Bangkok Veterans League Season #4, Month #7 03/Aug/2008 • Harrow School
Penultimate underachievers (former Winking Frog, now) New Wave ride away with the Top Cup in Aug/2008 Vets League
Vets League continued its high-flying streak with another huge 22-team tournament in this month, adding 1 more new team in its roster: Amnuaysilp Grads recommended King Cobras. It's absolutely interesting how this month's team tally grew over the last few days before the Sunday tournament:
About a week before Sunday, I had 6-7 teams confirmed on the list.
On Wednesday before Sunday, it was up to 12 teams.
On Thursday before Sunday (the supposedly deadline day), we were at 14 teams, and I was quite comfortable with that, this being an August.
Then, something happened in between, and on Saturday before Sunday, we hit 20 teams. This meant panic time in terms of making sure we had enough water and supplies, as well as pitches.
And, to rub salt on the injury, on the tournament day on Sunday, we anchored at 22 teams, with 2 unannounced show-ups!
Having 22 teams in the summer month of August, with 2 squads from LeCoq French who hardly work in summer, is of great concern — I have no idea what we'll do if we end up getting more than 24 teams in the coming "busier" months! (Ok, discuss!)
There is so much interest in the Vets League, we're even getting players making the trip once a month from overseas just to take part in it. Case in point, this month, we had LeCoq's better-half of the twins (I believe it was Laurent this time!), flying in from Singapore, and Gonzague's younger (and slimmer!) brother, Baudouin, flying in all the way from France for the honour of competing in the Bangkok Vets League. Added to that, Farang referees wanting a piece of the action (which I talk about below), this thing is poised to get more interesting month-after-month.
The good thing is, nowadays, we know our routine:
Arrive to Harrow School's lovely grounds at about 12:00 noon, listening to the soothing sounds of Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley, CCR, Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, and other greats!
Get ready for the day
Hold the Captains Briefing at about 12:45-ish
Kickoff the competition at about 1:00pm-ish
Complete the Grand Final at about 6:00pm-ish
Hold the trophy presentation, and
Finish the beer-kegs to their last drop
Everyone is happy!
Talking about beer-kegs, special thanks should go to BSL's Roland in getting us connected with Chang who have generously agreed to sponsor the Veterans League starting from this month, offering us their (somewhat late arriving!) bottled water and tasty Chang Draft. All of us appreciate the effort!
Anyway, back to the competition. This month, following usual administrative Captains Briefing, we started slightly after 1:00pm, with 22 teams (much like Feb/2008), and a weird 2 groups of 5, plus 2 groups of 6 teams, but still making sure all teams fitting their total 7-game fixture into the half-day.
It was a relatively hot Sunday (in Bangkok terms, of course!), and until the water supplies arrived, we had to scramble for whatever soft-drinks were available.
The competition on the pitches were much of a scramble as well, rekindling many usual rivalries during the Group Stage, for example:
• Harrow Cooks 2-3 Yingcharoen Pink <== Battle of the Thais
• Crossbar Strikers 3-0 Pickled Liver <== Battle of the Bars
• British Club 0-1 Eton Rifles <== Battle of the Brits
• British Club 2-0 Cricketing Southerners <== Battle of the Hemispheres
• LeCoq Senateurs 0-1 BU Japan <== Battle of East-&-West
• Anatolia 4-0 Germans <== Re-battle of the Euro2008 SF
There were a few surprises in the ranking at the end of the Group Stage. No surprise seeing Anatolia finish at the top of Group-A (for the 3rd month-in-a-row) with 12 points, but main surprise was to see JFC Bears snatch the top of Group-B with a total of 14! Underperforming Crossbar was at the top of Group-C with 11 points, and the New Kids in Town, Jewelry Makers, rounded up the top of Group-D with 10 points in their 2nd participation in the Vets League.
Other usually strong teams, like Yingcharoen (Red and Pink), New Wave landed their 2nd place in their respective groups, and to the biggest surprise of all, with the help of Hotspot's Preben firing on all cylinders, British Club was found finishing 2nd as well in Group-D.
Down at the bottom, because of the weird 22-team fixtures BadCup! defenders JFC Penguins and zero-pointer newbies King Cobras luckily escaped BadCup! this month by the sheer luck of being drawn in the Group-A and Group-B, and end we were sure that Group-C and Group-B bottom-enders, one of Medical Gear, Amnuaysilp Grads, LeCoq Senateurs, and Cricketing Southerner were going to get the BadCup! of the month.
The Knockout Stage saw a few strong teams saying "bye" to their title challenge in the Cup Division. Once the dust was settled in all 4 of the Cup Division QFs, it was spooky too see all 4 group toppers lose to the 2nd place finishers in other groups.
For example, Anatolia and New Wave facing each other in the Cup QF, played to a goalless draw, at the end of which New Wave won in the first kicks of the sudden-death penalty-shootout. In the other Cup QF fixture, Crossbar couldn't find their way into a stringently-defended British Club goal, and lost in the penalty-shootout as well, albeit a 7-6 long one. The remaining 2 Cup QFs saw Yingcharoen Red and Yingcharoen Pink edging their way over JFC Bears and Jewelry Makers into the Cup SFs, only to face each other!
In the Shield Division, there was no stopping Harrow Cooks who quickly found their way into the Shield Division championship (9th overall).
Having gone out unluckily at the Cup QFs, Anatolia as well stormed to the Plate Division championship (5th overall) in a hurry. Of course, this was much aided by Crossbar's Anders missing his penalty shots in the Cup QF against the British Club and then again against Anatolia in the Plate SF. Immediately, pundits started asking, is unforgiving Anders losing his magic touch? And some said, the age might have something to do with it !
Both of the Cup SFs were hard-fought battles. British Club defending tightly as they did in the Cup QF against Crossbar, but New Wave still finding 2 weak spots. And Yingcharoen Red and Yingcharoen Pink being polite to each other in a goalless draw, and Yingcharoen Pink winning in the first kicks of the penalty-shootout.
In the Bowl Division, the BadCup! Final of the day saw the 2 newbies from last month — Amnuaysilp and Southerners, slugging it out in their own way. I even found time, towards the end of the day, to go play in the BadCup! Final (for the 2nd month in-a-row) and help the Southerners in hopes of shoring up their dwindling side — to no avail! It was surprising to see Amnuaysilp caliber high-speed football being played in the BadCup! Final. They just had too much in their arsenal, and the Southerners were left with no clear responses, and a clear-cut 3-0 defeat.
Congratulations to Martin and the Southerners on their esteemed BadCup! win — in the 2nd month of their participation. Frankly speaking, not too many teams have achieved that feat in the history of the Vets League
And, in the Grand Final of the tournament we found the newly-named old-boys of New Wave, and a recent off-shoot of one of Vets League's original teams, Yingcharoen Pink. For the most part, it was a sleepy game, and I mean literally — we caught some of the defenders on both sides yawning and taking naps in between attacks. But, in one of those sleepy moment towards the end of the game, New Wave found a quick way into the opponent's goal, and got their single to close the chapter.
Also congratulations to Joe, Paul, Andrea, Maarten, Nick (with the help of BSL's Roland handling the goalkeeping duties, and LesGaulois's Nebojsa in the defence, and most importantly, despite they weren't present this month, not to forget their influential 3 leaders, Kevin, Steve, Graham), they finally kick that monkey off their back, and bring their first Vets League championship trophy back to their clubhouse — the New Wave poolbar in Sukhumvit Soi 7, right across from their old clubhouse — Winking Frog. And now, the monkey moved over to Anatolia's back !
Immediately, the veterans of New Wave (from Winking Frog days) started talking about the luck that the month of August brings to them, as they won the Vets League in joint-forces with British Club as British-Frog last year in Aug/2007. One striking coincidence this year though, the New Wave squad had no Scotsmen on their ranks ! Well, we just have to wait for another August to conclusively prove that theory!
At the end of the day, the following were the full list of rankings, the winners joyful in their well-earned trophies, and the losers enjoying their hard-fought beer-bucket coupons from our other sponsor, DownUnder Sports Bistro in Sukhumvit Soi 23.
One little secret! Knock on wood and cross your fingers (and don't tell anyone I said it!), BU Japan still vehemently maintaining their record of not winning the BadCup! in the 2008 season. Slightly over the midpoint of the season, we're eagerly waiting to see the end of this intriguing story
With this opportunity, all the Vets thank Kh. Patrick of Chang for taking care of the water the beer on the day. We are looking forward to seeing more of him, perhaps on the pitches , in the rest of the season.
I also thank Yingcharoen's Sirichai, LeCoq's Gonzague, BSL's Marc and LesGaulois's Nebojsa for the help they offered throughout the day. Yes, it takes a number of hands to get this show rolling, and I hope more volunteers would step forward in the future months for those extra VetsLeague Social Points I give out every month.
And, we must mention, one of those volunteers this month was Vets League's "first-ever" Farang referee (of sorts!) — Herr Kumar. Kumar took the initiative of calling me earlier in the week and offering whether he can contribute by pitching in his time in refereeing some of the games in the tournament. How could I refuse! His presence added an even greater weight into the officiating in the Vets League, and we had much fewer incidents of objection and dissent on the pitches. Thank you, Kumar — we owe you one !
Last but not least, my sincere thanks go to everyone who showed up, as well as those who helped in the organization. This time, I was able to get a good bit of time on the pitch helping Anatolia, and scoring 2 goals on (BadCup! defenders) JFC Penguins and a goal each on Amadeus and the Germans, sprinkled with numerous assists throughout the day, thanks to my now warmer Ronaldinho-10 wheels. More goals (and plenty more of them!) to follow in future months
Picture 1 — The customary beginning-of-the-day Captains Briefing photo with all the Team Captains to start the proceedings.
Picture 2 — Anatolian Turks's Yilmaz and Yilmaz marauding the Amadeus goal in one of the first matches of the day.
Picture 3 — Eralp the Organizer (with his techno-wonder wireless microphone) and LeCoq's Gonzague (with his Sunbelt blue shirt) making sure all (and I mean, all) things are straight.
Picture 4 — British Club, with the aid of Hotspot's Preben and Vern, but this month missing legendary Reza in goal, had an another impressive run this month, finishing 3rd overall.
Picture 5 — Germans brought another massive squad to finish 12th overall, right about midway among the pool of teams.
Picture 6 — Eton Rifles in their Brazilian yellows had a good time as usual, finishing at 11th overall.
Picture 7 — Formula-1 Trophy Girls making a serious attempt to entice JFC Bears's main bear, Taizo, but he is playing hard to get at his young age.
Picture 8 — JFC Bears impressively finished at the top of their Group-B pool, and concluded the tournament as 6th overall.
Picture 9 — The always-strong Harrow Cooks couldn't enter the Cup Division this month, but ended up winning the Shield Division (9th overall) as a reprisal.
Picture 10 — Yingcharoen Pink in their attractive pink colours also reached the Cup SFs this month, and carried home the FairPlay! (4th overall) trophy in the end.
Picture 11 — Anatolian Turks had another impressive performance in their Group-A pool, quickly running away with the top spot, but lost to eventual Champ! New Wave in the Cup QFs.
Picture 12 — Amnuaysilp Grads taking the day at their own stride, and even making it to the BadCup! Final.
Picture 13 — Amnuaysilp Manager and Captain in friendly relationships with the Formula-1 Trophy Girls.
Picture 14 — Amnuaysilp Owner can't miss the opportunity for a congenial photo-op with the Formula-1 Trophy Girls.
Picture 15 — Eton and Germans are in their well-deserved midway break.
Picture 16 — Vets League's resident veterinarian, LeCoq Marc, taking on the medical duties on the day and treating one of his own birds after a bruising battle with BSL Veterans.
Picture 17 — Amadeus Bookmakers enjoying a nice photo with Formula-1 Trophy Girls.
Picture 18 — New kids in town, King Cobras, getting a bit of cheer from the Formula-1 Trophy Girls (yet keeping very diplomatic), after their zero-pointer bottom-ender Group Stage finish, and yet clearly staying away from the BadCup! in their first-ever entry in the Vets League.
Picture 19 — Amnuaysilp and Southerners having a laugh at the end of their BadCup! Final.
Picture 20 — Medical Gear had a respectable showing, taking home the Bowl! (17th oveall) trophy.
Picture 21 — Defending Champ! Yingcharoen Red had more supporters on their sides than just the spectators.
Picture 22 — New Wave in the frame right before their yet another Grand Final outing.
Picture 23 — New Wave and Yingcharoen Pink (with Herr Kumar and the Formula-1 Trophy Girls) captured at the end of their Grand Final.
Picture 24 — BSL's Roland, keeping the goal for the Champ! New Wave, always building friendly relationships.
Picture 25 — This month's tourists, Laurent from Singapore and Baudouin from France, both playing for LeCoq Originals (i.e., their Below-50 team!), captured at the end of the day with Eralp the Organizer and Gonzague the Big Brother.
Picture 26 — Crossbar's Harold, Anders and Neil caught drinking over what went wrong today.
Picture 27 — All the silverware, and more, raring to go!
Picture 28 — Recognizing Herr Kumar's volunteer refereeing efforts on the day.
Picture 29 — We had to say farewell to another one of Vets League's stalwarts this month, legendary Amadeus Captain, Bruno, who is heading back to the Old Continent for his next posting.
Picture 30 — Martin picked up Southerners first-ever BadCup! in their 2nd outing in the Vets League.
Picture 31 — Medical Gear's Captain Kh. Chatchai finishing the day with some silverware, Bowl! (17th overall) trophy.
Picture 32 — Harrow Cooks Captain Kh. Somboon finishing the day with some silverware, Shield! (9th overall) trophy, coming down this month from the highs of Champ! trophy in previous months.
Picture 33 — Yingcharoen leadman Sirichai taking Yingcharoen Red's FairPlay! (4th overall) trophy from Martin himself (in his gift shirt from Nextstep Steppers).
Picture 34 — British Club's Wayne grabbed their 3rd place award, that is, the free beer-bucket coupon at DownUnder.
Picture 35 — Yingcharoen Pink Captain content with their 2nd place finish this month.
Picture 36 — The New Wave gang finally getting their hand on a Champ! trophy after so many times of coming so close.
Picture 37 — Wait . . . . . I think Martin is a bit taller than that!
Picture 38 — Yea, ok, that looks much like it!
Picture 39 — One last picture of the FairPlay! trophy of Sirichai and Martin with the Formula-1 Trophy Girls.