Bangkok Veterans League Season #4, Month #3 06/Apr/2008 • Harrow School
In Cosmos's absence, Apr/2008 Vets League ends with Harrow Cooks returning to winning ways
We've had another successful monthly edition of the Vets League on Apr/6th at Harrow School. After sorting out how many teams registered and how many teams actually showed up, we were ready ready to roll with a 14-team competition this month. Despite the commotion in figuring out on exactly how many teams we had, we started only 15 min late, and still were able to finish on time, thanks to the skillful management of the Captains, positioning their teams at the right pitch at each round of games.
Nevertheless, a sense of jubilation was palpable in the air, as many Captains felt a real opportunity to win the championship this month with the uncommon absence of Cosmos, including, Crossbar, British Club, Anatolia, and, of course, the most expectant — Winking Frog ..!
This time, the 14-team, 47-game fixture was familiar to all of us, as we have done it successfully in Feb/2007 , Jul/2007, and Nov/2007 before, but this time noone was sure which team would come out on top.
Thankfully, the early morning rain and the overcast up above allowed all the Vets to have a relatively cooler day on the pitch, and there weren't many emergency runs to the water bottles.
In the 2-group x 7-team Group Stage formation, the were some interesting matchups that saw some real action on the day. For example, in Group-A:
• British Club -vs- Anatolia: a narrow 1-0 win for Anatolia
• Anatolia -vs- Winking Frog: a 3-0 drubbing by Winking Frog
• British Club -vs Crossbar: another narrow 1-0 win for Crossbar
And in Group-B:
• LeCoq -vs- Germans: a decisive 2-0 victory for the Germans
• Cooks -vs- LesGaulois: a 2-0 win for the Cooks in this "early final"
• BU Japan -vs- Japan FC: JFC showing their strength again in a 1-0 win
• LesGaulois -vs- LeCoq: LesGaulois triumph 2-0 over their countrymen
The end of the Group Stage saw the usual suspects like Winking Frog, LesGaulois, Harrow Cooks and the supposed-newbies Crossbar (or formerly the Vikings ) finish at the Top-4 of their groups, and there were familiar faces like Japan FC and the Germans. On the other hand in Group-A, surprisingly, British Club and BSL Veterans narrowly edged out Anatolia on goal difference to advance into the Cup Division, due to a totally unexpected loss of Winking Frog to a extra-strength BSL Veterans this month.
Surprising results in the Cup Division QFs were losing Winking Frog to LesGaulois on a sudden-death penalty-shootout (in another "early final"), and the Germans to to BSL Veterans in another sudden-death penalty-shootout that went all the way to the 9th kick! By this point, BSL Veterans were exploring unchartered territory in the Cup Division SFs. Other Cup Division QFs saw Crossbar and Harrow Cooks smoothly advance to the SFs over Japan FC and British Club.
In the lower Shield Division, while BU Japan was pulling all the right moves minute after minute, LeCoq's day, despite their respectable 3-point 6B group placing, was sharply heading to south Antarctica, with Medicals, Anatolia and Nextstep sprinkled in between. And, in a totally unprecedented and rare turn of events, BU Japan carried home a non-BadCup! silverware — the Shield! (9th overall) trophy.
The Cup Division SF losers competed valiantly in the Plate Division, where Winking Frog pulled out another silverware on the day by taking home the Plate! (5th overall) trophy for a 2nd time in the Vets League history (similar to their Jun/2007 campaign) triumphing over the resurgent Germans.
Before the tournament (Cup Division) final, the whole Harrow venue was cleared and the center-stage Pitch #1 was readied for a very important match of the day — the BadCup! final — pitting LeCoq and Amadeus against each other in "a final of their own"! Vets League record books were dug out and dusted off, aging historians were summoned to ask their knowledge of the results and their advice on the tendency of these 2 teams in key matches like this.
The only known facts were that they met only twice (Feb/2007 and Dec/2007) and that they were at 1 game a piece so far. To make pundits even more confused on their predictions, they both played in the BadCup! final once before (against other teams), while LeCoq (who never won a BadCup! before) narrowly escaping BadCup! against BSL (Apprentice) Veterans in Feb/2008, Amadeus falling prey to "first-ever" participation jinx a year before in Feb/2007 against BSL (Master) Veterans. The rest was a total unknown.
And, all eyes were on Pitch #1, where both LeCoq and Amadeus took their time to warm up, or rather, played out the 13 min to a cautious end. A few faint chances on both ends, but no decisive finishing. So, we moved into the dreadful penalty-shootout, in which Amadeus nicely converting their kicks while LeCoq bungling it all. Amidst the much cheering of the crowd lined up all around the Pitch #1, in rare occasion, we witnessed LeCoq proudly lifting their "first-ever" BadCup! in the history of the Vets League.
Immediately after, the final on the other end, the Cup Grand Final got underway, with Harrow Cooks and Crossbar Strikers deservedly facing each other. After playing 6 games already, these 2 teams still had the stamina to run another 13 min thoroughly thirsty of the championship. Many chances on both ends, with Crossbar's notorious Anders coming close in a couple of occasions, but Harrow Cooks getting 1 pass the Crossbar keeper midway through the match, and another at the very end of it.
Congratulations to Harrow Cooks and to all the other teams and players who took part in this monthly celebration of Vets football in Bangkok.
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 new sponsor, DownUnder Sports Bistro in Sukhumvit Soi 23.
1) Harrow Cooks <== Champ!
2) Crossbar Strikers <-- beer-bucket!
3) BSL Veterans <-- beer-bucket!
4) LesGaulois French <== FairPlay!
5) Winking Frog <== Plate!
6) Germans <-- beer-bucket!
7) Japan FC
8) British Club
9) BU Japan <== Shield!
10) Medical Gear <-- beer-bucket!
11) Anatolian Turks
12) Nextstep Steppers
13) Amadeus Bookmakers
14) LeCoq French <== BadCup!
Here's the complete scores of the day ==>
With this opportunity, all the Vets thank Kh. Sorot of ChefsXP for taking care of the free-flowing beer that allowed us to stay back a little bit after the trophy presentations, and had a chance to chat about the world events (on a fully drunken head ).
Also thanks to those few individuals who lent a hand during the beginning part of the day, like Yingcharoen's Sirichai, Anatolia's Beyhan and Halit, and Winking Frog's Graham, and BSL's Marc. Hope to see more of you getting in the act in the upcoming months.