Bangkok Veterans League
Season #3, Event #12
— Annual Traditional Friendly Derby Match —
• Inaugural "Bangkok Veterans -vs- Bangkok Francophones" •
02/Dec/2007 • Harrow School

The Vets saw Francophones challenge, and raised it!

Date: 16/Nov/2008
The air was thick, the nerves were tense, the occasion was monumental. The Veterans has accepted the challenge from one of Bangkok's stalwart vets teams — The Francophones.

Everyone slowly rolled in to the Harrow School venue for a nice afternoon game, only to find that the Center Pitch was all set up with goals and tents from yesterday's kids tournament. Both teams, aiming to find a solution and quickly get on with this Inaugural "Bangkok Veterans -vs- Bangkok Francophones" game, checked out the Left Pitch, didn't fancy the length of the grass (which was knee high and barely enough for Gilles and Eralp to peek above), then settled on the Right Pitch, which was well suited for the thousands of fans and family members who were more interested to see the match get underway.

The Veterans boosted a strong squad on the day, with Cosmos's midfield machine, Kenny, making a rare appearance, and Vikings's Anders and Anatolian Turks's Neset cancelling on the last minutes:
    • Veterans League
        - Eralp (M)
    • Hotspot Spotters
        - Preben
    • BSL Veterans
        - Marc
        - Stefan
    • Bangkok Cosmos
        - Kenny
    • Winking Frog
        - Paul
        - Graham
        - Steve
    • John Smiths
        - Chris
        - Hiroshi
    • NIST Teachers
        - Adrian (C)
    • Germans
        - Bruce
    • British Club
        - Reza

The Francophones were a mix team, joining forces between LeCoq French and (French speaking contingent of) Campioni Italians:
        - Eric
        - Christophe (C)
        - Gerard
        - Frederic
        - Philippe
        - Germain
        - Jean-Pierre
        - [?]
        - Jerome
        - Philippe
        - Gilles
        - Olivier
        - Dominique (M)
        - Vincent
        - David


Having liked playing in the new 3 periods x 30 minutes format in the previous few friendly matches, the Captains agreed to go ahead the same way, this time the Referees seeming better adjusted.

Bangkok Veterans quickly appointed NIST's elder statesman Adrian as the Captain on the day, with the following Starting-11 in a standard 4-4-2 format:

Fwd. Hiroshi Paul
Mid. Stefan Kenny Chris Adrian
Def. Bruce
Graham Marc
Steve
GK Reza

Substitutes Bench:
   • Preben
   • Marc
   • Stefan
   • Eralp


1st Period:
    After the initial pleasantries, handshakes and photo-shoots, the Francophones started with full on attack trying to throw the Veterans off their game. The Veterans were not to be perturbed, and stuck to good defence with Graham and Steve in the center-back, not losing formation, and relied on quick counter-attacks.

In one of those attacks, about the middle of the 1st Period, somewhat against the run of play, through a few nice combination passes between Kenny, Eralp and Paul, the Veterans went ahead with a precise Kenny cross from the left flank and a nicely taken right-foot volley by Eralp. [Score: 1-0]

The exchange of attacks continued, and on a very similar situation, this time a string of passes from Kenny to Adrian, then to Hiroshi on the left flank, with a nice cross finding Paul's head for another well taken Veterans goal. [Score: 2-0]

While the Veterans got comfortable, the Francophones were mounting serious charge on the Veterans's goal. Consequently, just minutes before the break, Thierry found the needle-hole from close range in the right side of the 6-yard-box to bring the Francophones closer. [Score: 2-1]

    • First Break ==> Veterans 2 - 1 Francophones


2nd Period:
    As soon as the 2nd Period started, the Francophones were at the Veterans's goalmouth immediately, and this time, Jerome did not forgive, finding the bottom right corner in a narrow window he had, equalizing emphatically. [Score: 2-2]

A few minutes later, Kenny and Eralp were in the frame again, this time Eralp connecting to the end of a beautifully placed Kenny pass to the left flank, and coolly easing the ball past the charging Dominique in goal, placing it to the distant bottom right corner just inside of the post. [Score: 3-2]

    • Second Break ==> Veterans 3 - 2 Francophones


3rd Period:
    When the 3rd Period started, it was clear that the high tempo game took a toll out of the Francophones, who were satisfied with defending, with only rare attacks onto the Veterans goal. So, the Veterans took advantage of this, and mounted attack after attack onto the Francophones, aiming to increase their lead.

In one of those attacks, in a random scramble in the Francophones goalmouth, Preben somehow popped up, and stuck the ball in with a half knee, half leg (and half other stuff) shot, claiming this first Veterans goal in a long time (or was it the first-ever time?). [Score: 4-2]

And, in the waning moments of the match, another smooth Kenny touch skillfully lobbed Dominique from near the midfield line, sealing the victory in this inaugural match for the Veterans. [Score: 5-2]

    • Full Time ==> Veterans 5 - 2 Francophones


Overall:
    Overall, a wonderful outing for all the Vets who showed up in the true joy of friendship. Everyone had a good run, and happy to see this annual traditional game get a kickoff. No screaming, no shouting, either to the opposition or to the Referees, in the spirit that the "Beautiful Game" has originally meant to be.


Final Word:
    Of course, a very special thanks to Francophones legendary leader, Dominique, for convincing his lads to come to a "new concept" game like this, and Veterans's leader Adrian for good tactics and sportsmanship on the day.


Eagerly looking forward to the 2008 edition.


Kind regards,
-Eralp


 
Photos:


Picture 1 — Bangkok Veterans in full force.


Picture 2 — Bangkok Francophones seemed to have the superiority in numbers.


Picture 3 — Veterans's Adrian and Francophones's Christophe in a friendly handshake before the kickoff.


Picture 4 — Francophones's David leading their cheerleading efforts.


Picture 5 — Inaugural match trophies, in appropriate proportions, raring to go!


Picture 6 — Veterans testing the Francophones's goal in the 1st Period.


Picture 7 — As Dominique dishes out first break instructions Philippe (a.k.a. Zidane) is in deep thinking mode.


Picture 8 — Veterans seem relaxed at the the first break.


Picture 9 — Thousands of spectators and family members having a good picnic on the occasion of this landmark Vets friendly.


Picture 10 — Francophones charge strong to pull back against the Veterans.


Picture 11 — A very friendly, end-of-day joint-team photo.


Picture 12 — A somber looking Dominique receiving Francophones's Runners-up trophy.


Picture 13 — Eralp gets his Goal of the Day trophy from Adrian, for his memorable (i.e., once in a lifetime) volley shot.


Picture 14 — And, Adrian receives Veterans's winner trophy for a good effort and win on the day for this inaugural match.


Picture 15 — A bit of chit-chat (and Reza!).


 

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.

 




 
 
 
 
 


 


 

Veterans -vs- Francophones
Eralp 1 - 0
Paul 2 - 2
2 - 1 Thierry
    -FB-    
2 - 2 Jerome
    -SB-    
Eralp 3 - 2
Preben 4 - 2
Kenny 5 - 2
    =FT=    
5 - 2
Legend:
    • FB: First Break
    • SB: Second Break
    • FT: Full Time