HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Farewell tennis tournament for the Jardines

Thais conquer U.S. Marines

Farangs left hanging on the line

Chiang Mai Pool League

Chiangmai SportRoundup

Farewell tennis tournament for the Jardines

Unfortunately Sharapova and Williams did not return

Calcutta’s newly appointed US Consul Henry Jardine made an enormous impact in Chiang Mai during his stint here. Some of the impact was seen on the tennis courts last weekend, when a special farewell tournament saw the local tennis players from the diplomatic and business community attempting to emulate Cobra Gold exercises with some dangerous hits to the outfield, with many participants narrowly escaping injury.

The dangerous ‘dream team’ of Chai and Linda Santitharangkul was separated, resulting in one of the longest games for the Henry Jardine and Lindy team against Chai and Wanphen Dirksen.

With the imminent departure to Calcutta of Henry Jardine and his family, farewell events have been atop everyone’s social events calendar. This particular tennis tourney was organized at Baan Nai Fun II by German Hon. Consul Hagen Dirksen and his wife Wanphen, both keen players, and ready to fight for Deutschland Ueber Alles, being backed up by the Chiangmai Mail’s Michael and Marion Vogt.

British Hon. Consul Jon Glendinning and MD Chiangmai Mail Michael Vogt were seen kneeling down in awe of the strong team of Katsuhiro Shinohara and Henry Jardine (who beat them 4-0).

The tournament also brought together professional and not-so-professional players, producing many different approaches towards a game normally dominated by expertise, willpower and concentration. These three requirements were not always evident, with some players relying on age, experience and animal cunning in the hope of overcoming youth and enthusiasm.

In this special tournament, only doubles were played, and the couples were permanently rotated and mixed to give every participant a chance to play several games, showing varying levels of fitness, as well as skill. The matches were called to an end after four sets, and the alternating umpires had a relatively easy task, as their decisions were mostly accepted without discussion, averting any imminent international incidents. No serious injuries were reported either, and the spectators were not treated to on-court tantrums, though some players might have felt like it!

Thais conquer U.S. Marines

Closest soccer match in Cobra Gold history

Lance Cpl.
Cathryn D. Lindsay

During overcast skies and the pulse-like beat of Thai military recruits playing drums, the Royal Thai Armed Forces conquered the U.S. Marines in an intense soccer game here in Chiang Mai May 8 during exercise Cobra Gold 2005.

Japan Self Defense Lt. Col. Shigeo Abe kicks the soccer ball away from a Thai soccer player in the Thai verses U.S. Marines soccer game here May 8. Abe was the only non-Marine player on the U.S. team. (Official Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Cathryn D. Lindsay)

More than 20 Marines of all ranks and one Japan Self Defense Force Army colonel battled the more than 40 soldiers from the Royal Thai Armed Forces in the soccer match, an annual event in almost every Cobra Gold exercise.

The Thai soldiers and U.S. Marines were tied 2-2 for more than 50 minutes, but the Thais finally won in a penalty kick shootout.

“The soccer game was a good chance for us to get in some fun (physical training) and interact with our Thai counterparts,” said Cpl. Javier O. Borja, a data network specialist with 7th Communications Battalion, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

Gunnery Sgt. Lawrence Torres III uses his head and a Thai soccer player to get the ball away from the Thais in a soccer game here May 8, as part of exercise Cobra Gold 2005. (Official Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Cathryn D. Lindsay)

Farangs left hanging on the line

Adam Head

Suffering from a prolonged spell without match practice, an out of sorts Farangutans Football Club went down 3-1 last Saturday. Outplayed by a good passing outfit blessed with resourceful attacking options, the salt was really rubbed into the wounds by the fact that this was the team from TOT, the telephone company, but they probably had a phone network to assist them in the plays.

The game started well for our beloved Farangutans. Stretching the opposition with pace and a direct style of play, the boys from the UN Irish Pub looked dangerous during the opening half-hour. Indeed, they took a deserved lead on 30 minutes from a lovely set-piece play. With the TOT boys expecting a direct shot and cramming their defensive wall with 6 bodies, there was always room for the Farangs to attempt something a little different. It was the fullback Dr. Tim who spotted the opportunity, and his run from deep was spotted by Adam who dinked a deft chip over their fullback straight into his path. With time to weigh up his options, Tim selected a pass inside, a good choice! James duly took the ball in his stride and slammed the ball home for his first League goal of the season. Well done lad!

As the half wore on however, warning signs began to emerge as the TOT boys began to find space behind the farang midfield. As the defence dropped ever deeper, there were several close calls before the referee blew for half-time oranges. (Hey, where were the oranges boss?) And in all truth, the 1-0 scoreline was not an accurate reflection of the balance of play.

We are, it must be said, accustomed to the Thai teams playing a tight accomplished passing game, and this team were no exception, expertly picking their way out of defence and finding the feet of their frontmen with unerring precision. With a midfield pairing short of match fitness, the onslaught that was to come in the second was perhaps inevitable.

Captain Lee rang the changes at half-time, and with half an hour to play all five substitutes had been used. However, the fresh legs were not fresh enough, although some of them were nicely tanned.

 And from this point on there was only one team in it. In fact, the game became ridiculously lop-sided as the Farangs were unable to keep the ball for any length of time, providing the opposition with countless opportunities to pass their way into threatening positions. Wave after wave of attack engulfed the FFC penalty area, and when Rick was sent off for a rash challenge, defeat looked a near certainty. Centre-forward Ano provided some brief glimmers of hope with his pace, and Hinsh supplied some sure touches, but more goals were soon conceded. Credit to the stubborn defence and the goalie, man-of-the-match Mark, that the margin of defeat was only two goals.

Not ones to accept defeat badly (hey, we’ve lost before and we’ll lose again!), the Farangutans nevertheless left the pitch with a sour taste in the mouth. This was due to the blatant bias of the match official, who consistently awarded inexplicable free-kicks to the opposition, as well as myriad yellow cards to the farangs. Well, we are not unaccustomed to seeing a little, shall we say, “preferential treatment” in favour of our Thai opponents, but we can usually swallow our pride and accept it as coming with the territory. Nevertheless, last Saturday’s refereeing display was unashamedly contrived, bordering the absurd. One for Sepp Bloater? Definitely.

Notwithstanding, congratulations to our skilled opponents, and roll on next Saturday, or is it Sunday?

And finally, many thanks for the continuing support of our kind sponsors, the UN Irish Pub and the Chiangmai Mail. Boy do we need it after that!

Men of the match: Mark, Tim, and James.

Chiang Mai Pool League