring any inaccurate scores entry!).
By the end of the Group Stage, there were few surprises. For example, bottom-ender finish (for the 2nd month in-a-row) of Winking Frog with only 1 point in Group-A and previous months's strong contender Irish Xchange's bottom-end ranking with only 2 points in Group-B. However, the greatest surprise and heartbreak was in store for the Debsirin Grads.
Drawn into a "Group of Death" with LesGaulois and Campioni, it was going to be a tough battle for Debsirin, nevertheless. They fought through each of their Group games valiantly, ending up on equal points with Campioni. However, finding out they ended up 3rd of the group behind Campioni on equal points was too much to swallow. Obviously, they fell victim to our League's 2 awkward rules. Although Debsirin had better goal average over Campioni, Campioni had reached 5 points earning their 3-goals win bonus point from their 3-1 victory over BSL, as well as the rules stating "more goals scored" takes higher precedence over "goal average" in tie breaker situations.
Confined to inescapable 3rd place in the Group-C, in return, Debsirin took total control of the Knockout Stage, when they cruised to a comfortable Shield Division victory uncontested, winning over Winking Frog in the penalty-shootout of Shield Final. [read more about it, and some great shots of Derek the Frog saving some penalties (and Steve missing his!) on Debsirin's webboard]
In the Cup Division, Top-2 group-toppers formed interesting QF matchups.
Amadeus Bookmakers -vs- Pickled Liver: A rejuvenated Pickled Liver put up a brave fight against surprisingly youthified Amadeus, but fell short in the end. [Score: 2-1 to Amadeus]
LesGaulois French -vs- British Club: It was never going to be easy going for the British Club against a full-strength LesGaulois. [Score: 3-1 to LesGaulois]
Cosmos -vs- Anatolia: These 2 teams seem to meet every single month either in the QFs or the SFs. This time it's the QFs, and Cosmos doesn't leave it to chance again. [Score: 2-0 to the Cosmos]
LeCoq French -vs- Campioni Italians: The Apprentice preach the Master in a clinical finish. [Score: 2-0 to Campioni]
And, on the other bracket in the Shield Division, we've had another 4 interesting QFs among the groups's Bottom-2 ranking teams:
Sunbelt United -vs- Irish Xchange:Irish Xchange paced themselves into the 17 min game time to win over Sunbelt. [Score: 2-1 to Irish Xchange]
Debsirin Grads -vs- Team-X Volunteers: Relegated to the Shield Division, Debsirin weren't taking prisoners, although they conceded a goal against the hodgepodge Team-X. [Score: 2-1 to Debsirin]
Japan FC -vs- Winking Frog: A tough end-to-end battle between these 2 stalwart teams. [Score: 0-0 after regulation time, 5-4 to Winking Frog on penalties]
BU Japan -vs- BSL Veterans: Honourable fight by both teams for not to go to the BadCup! final. [Score: 1-1 after regulation time, 2-1 to BU Japan on penalties]
Turning our attention back to the Cup Division, the 2 SFs were battles in historic proportions.
Amadeus -vs- LesGaulois: Amadeus was determined to reach their 1st Grand Final in their 3rd entry in the Vets, and LesGaulois was committed to erase the memories of their inaugural Dec/2006 performance. Many chances on both ends, and LesGaulois narrowly get their ticket to the Grand Final. [Score: 2-1 to LesGaulois]
Cosmos -vs- Campioni: The spirited Italians put up a valiant show of defiance against the defending Champ!, but come slight bit short. [Score: 1-0 to Cosmos]
In the other divisions:
Amadeus grabbing the 3rd place consolation trophy, winning 5-4 over Campioni in a great penalty-shootout.
Much-improved Pickled Liver bringing home some "real" silverware, beating the Anatolian Turks 3-1, and winning the Plate! (5th overall) trophy.
Debsirin Grads running all the way to Shield! (9th overall) trophy uncontested, beating the Winking Frog 5-4 on penalties in an interesting Shield Division final.
And, of course, BSL Veterans fighting with all their might against Sunbelt United in the BadCup! final, but going down 6-7 in an long & arduous penalty-shootout.
And, the Grand Final between LesGaulois -vs- Cosmos was truly entertaining, not only to see the best 2 teams of this month in the Grand Final, but to witness the most attacking teams in action going at each other. In an end-to-end 17 min, the crowd didn't get to see any goals, which left the decision to the horrible penalty-shootout. The shoot-out proved to be a thriller as well, giving the Top Trophy to LesGaulois on a 5-4 win in the sudden-death part of the shootout. Congratulations!
With this loss, Cosmos relinquishes its 100% win record as well as their 3-in-a-row winning streak (Vikings retain the streak record with 4-in-a-row they established during Mar-Jun/2006), and perhaps LesGaulois starts its own streak! You could never tell in the Vets, as there are many more months to go in the 2007 season. But, what you could be sure of is that excitement and intrigue will only get more intense as we approach the Season-ending Tournament in December.
Here's the complete scores of the day ==>
On the Top Scorer front, not having a precise way of counting the goal scorers in each of the 48 games (short of meticulous admin and endless form filling), we decided to award our Apr/2007 Top Scorer trophy to Harold of Cosmos in the spirit of a "Life Time Achievement" award for his long years of contribution to the footballing scene in Bangkok and around the region (reminiscent of Oscars awarding it to the oldest and most senile member of their artistic community!). In absense of truly sublime strikers (barring, of course, Vikings's Anders), I think it's worthwhile to continue it this way in the coming months.
In closing, my thanks to the usual suspects with a genuine helping hand:
Sirichai from Yingcharoen Standbys,
Gonzague from Sunbelt United (who exhaustingly played full 12 games on the day keeping the goals for Sunbelt as well as British Club), and
Thierry from Campioni Italians,
Philip from Sunbelt United,
Derek from Winking Frog,
and all the others who were on hand to assist any way they can.
And, once again, our most humble thanks go to Harrow School and Kh. Somparn for setting up all the nice pitches for us and making it convenient for all to enjoy. We're going there for May/2007 competition as well, boys!
Feel free to forward to me any comments, suggestions, ideas and thoughts you may have on the Vets. I'd be happy to post them up on the website. We'll see which ones we can reasonably implement in the near future.
Next Vets day is confirmed for May/13th at Harrow School again. Please write me back to say whether you will be bringing a squad.
Best wishes for a Happy Songkran.
Picture 1 — Getting ready to kick the day off.
Picture 2 — All the silverware, raring to go!
Picture 3 — We've got champions already!
Picture 4 — Campioni Italians are in their warm-up routines, including strangling the passers-by!
Picture 5 — Debsirin Grads battling it out against Irish Xchange in Shield Division SF1.
Picture 6 — Irish Xchange and Debsirin Grads in a stunning penalty-shootout at the end of Shield Division SF1 game, where Debsirin came out 3-2 on top. [picture courtesy of Debsirin webboard]
Picture 7 — BU Japan defending vigorously against a surging Winking Frog in Shield Division SF2.
Picture 8 — At last, Pickled Liver's huge squad brought home some much sought-after silverware this month.
Picture 9 — The Anatolian Turks, in their new kits, had a good run overall, but came short on any silverware again.
Picture 10 — Eventual Champions, LesGaulois, caught on camera earlier in the day, flanked by their stand-in coach, LeCoq Dominique.
Picture 11 — Each new month, Amadeus is bringing younger & younger players, and as a result, going higher & higher on the rankings.
Picture 12 — Derek and the boys from Winking Frog thoroughly enjoyed the day (and the beers, of course), only losing the Debsirin on penalty-shootout in the Shield Division Final.
Picture 13 — A trimmed-down Japan FC squad couldn't do as good as their first entry last month.
Picture 14 — Defending Champ! Cosmos looked thin on numbers, and struggled in the Group Stage.
Picture 15 — The joyful Campioni Italians bettered their rankings this month, only losing to Amadeus Bookmakers in the 3rd Place game.
Picture 16 — Sunbelt United went all the way to the BadCup! final, handing it to BSL Veterans in the penalty-shootout.
Picture 17 — BadCup! holders BSL Veterans in the distinctive "Ronaldinho Orange" shirts repeated the feat a 2nd month in-a-row.
Picture 18 — Apr/2007 Team-X Volunteers brimming with confidence, and pulling in a respectable 13th place.
Picture 19 — Debsirin Grads having a good time on the Vets. [picture courtesy of Debsirin webboard]
Picture 20 — Pickled Liver, Anatolian Turks, Irish Xchange (and WF Steve) taking a rest between games.
Picture 21 — Light's shining on our beer servers, just in time to quench the deepening thirsts.
Picture 22 — LesGaulois French taking a well-deserved break on the way to the Grand Final. [picture courtesy of Debsirin webboard]
Picture 23 — Japan FC on the attack against struggling BSL Veterans in one of the lower ranking games.
Picture 24 — Debsirin's star-strikers make use of some much-sought-for Tiger Balm to continue firing on all-cylinders on the day. [picture courtesy of Debsirin webboard]
Picture 25 — LesGaulois and Amadeus pause for a photo-op after their bruising encounter in Cup Division SF1, where LesGaulois won their ticket to the Grand Final on a 2-1 score.
Picture 26 — Down at the bottom-end, BSL Captain Roland hard at work to convert from the spot-kick in their BadCup! final shootout against Sunbelt.
Picture 27 — BSL and Sunbelt players witnessing their cliffhanger penalty-shootout in the BadCup! final.
Picture 28 — Putting a brave face on a BadCup! performance, BadCup! finalists Sunbelt and BSL posing for the camera, where Sunbelt handed over the BadCup! to BSL by winning the lengthy 7-6 shootout.
Picture 29 — Debsirin Grads and Winking Frog in a friendly post-final photo in the Shield Division, where Debsirin came out on top 5-4 in the penalty-shootout. [picture courtesy of Debsirin webboard]
Picture 30 — Japan FC and Winking Frog are winding down another pleasant Vets days, as Cosmos and LesGaulois battle it out for the Apr/2007 championship in the background.
Picture 31 — In the twilight, Pedro from Cosmos steps up to convert his spot-kick against LesGaulois in Grand Final's final shootout.
Picture 32 — Great post-final photo of the Grand Finalists, LesGaulois and Cosmos.
Picture 33 — A humbled Roland picking up BSL's 2nd-in-a-row BadCup! in the Vets.
Picture 34 — Kh. Decha explaining their misfortune in group rankings, but is all smiles picking Debsirin's Shield! (9th overall) trophy.
Picture 35 — Entire Pickled Liver family picks up their amazing Plate! (5th overall) trophy.
Picture 36 — Bruno explaining the secret behind Amadeus's meteoric rise from BadCup! holders to 3rd overall in the space of 3 months.
Picture 37 — A brave looking Harold taking Cosmos's 2nd place trophy, and relinquishing their 100% winning record in the process.
Picture 38 — Harold is back on the stage again, taking Apr/2007's Top Scorer trophy in honour of his life time achievement for his contributions to Bangkok's footballing scene.
Picture 39 — Arnaud sharing LesGaulois's Championship trophy with his kids.
Picture 40 — A completely satisfied LesGaulois poses to immortalize their achievement in the Vets.
Picture 41 — LeCoq's Dominique, Eralp the Organizer, traveling legionnaire Vincent, LeCoq's Yamine, Sunbelt's Gonzague, and Yingcharoen's Sirichai capping the day off and enjoying the end-of-day beers together.
From: Bruno Team: Amadeus Bookmakers Date: 02/Apr/2007
Thank you again for your organization which went well yesterday. We
have really enjoyed ourselves and were happy to participate.
Have a good week
From: Graham Team: Winking Frog Date: 12/Apr/2007
Please find below the Winking Frog report for the Apr/2007 competition. Winking Frog Veterans — Apr/2007
Last month, the Winking Frog squad was accused of (and pleaded guilty to) partaking of the beer too early, and their results suffered as a consequence. Being a bright bunch of lads, the squad decided to repeat the feat, but this time it seemed to have the opposite effect! Perhaps in March the squad was too sober, and in April, the difference was that the beer acted more as a "hair of the dog". Who knows?
Anyway, the squad consisted of:
Derek "the Garfield" in goals;
Darren "The Ball-Blocker" and Steve "The Terminator" in defence;
Kevin "The Weapon", Graham "Train Wreck", and Andrea "The Roman Showman" in midfield; and
Paul "Never mind my skills, check out the girlfriend" upfront; with
"Slaphead" Paul and "Big" Andy as our super-subs who provided strength in depth.
The team started off slow. Actually, slow doesn't do us justice — sluggish, dawdling or comatosed might better describe our performances in the Group Stage. Not until we entered the Shield Division and the beer started to flow, did WF lads find a little late momentum.
In a minimalist approach to a summary, here's our take on the events:
WF -vs- Sunbelt: 0-1 — Wayward, garbage!
WF -vs- Amadeus: 0-0 — Only slightly better.
WF -vs- Anatolia: 1-2 — No protection from the referee, good goal by Andrea.
WF -vs- Japan FC: 0-0 — won on penalties having missed two golden chances to finish the game off.
WF -vs- BU Japan: 2-0 — and finally we played some football, goals well taken by Paul and Kevin.
Shield Final ==> WF -vs- Debsirin: 1-1 — Lost on penalties. The Debsirin equaliser came in the last minutes by virtue of the flappyest, most wayward attempt to punch a ball by a keeper (ever!). Steve's farcical penalty misses were soon forgotten as a result.
As usual, it was a fun afternoon out and our thanks go to EG and everyone involved in running the Vets tournament.
We look forward to seeing everyone in May.
You'll Never Wink Alone!
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.