Bangkok Veterans League Season #2, Month #6 02/Jul/2006 • Patana School
Cosmos sweep it all in Jul/2006 Vets League, and put a stop to Vikings impressive run
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times". While we had our most attended tournament with 8 teams on Jul/2nd and took Vikings off their 4-in-a-row championship throne, the day ended on a wet note when heavens opened right after the Grand Final, and we couldn't hold our traditional trophy presentation. This was the "first-ever" time I have ever seen flooding on Patana pitches. Nevertheless, it was a hugely successful day, with all the teams and all the players getting plenty of football and beer throughout the day.
I still don't know exactly how it was possible to fit an 8-team fixture into a half-day tournament, but we managed it. It proved too tricky whether to go for 1 big group of 2 smaller groups, but in the end each team playing 5 games in 1 big group allowed all the teams to play as many other teams as possible. The honourable teams making up our biggest ever event of the last year-and-a-half were:
• LeCoq French
• BU Japan
• Yingcharoen Standbys
• ritish ClubC
• Winking Frog
• Scandinavian Vikings
Of course, the Vikings were the 4-time defending champions, and determined to notch it up one more. BU Japan were in it just not to get the BadCup! again. Winking Frog was ready to leap to their "first-ever" championship, so were the Cosmos to get the Top Trophy in their "first-ever" participation. The ever-present British Club and the newly emerging LeCoq French were not to be forgotten, plus the Germans and the Yingcharoen Standbys joining in the foray for the top spot.
With 5 games played during the Group Stage, each team had plenty of chances to overcome any unfortunate losses, 'cause with only 3 wins they could enter the Semi Finals stage. What was evident was, after a month of break, the strikers were hungry for some attacking game, and the day saw many 4-0 scores. The intensity of the ongoing World Cup must have had an effect as well.
However, it wasn't meant to be once again for our friends from the Land of the Rising Sun, since without their scoring machine, Mori San, they found it difficult to find the back of the net, as they dashed eagerly to collect our much-coveted BadCup!, their 5th-in-a-row..! We all hope the upcoming August competition proves one better for them.!
This time around, the British Club couldn't bring a formidable squad to challenge the top teams as in the previous months, and could only pull out a draw and 1 point from Germans who, by the way, generously rented their talented non-German players to other teams and kept on board those heavy and aging stars in search of the Top Trophy. The result: a respectable 6th and 7th spot at the end of the Group Stage for the Germans and the British Club respectively.!
Our Yingcharoen Thai friends, after an absence of a few months, were back to repeat their Feb/2006 championship, and even brought ex-Thai national players to prove themselves. However, winning only 2 of their 5 games with 4-points each weren't enough to catapult them in the SFs.
It was obvious that the winning team was going to be from the strongest 3 teams of the day — Vikings, Cosmos, Winking Frog, and maybe the LeCoq French sprinkled in.!
The resurgent LeCoq played determined football throughout the day, their memorable game perhaps being the 3-3 draw against the defending champions but complacent Vikings, coming back from a 3 goal deficit. Their goalless draw against the Cosmos was also hard fought, which allowed them to enter the SFs as the 4th team at the end of the Group Stage.
For some reason, the Vikings' day was a slow-going one (maybe missing that dictatorial pre-game pep-talk from Niclas). After drawing their first 2 games, and jeopardizing their title hopes, they managed a swift come back with some convincing wins and a 3rd spot in the Group Stage.
The 2 run-away teams at the front of the pack were the "new kids on the block" Cosmos and the "still chasing that first championship" Winking Frog. They both handily took care of anything and everything that came their way, and finished the Group Stage as 1st and 2nd teams respectively.
At the bottom of the pack, we allowed the British Club -vs- BU Japan and Thai -vs- Germans to finish their day with a penalty-shootout. And, some say, we shouldn't have, 'cause unlike their counterparts in the World Cup, these lads weren't gonna miss anything at all, and the penalties took longer than the actual games themselves..!! While the Yingcharoen grabbed the 5th spot of the tournament against the Germans in 6 rounds of penalties, the British Club and BU Japan held the whole crowd hostage until they finished their more than 10 rounds of shooting..! In the end, BU Japan didn't wanna let go of the prestigious BadCup! for a 5th-in-a-row and missed one after 20 or so minutes of shooting, leaving us with an 8-7 result, our (and perhaps Asia's) highest scoring penalty-shootout ever...!
Better goal average allowed Vikings to come 3rd after the Group Stage, and matched them with the 2nd Winking Frog (a match not expected till the Grand Final). Nevertheless, both SFs were a hard-fought affairs, LeCoq French producing another tough fight against the Cosmos (just like their draw against them in the Group Stage), and going down with only 1 unfortunate goal. And, in the other Semi Final, some said an early Grand Final, Winking Frog and Vikings couldn't find the back of the net in the regular time. In the ensuing penalty-shootout, this time around for a change, Winking Frog converted all their penalties, snapping the 4-time winning streak of the Vikings. Derek was visibly happy, which of course he would have preferred to happen at the Grand Final.
At the 3rd place game, the LeCoq French didn't give up the fight after going down a goal, and like in the World Cup, they came amazingly close but settled for the 3rd spot only, with their consolation being winning over the 4-time champions Vikings on a last minute kickoff of a corner. Even the high-flying and high-scoring Anders couldn't pull the Vikings out of the hole this time.!
And the Final..! What a game.! Both the Winking Frog and Cosmos played a truly high-tempo and attacking game. Both came close to scoring many goals, while the Cosmos opening the score, and the Winking Frog closing it up right away. And, luck wouldn't have it for Derek and the Winking Frog to grab their "first-ever", as they lost on an unfortunate slip of the ball off of the keeper's hands for a 2-1 loss to the debutantes Cosmos. Top Trophy for the Winking Frog still remains elusive, and from what I could tell, the new champions are determined to challenge Vikings's 4-in-a-row in the upcoming months.
After the Grand Final, while we waited the torrential rain to come to an end, of course, everyone had their take on first-timers Cosmos's first win. Some said, Pedro brought the Cosmos (less Mauro, on his regular Chiang Mai trip) only after his scouting trip to the Vets last month, to survey the organization and the atmosphere, whether its worth to have the famous Cosmos name associated with such an event. Mastering the details of the setup, he brought just the right team and skill of players to sweep the competition on their first participation. And, some said, Cosmos shouldn't even be allowed to play in our much relaxed Veterans format event, as they take the game to dizzying heights.
But, I say, regardless of any domination, if you've got an Over-35 team, just bring 'em over.! You're welcome to be part of our fun. You know you'll find it hard to take the Cosmos off their throne for some time coming.!
Here's the complete scores of the day ==>
Special thanks to Derek for the finger-licking snacks and Bruce for helping out with the logistics on the beer and ice. Everyone had plenty of good time, and it was good to see friends after a month. And also, thanks to Khun Bang and his refereeing crew for helping out with the chores of the setup.
Congratulations to all the teams that made their way to Patana for the Vets. We had one streak shattered (Vikings not winning), but the other strongly on track (BU Japan winning the BadCup! for their 5th month in-a-row).
All in all, an entertaining day overall for all involved. Looking forward to seeing you again on Aug/6th.
Picture 1 — Strong support for BU Japan, plus massive Vets League followers on display.
Picture 2 — Tommy's mastery of his footballing skills.
Picture 3 — And the ball is chasing Chris, for a change.!
Picture 4 — LeCoq French primed for action (with Brits making up half the team).
Picture 5 — French rugby-player-turned-goalkeeper David makes a great save, handing the LeCoq their 3rd place against the Vikings.
Picture 6 — BU Japan and their supporters soaking the Bangkok sun.
Picture 7 — Germans's Fahri tracked closely by his huge fan base.
Picture 8 — British Club and BU Japan take the opportunity for a photo following their gruesome 8-7 penalty-shootout encounter — for the possession of the revered BadCup!
Picture 9 — Representatives from Vikings, Cosmos and Germans enjoying the end-of-the-day beers.
From: Derek Team: Winking Frog Date: 02/Aug/2006
Sorry, this month the winking frog cannot get a team as 2 players are at bcct but next month should be ok.
From: Pedro Team: Bangkok Cosmos Date: 02/Aug/2006
Unfortunately, I have bad news concerning the Cosmos Veterans team. Injuries, vacations and late cancellations force us to pull out for this month Vets tournament. I couldn't organize other Cosmos players for this Sunday and I didn't have a goalkeeper either.
I am sorry if we caused any inconvenience to you with this late cancellation. We look forward to the September tournament, and we will come back to defend our title that we won at the July Vets tournament.
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.