DBFC 45s Phuket Tour 25 & 26 November 2023

Venue: Thanyapura Sports Ground, Phuket
Squad: Barry Brown, Pascal Laroumanie, Dirk Haddow, Ben Ridley, Mike Collier, Ceet Fouad, Neil MacDonald, Chatree Saleewong, Scott Borrowed(GK) and Tim Drew (Sponsor & Lead Supporter)
Since 2009, DBFC under various guises (Friday Dragons, HK All Stars) have been entering the legendary Phuket & Andaman 7’s Tournaments and after a brief hiatus, we returned for the 2023 edition of the tournament led by DBFC’s hard man himself, Baz ‘Hammer’ Brown.

Considered potentially a last hurray for many, until we decided in the bars afterwards that we would be back next year, the team was made up of a number of the ‘old-boys … the guys who set the tone for those early tournaments … Baz, Mike ‘Magic’ Collier, Ceet, Pascal ‘The Animal’ Laroumanie, and Dirk, jetting in all the way from the U.K., via HK. Unfortunately, some of the ‘originals’ couldn’t join us such as Gazza, Troy-boy, Ikeda ‘The Cat’ or Gary L – they were sorely missed, not necessarily on the pitch, but on Bangla!

However, newbies to the Phuket 7’s Macca and Ben R joined the team at late notice and having arrived in Phuket slightly light on numbers, Pascal reached out to his Bangkok network and secured the services of Chatters, a solid addition to the team, and it was then just a matter of securing a goalkeeper on the day.

A number of the players flew in on Thursday to acclimatise to the tricky conditions along with the Team Sponsor Tim Drew, from Tanner de Witt. With the acclimatisation going well and late into Thursday night, the rest of the squad joined on the Friday for a more sedate evening of dice games, connect 4 and smashing a small nail into a block of wood.

Saturday was the start of tournament, and much to Pascal’s disdain, it was an early start.
Although all of us were over 50 apart from Pascal, we were entered into the O45 Category, which at the last minute, got changed to 11 teams, with two groups, one of 5, one of 6 teams with DBFC being in the group of 5.

With goalkeeper Scott secured from another team and the extra day of acclimatisation clearly working, we eased through the first day playing and winning all three group games against teams from Malaysia (1-0), Australia (2-0) and a German Team based out of Singapore (3-0), scoring 6 and keeping it tidy at the back.

The Christmas tree formation seemed to work with Scott in goal, Baz, Dirk, Magic, Ben R and Chatters taking it in turns at the back and as full backs, Macca and Pascal, the engines in the middle and Fouad playing wherever he likes …. As manager, Baz also had a cameo role in midfield … but let’s not go there …

After a morning of football, it was back to the hotel for recovery and refreshments ….

It was another early start on Sunday as we needed to finish our group with a game against a team from Bangladesh who had a few tidy players. Scott, our keeper, was nowhere to be seen, so Baz stepped in between the sticks and half way in, old butter fingers flapped at the ball and it bobbled over the line – 1-0 down. However, the keeper turned up, changes were made and the final 10 minutes we dominated, scoring first an equaliser, then Pascal smashing the winner into the top corner with the final kick of the game – a 2-1 win meant we finished top of our group with 4 out of 4 wins.

This meant we were in the Cup semi-finals against the 2nd placed team of the other group, a team from Goa, India.

After an hours rest, the semi-final kicked off. A cagey affair with limited chances for both teams, and DBFC wary of the Goan’s attack, especially on the flanks. Unfortunately, a mistake at the back let the Goan’s striker nip in for an easy finish and now DBFC were chasing the game. Time was running out, but Ben R got the ball on the right, saw the keeper of his line and buried it to make it 1-1. The whistle blew for extra time and now 6 v 6 golden goal.

The Goan’s had kick off, missed a great chance, the goalie pushed it out unnecessarily for a corner. A short corner was taken, played the ball out to the edge of the box where one of their players hit a worldie. Golden goal and it meant that DBFC fell at the Cup Semi Final.

It was not the performances of the group stage, but that’s football, you win some, you lose some. So, while some stayed at the venue and headed to the airport, others headed back to Patpong to nurse their wounds and top up their alcohol levels for one final night on Bangla!