Vol. V No. 29 - Saturday July 15, - July 21, 2006
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SPORTS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Society golf

Ride to the finish

Four more years

Chiang Mai Pool League

Chiangmai SportRoundup

Society golf

The 10th at Lanna Sports Center.

By Sandy Lie
For most amateur players, golf is a form of relaxation and a chance to be with friends. A good laugh when a duck hook puts the tournament leader into a bunker, from which he takes 10 to get out, and swigs from the flask in commiseration while waiting on the next tee.
As a notorious hacker of the noble sport, I enjoyed these things most about golf in England, and while there are over 20 courses in northern Thailand to choose from, finding that kind of camaraderie is hard to come by for most farang in the land of smiles.
So, fifteen years ago a small group of likeminded foreigners formed a golf society that met weekly to compete for the “Little Man”.
Donated by the late Horst Fruechtenicht, the Little Man is a trophy that has brought many farang together from all walks of life – from long time residents, retirees and businessmen to day trippers. Interest in the society grew as friendships formed and after round drinking sessions became an optional part of the curriculum.
Therefore, former pro golfer, Christian Tilden initiated the Royal League three years ago. This event is played at the Highlands Golf and Spa Resort every Thursday, with the Little Man fought for in the monthly medal.
Highlands GC is located on Highway 1317 towards Mae-on, about 30 minutes from Chiang Mai city. It is a picturesque course set in the mountains. The first nine holes are easy walking with good bunkers and water hazards, while the back nine has hills that provide scenic views of the surrounding countryside.
Everyone is welcome at the Royal League and for more information visit www.theroyalleague.com.
Many of the faces seen at the Royal League participate with others at the Chiang Mai Social Golfers Club, which was set up four years ago by a band of ladies and gents who played golf together regularly.
Today, this society comprises 51 members – 30 of which are active – and it is sponsored by the Number 1 Pub, off Loi Kroh Road. Weekly competitions are held on Tuesdays at the Lanna Sports Center situated on the Chiang Mai - Mae Rim Road.
Lanna is made up of three nine-hole courses in perfect condition with the beautiful Doi Suthep Mountain as a backdrop. Although the society tees off at 9.30 in the morning, this course has floodlighting to allow play at night.
Like the Royal League, Chiang Mai Social Golfers Club provides a great opportunity of making friends, enjoying a drink and a laugh, and for some, showing of their golfing prowess. Want to know more? Just call Malcolm on 06 820 3635.


Ride to the finish

Off-road cycle event gains popularity

Bhumibol Dam in Tak province, 426km north-west of Bangkok, will host the Fifth Bhumibol Dam Invitation International Mountain Bike Championship between August 26 and 27.
The event is being organised by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
Organising committee spokesperson, Mr Suwat Pawaputanond, said a one-million-baht (US$25,000) budget had been set aside to organise this year’s championship. From that amount, 400,000 baht will be spent on trophies and prizes.
To commemorate the 60th anniversary of His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s accession to the throne, Mr Suwat said the organising committee was producing a gold replica of its annual trophy worth 80,000 baht to be given to the winner of the international category.
The mountain bike races will feature three categories, professional, amateur and family, and will be held over distances ranging from 24km to 60km. Each category will be divided into sub-categories based on gender and age. There will also be a “funny-bike” competition.
Mr Suwat said he expected the number of competitors to reach 700 this year - a 29 per cent increase over last year. International participants have been invited from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, New Zealand and Australia and will be treated to free accommodation, meals and airport transfers, but they will have to pay for the airfare and the 1,000 baht competition fee.
Last year, the event attracted between 20,000 and 30,000 spectators. (TTG)


Four more years

By Riz Taylor
That’s it, then. The World Cup is over. Another four long years until the next tournament, another four years to wait until that buzz that only the World Cup can create comes along again. Other sports can try and compete for the attentions in the meantime, but let’s face it who amongst us counts down to Rugby’s equivalent or the Olympic Games up to six months in advance?
Not me, that’s for sure. I’m sure there’ll be a plethora of memorable sporting events between now and 2010, but nothing comes remotely close to the World Cup.
There are those who would happily allow both Argentina and Brazil temporary visas into the crusty world of European football every four years to participate in the European Championships, and yes perhaps it would be a better way to determine who really are the kings of the world game, but those people would miss the point. What makes the World Cup what it is, what lifts the profile of the tournament above every other event of its kind are the very nations that were unwelcome and unwanted until the 32-team format was introduced in 2002.
In 1990 FIFA allowed the African football federation an extra place in the World Cup Finals, meaning two teams from the continent were represented in Italy. Egypt finished bottom of their group despite hard-fought draws with Ireland and the Netherlands, but it was Cameroon who are remembered for their amazing run that saw victories over Romania, Columbia and even Argentina on their way to an unlucky quarter final exit at the hands of England.
By 2006 the African representation had doubled to four, and though there was no Roger Milla to steal the show with sublime finishing and corner-flag shuffles, the quartet of Togo, Tunisia, Ghana and the Ivory Coast gave a more than reasonable account of themselves. Ghana particularly impressed with a unique and powerful brand of football that completely bemused the Czech Republic (supposedly the world’s second best team according to FIFA’s rankings), and for a spell even unsettled the number-one Brazilians.
Asian sides were largely disappointing this time around, and for Japan and South Korea it’s back to the drawing board after being out-muscled by their opponents once again. But you can’t help imagining that somewhere, not too far down the tracks, a nation from this continent will produce a golden generation of players talented enough to really frighten the superpowers of the game in the way South Korea managed 4 years ago, albeit on home soil. Let’s hope so.
Surely the gutsy performance of the “Socceroos” was the story of this World Cup. Australia edged through a tough group ahead of Croatia and Japan to reach the second round, a huge achievement for a nation taking part in only its second finals. It could have been a real fairy story as well were it not for a disastrous moment in the encounter with eventual champions Italy when Fabio Grosso meekly fell over the desperate challenge of Blackburn’s Lucas Neill, “earning” his side a somewhat fortunate penalty.
It’s this kind of diversity through teams such as Ghana and Australia that that makes the tournament what it is: simply the most eagerly awaited event of its kind.
In the end, though, there were few surprises in the competition, at least at the business end. European teams dominated in their own back garden, and once again the South Americans failed to impress on European soil. Brazil were shocking at times, and whilst Argentina gave a taster of what they were capable of in the group stages with some seriously tasty football, they too succumbed to European opposition as they crashed out to hosts Germany in the quarter finals.
It was at this stage that the World Cup balloon began to deflate, at least through these eyes. Discounting the ridiculous third-place playoff, the final three rounds of seven matches produced a pathetic eleven goals. Defensive football won the day, but given the importance of the matches this is hardly surprising. But although the tactical struggles between the world’s best can produce interesting matches it doesn’t make for the most exciting football.
Let’s be honest about it, Italy deserved their win. As usual they brought along a solid looking defence, but this time around coach Marcello Lippi also allowed his attacking players more freedom than his predecessors had done, and whilst the side were always difficult to score against they were also entertaining. Yes that’s right - Italian football was entertaining. Who’d have imagined it?


Chiang Mai Pool League: Friend’s Corner Out Back while Happy Bar Chiangers

Pat Black
Friend’s Corner returned to the top of the Chiang Mai Pool League last Friday with a convincing win at Out Back, while Half Moon Pub followed them into second place by eclipsing Blue Sky Bar. And Happy Bar pushed the previous leaders down to third in a shock success at Chiangers and Bangers.

Jack at home in the Out Back.

A rejuvenated Friend’s Corner bounced back into pole position last week through taking full advantage of squandered chances by Out Back to move mercilessly into a 5-1 lead by the break. The doubles started where the singles left off, with Friend’s waltzing through the next two games before their opponents made a token gesture by winning the last.
While that high profile encounter went off like a damp squib, there were fireworks at Half Moon Pub in a match that almost stretched into Saturday morning.
Blue Sky Bar turned up at The Moon with high hopes of going top of the league, but they soon found themselves with a 0-4 deficit; and after clawing their way back to one game adrift, the drama began.
In the 8th frame, The Bar found their remaining stripe encircled by spots like Apaches surrounding a wagon train. After more than 40 minutes of innumerable fouls and tippy-tappy shots, both skippers agreed on a re-rack. Ironically, again it was The Bars last ball that caused problems – they fouled it – leaving The Moon with the easiest of blacks.
The anti climax left Blue Sky in a cloud and they evaporated in the last game just before closing time.
Meanwhile, Happy Bar barred Chiangers and Bangers from staying ahead of the pack. In the shock of the night, a weakened Happy side hit back from losing the first frame to lead 4-1 and, although Chiangers fought back by taking the next two games, Happy held out to win 6-3.
On the lower rungs of the ladder, The Local continued their amazing recovery by winning a third match on the trot. They began poorly at Enjoy Place by twice going down, 0-1 and 1-2. But that power that took them to the championship just two seasons ago returned when they surged into a 5-2 lead.
Nevertheless, Enjoy stopped the rot by winning the last two frames to go out respectably as 4-5 losers.
At one time, The Local was 3 points below of their nearest rivals, but now Rock Hard Bistro had better watch out. After competing well in the early stages against Number 1 Pub and going in 3-3 at the interval, the Rock crumbled in the first two doubles leaving them one point away from the pits.
In mid table, La Villa continued to climb by walloping a shell-shocked Blue Sky Garden, 7-2. Just a few weeks ago, the Pizza Boys were one place away from the bottom, but they now find themselves in eighth spot, leaving The Garden wondering what happened to their form that beat Half Moon Pub the previous week.
In the closest match of the night, The Wall allowed a 4-0 lead to slip to a deciding frame, when December Bar’s lady – Mai – nonchalantly bagged the black. However, December stay in seventh slot – two behind The Wall.



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