Bangkok Veterans League Season #3, Month #6 15/Jul/2007 • Harrow School
Jul/2007 Vets League goes to Irish Xchange
Many thanks to all for another great day of Vets football. Another month has just quickly passed, and the Vets were in the thick of another highly contested competition day on Jul/15th at Harrow School.
Frankly, it was surprising to see the 2 strong former champions, LesGaulois and Cosmos, bow out at the SFs, and make way for Winking Frog and Irish Xchange (pubs!) to aim for the Top Cup.
Due to the beginning of summer season and people taking off for their much-deserved break, this time, we had a slightly reduced 14 teams taking to the pitch:
• British Club
• Yingcharoen Standbys <== carriers of the Bowl!
• Winking Frog <== holders of the Plate!
• BU Japan
• LeCoq French
• Bangkok Cosmos
• LesGaulois <== defending Champ!
• BSL Veterans
• Anatolian Turks
• Irish Xchange
• Amadeus Bookmakers
• Japan FC
• Enfant Teenagers
• Team-X Volunteers
Nevertheless, the competition as much lively. Yes, we were missing the deadly Anders and his Vikings as well as the nimble Kh. Decha and his always in-form Debsirin, this his month still drew Dominique and his defending his Champ! LesGaulois, and championship thirsty Mauro and his Cosmos who seemed to have scrapped barely 7 players on the very last day.
And, once again, Team-X completed the round-up for an even number of teams, which was a welcome sight for the Organizers in terms of arranging proper match fixtures. Special thanks goes to Sunbelt's enterprising Preben here for taking on the massive responsibility of captaining Team-X this month.
With 14 teams on hand, match fixtures were easy to arrange, with 2 groups of 7 teams each, in which:
the Top-4 teams were going to enter the Cup Division,
the Middle-2 were going to be fight for the Shield! (9th overall) trophy in the Shield Division.
and, the Bottom-Ender teams (7th in the groups) would get a last chance in a Play-Off game against 6th ranking teams in their groups to whether to go into the Shield Division or stay in the Bowl Division to aim for the BadCup!
Interestingly enough, the Groups Draw at the end of the Captains Meeting produced a clear "Group of Death" with Cosmos, LesGaulois, Winking Frog, and Irish Xchange falling into Group-B. Teams in Group-A were jubilant not to face any of these strong teams, at least not in the Group Stage!
There were a few surprise results in the Group Stage.
Japan FC's clinical 3-0 drubbing of Yingcharoen in the opening game of the day.
British Club's narrow 2-1 victory against their arch-rivals LeCoq French.
Japan FC's respectful 2-0 treatment of BU Japan in this "first-ever" encounter between these 2 teams from Japan in the League.
Anatolian Turks's yet another dismal performance in a stark difference of the highs of a few months ago.
BU Japan's bottom-ender finish in the group, something which we haven't seen in a long time.
Japan FC's group-topper placing for the 2nd month in-a-row
Cosmos's clinical 2-0 finish of Irish Xchange.
Winking Frog's 2-0 take-down of the full-steam defending Champ! LesGaulois.
Amadeus's brave 0-0 draw against already 3-win Cosmos in their last game.
Team-X's unprecedented 5th placing.
BSL's zero-sum Group Stage run.
It didn't matter much what teams were the Top-4 of the Group-A, because Group-B's Top-4 (Cosmos, Winking Frog, LesGaulois, Irish Xchange) easily took care of Group-A's Top-4 (Japan FC, British Club, Yingcharoen, LeCoq) at the QFs in the Knockout Stage.
At the other end, bottom-enders BSL and BU Japan came out losing their Play-Off games against Anatolia and Amadeus, and were in an unenviable position to play for the day's BadCup!
This is when we all realized, we may have an unfinished tournament in our hands, as the dark rain clouds moved in quickly and started pounding everyone on or off the pitch (or even under the tents!). After taking a break for 15 min, we came back, still under the pouring rain, decided to play the BadCup! game between BSL and BU Japan.
It was fantastic to see these guys showing off their skills to the entire crowd who were watching in awe, like they were witnessing an ago-old derby match. Too bad slide-tackling was just banned this month, otherwise we could have seen people sliding from 15-m away easily. In an end-to-end high-tempo game, which I was part of on the side of BSL, we saw BU Japan go down narrowly 1-0 and win the BadCup! after nearly a year of seclusion!
As the rain slowly died out, we were ready to get on with the rest of the games in the Cup Division, since, in a delicate juggling act, the Shield Division games were mostly not played because many players preferred to head to the showers early this month.
This month, the Plate! (5th overall) trophy ended up in the hands of Japan FC, their "firt-ever' silverware in the Vets after 4 entries, and the Shield! (9th oveall) trophy went to Enfant, also their "first-ever" silverware in the Vets after only 2 entries. Congratulations to both teams.
The 2 SFs were battles in historic proportions once again. An interesting observation of the SFs were, all 4 remaining teams in SFs were teams from Group-B (in other words, teams from the group of death booted all the teams from Group-A in the QFs!).
Irish Xchange -vs- LesGaulois French: The Shamrock Boys held off a surging defending Champ! LesGaulois, rocketing themselves into the final on penalties (their QF win was also on penalties against Group-A toppers Japan FC). [Score: 0-0 after regulation time, and 3-2 to Irish Xchange on penalties]
Cosmos -vs- Winking Frog: Another hard-fought game between these 2 stalwart teams of the League, in which Winking Frog handed an understrength Cosmos its "first-ever" defeat in open play. [Score: 1-0 to Winking Frog]
So, with Cosmos and LesGaulois unprecedentedly out of contention at the SFs, we were certain to have a brand new champion this month, in which neither of the Grand Finalists — Irish Xchange or Winking Frog — have ever won the Top Cup before.
This meant an even more entertaining game for the spectators to watch. In a fantastic "Battle of the Bars" Grand Final, the Irish Xchange edged out with a slim 1-0 victory over the Winking Frog with a goal from tough defender Eric, not leaving anything to chance for the penalty-shootout.
Congratulations to Kevin and the Irish Xchange boys who had gotten 2nd, 3rd and 4th place trophies before (and a couple of others too low to mention!) on their "first-ever" championship in the Vets League.
Of course, our heartfelt wishes go to Derek and the Soi-7 Winking Frog boys who came up short again for an unbelievable 4th time. Even more intruiging was the fact that, after exactly 1 year [read Jul/2006], the Winking Frog found itself in the Grand Final again, only to lose it once more — this time to Irish Xchange. There is always room for improvement, lads!
Here's the complete scores of the day ==>
On the Top Scorer front, we opted to use the occasion and the trophy for a greater cause again, and awarded it to BU Japan's respected Captain Hisao San as a "Life Time Achievement" (LTA) award. He is on his way to take on a new post back in Japan, but promises to come back to join the Vets League again whenever his schedule allows. The LTA Award proved to be a great opportunity to remember him (and vice versa !)
By the way, apologies to the Team-X Volunteers. I forgot to bring them all up for a photo in memory of the day. Once again, a hodgepodge team like Team-X did NOT get the BadCup! Many thanks to Sunbelt's Preben for taking on the massive responsibility of captaining the team.
Once again, special 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. And, my thanks again to Yingcharoen's Sirichai and others who provided their help generously throughout the day.
Biggest thanks go to every team & player participating in the Vets League month-after-month, and making it such a wonderful get-together among the Vets of Bangkok every month.
Next Vets day is confirmed for Aug/12 at Harrow School again. Please write me back to say whether you will be bringing a squad.
Looking forward to it.
Picture 1 — Kids will be kids (wish they'd also help with the chores!).
Picture 2 — All the silverware, raring to go!
Picture 3 — Amadeus settles right next the massage station.
Picture 4 — And, gets the first drubbing.
Picture 5 — LesGaulois's Jean-Francois bringing the ball back into the game against a hard-fighting Team-X.
Picture 6 — LeCoq is in awe, watching their defending Champ! compatriots LesGaulois in action.
Picture 7 — Cosmos caught on camera while training between matches.
Picture 8 — Japan FC and their massively expanding squad.
Picture 9 — BU Japan and their seemingly shrinking squad.
Picture 10 — Irish Xchange Captain Kevin bringing the ball back into the game against BSL Veterans.
Picture 11 — Anatolian Turks, in their national colours, are full of confidence.
Picture 12 — Yingcharoen is proud to show off their Bowl! (17th overall) trophy from last month!
Picture 13 — Winking Frog secluded in their remote camp, devising ways to bring home the Top Trophy.
Picture 14 — Irish Xchange's is rock-castle defender Eric slots home the winning spotkick in the QF1 penalty-shootout against Japan FC.
Picture 16 — LesGaulois still full-force on Irish Xchange goal.
Picture 17 — After a few tough games, LeCoq's influential Captain Dominique trusts himself into the soothing hands of Kh. Sila.
Picture 18 — LesGaulois French and Irish Xchange caught on camera after their SF clash.
Picture 19 — Two biggest squads of the day, Yingcharoen and Japan FC, after their Shield! (5th overall) final.
Picture 20 — Finalist, Irish Xchange and Winking Frog, posing for fame before their Grand Final battle.
Picture 21 — BU Japan relapses, and a shell-shocked Captain Hisao San receives their BadCup! following nearly a year of hiatus.
Picture 22 — Hisao San explaining BU Japan's performance in their defence.
Picture 23 — Enfant's disciplined Manager Kh. Ning gently holding the Shield! (9th overall) trophy in only their 2nd entry in the League.
Picture 24 — Japan FC's goalkeeper is content with their Plate! (5th overall) finish — their best-ever in the League so far.
Picture 25 — A very relaxed LeCoq Captain Dominique is jubilant (in more than one way) for receiving no-show LesGaulois's 3rd place trophy.
Picture 26 — Winking Frog's Captain Kevin is exchanging winks with his team mates for another 2nd place achievement — their 4th time in the League. Picture 27 — A gracious Hisao San, who is heading back to Japan for a new post, lifting his Life Time Achievement award to remember his fellow Vets mates in Bangkok forever. The Vets wish him all the best.
Picture 28 — And, his best friend, Mori San, cheers on the crowd.
Picture 29 — An utterly embarrassed and humbled Captain Kevin appears joyful while lifting Irish Xchange's Top Trophy — a "first-ever" in the League for them.
Picture 30 — Eralp the Organizer gets a final photo with Hisao San.
From: Bruno Team: Amadeus Bookmakers Date: 16/Jul/2007
A very good day again yesterday. We really appreciated the day even if the rain stopped the tournament.
From: Dominique Team: LeCoq French Date: 16/Jul/2007
Another regular and enjoyable day ; who cares about the scores and cups !!
Christophe will take over for the Aug/5th game as I will be on leave with few other players.
Personally I think it would be a good idea if we renew the Entente Cordiale with the British Club and make it a regular August LeCoq French-British Club team : French flair with British fighting spirit ! Campioni are welcome to join
Also a big "Thank You" from Cosmos for another fun tournament!
Yes, we got knocked out in the semis, actually with the only goal conceded all day — and our very first open game loss, but it was a deserved win for WF :-)
Congratulations to July champion Irish X-change as well.
From: Mori Team: BU Japan Date: 16/Jul/2007
Hello Eralp San and Wonderful football crazy guys,
Thanks for cheering us in the BadCup! yesterday. Also, thank you for cerebrating Hisao Chiba's departure to Japan, who was great Captain of Bangkok United Japan. We hope he will come back to the Vets tournaments in the immediate future and help us for getting a first price!
From: Hisao Team: BU Japan Date: 16/Jul/2007
After all staying here 7 years, I can really feel now that football is WONDERFUL.
Thank you very much for organizing Vets League every month. BU Japan is really enjoying the Vets, even though we've got BadCup! yesterday.
Unfortunately I will leave Thailand for Japan end of this month so that I must leave the Vets as well. But BUJ is still joining the Vets, and of course try to get Championship (not BadCup!) someday in the NEAR future.
And thanks for celebration yesterday.
Some part of my work still remain in Thailand, so I shall be back sometime, someday.
Thank you very much for all friends in the League.
See you in the next match!!
From: Peter Team: British Club Date: 16/Jul/2007
Just a quick note from all at the British Club.
Have a safe trip home and all the best from us here.
We, Debsirin will beat BUJ team easier without you.
Come back! Come back! don't leave too long.
From: Dominique Team: LeCoq French Date: 17/Jul/2007
Dear Hisao San
After one year playing in the Vets League, it is the first time I feel
emotional when one of the players is leaving; surely , you leave many friends behind you; thanks for being a spirited footballer and always a gentleman.
Hope to see you again.
On behalf of LeCoq,
From: Eralp Team: Organizer Date: 17/Jul/2007
Dear Hisao San,
All the Vets wish you all the Best and success in life.
Please remember, you will always have a spot amongst us — whether with BUJ or with others :)
Take good care of yourself.
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.