The 2004 SKLPC TournamentMarch 22, 2017
As Euro 2004 drew to a close, the SKLPC 5-aside tournament on 11th July provided the ideal platform for players to rein act the skills of their footballing idols. A record 43 teams had entered to partake in the senior event, which was subsequently revised to 44 teams on the day, as a team had paid the wrong entry fee and was thus entered in the junior’s events! Meanwhile the organisers approached the tournament with excitement and scepticism, following Beckham’s infamous penalty against Portugal, the grounds men was requested to mark the pitches backwards to avoid the ball being kicked into the A40. Their concern was not the damage it may cause to passing cars but rather the loss of £10 football. The penalty spots were checked and rechecked to ensure players did not have the opportunity or excuse for that matter to blame their penalty misses on the dodgy penalty spots. Thankfully the fears of dodgy pitches were allayed as once again the grounds men (Bharat Bhanderi) had produced immaculate pitches conducive for passing football.
The tournament kicked off with defending champions AVI Contractors (formerly known as Premiercom) playing Woolwich Warriors. AVI Contractors controlled the first half proceedings, but were guilty of wasting good goal scoring opportunities. They were made to rue for their first half misses, as Woolwich Warriors took a shock lead. Having to overcome the initial shock of conceding their first goal since 2002, AVI Contractors gathered their composure to equalise through Amit. AVI Contractors won the remainder of their Group I games to book their place in second round where they were duly joined by Bolton Originals B.
Meanwhile in Group 2, there were no such problems for last years surprise package the Scorpions, winning their first 3 games to secure a safe passage to the next round. The highlight of this group was the opening match between Scorpions and INFA QP The Scorpions won the match 1-0, courtesy of a clinically taken penalty by Deepak. The commitment and skills demonstrated by both young teams clearly suggested they had potential to become future champions. Surprisingly Masters piped INFA QP for the runners up spot.
Westside comfortably topped Group 3, as the other teams vied for the runners up spot. Eventually Durga D secured the second spot. Surprisingly Durga D was they only team from the Durga contingency to qualify for the second round. Group 4 saw last years semi finalist Baladia C qualify to the second round along with the Terror Squad
Group 5 contained two of the tournament favourites, last years runners up Baladia A and Kera-Kundanpur A. Their match proved to be the highlight of the group stages. Played at a frantic pace; Kera-Kundanpur had carved out the better opportunities but were denied by Nanji’s excellent goalkeeping. Kera-Kundanpur was rewarded in the second half through a well-worked goal to win the match 1-0. Both teams had shown their intentions in winning the tournaments and unsurprisingly both teams qualified for the next phase.
Group 6 also saw Bolton A qualify with FGU to the next phase. Manny from Bolton had clearly bought his shooting boots down with him, as he began his self-pursuit of being the tournament’s golden boot. Previous winners Dragons B were surprisingly eliminated in the group stages.
Harlesden FC and Baladia B qualified from Group 7. Group 8 contained 3 previous winners, Kingsbury Builders Merchants, Bendev and Dragons A. An early exit loomed for one team. Kingsbury topped the group and were followed by Dragons A into the second round.
It must be noted that this year group stages were tighter than ever, with qualification going down to the very last games; A testament to the improving footballing skills displayed by all teams.
The lunch break gave an opportunity for the qualifiers to recoup for the knockout stages. It also provided the ideal chance for players who had been eliminated to consider who they would support in second stages.
The highlight of the second round was the clash between rival’s AVI Contractors and Dragons A. AVI Contractors took the lead with a first half goal from Amit. Deepesh replied with a well-taken goal for Dragons. With the game seemingly heading for extra time, AVI contractors conceded a bizarre last minute penalty. What can only be described as momentary lapse of concentration by one of the defenders, as he stepped into the penalty area with no Dragons player in sight. Diven courageously stepped up to take the penalty, he hit it to lit’s left, however ]it guessed correctly to pull off a great save to keep the defending champions in the tornament.A goal in the second half of extra time by Stan ensured that Dragons A would be left to rue their penalty miss.
The shock of round was the elimination of Scorpions by Baladia B. The Baladians were clearly becoming a force to be reckoned with. Following last year’s gallant performances by Baladia A and Baladia C, all their senior team had secured a place in the second round. Unfortunately the fate of draw ensured that Baladia A and Baladia C would have to play each other in the second round. Baladia A ran out 2-0 victors thanks to goals from Jit and Ajit.
The others qualifiers from the second stage were Westside, Kera-Kundanpur A, Bolton A, Harlseden FC and Kingsbury Builders.
With the final within sight for all the remaining teams, it was no surprise that the free flowing football that supporters had become accustomed to, was scarified with a more cautious physical approach. This was no more evident than in the game with Bolton A and Kera-Kundanpur A. One could, have been easily excused for mistaking it for a rugby match, with both sets of players spending most of the time on the floor. With players form both teams being sin binned, this in the end proved to be costly to Kera-Kundanpur A, as Bolton A capitalised on the one man advantage to score 2 goals thanks to Manny and so advanced to the semi finals.
Meanwhile Kingsbury Builders were quietly and impressively going about their business to book their place in the semi finals.
Baladia A saw off Westside. However there was to be no such joy for Baladia B, as they were beaten by AVI Contractors
The first semi final saw a repeat of last years final, with AVI Contractors taking on Baladia A. This proved to be an enthralling match, with little to separate the teams and both defences on top. The deadlock could not be broken in either normal or extra time. Penalties were required to determine the victors. With both keepers pulling off great saves, it was Baladia who managed to hold their nerve to win in sudden death and record their first victory over AVI Contractors.
The second semi final saw Kingsbury Builders take on Bolton A. Kingsbury began asserting their dominance early on and deservingly took a 2-0 lead in the first half through clinical finishes by Yatin and Ashwin. There was no way back for Bolton, as Kingsbury booked their place in the final after a long five-year absence.
As expected the final began tentatively with each side unwilling to give little away. The supporters waited in anticipation for a piece of magic to turn the game on its head. This was duly provided by Yatin who scored a sublime goal (arguably goal of the tournament) to give Kingsbury the lead in the first half.
Baladia pushed forward in the second half in search of the equaliser, but were denied by some great saves by Sash. Manji had the chance to seal victory for Kingsbury, however his shot drew the save of tournament from Mansukh, as he somehow clawed the ball out of the top corner. Ramji hit a thunderous shot, which rattled the post. With 2 minutes remaining Baladia deservedly got the equaliser their attacking play had warranted through Bhavesh, to take the game into extra time.
Baladia began extra time as they had finished in normal time, laying siege on Kingsbury’s goal only to be rebuffed by great goal keeping by Sash. Baladia were not to be denied as they scored through a low shot by Ajit in second half of extra time. The final whistle witness jubilant scenes amongst the Baladian players and there hoard of fans, as they were crowned champions for the first time.
Congratulations to ,Naran (captain of Baladia A) and his players.
Not to be outshone by their senior counterparts, the juniors produced some scintillating performances. Only seven teams had entered the junior’s tournament, however the quality of football more than made up for the lack of entries.
The first semi-final was between Baladia and Finchley Gunners, a goal from Kishan in the second half ensured that Baladia would once again reach the junior’s final. The Scorpions, who run out comfortable winners over Masters, joined them. The final was a closely fought encounter. A goal in the first half of extra time by Kuran for the Scorpions was enough to ensure they were crowned junior champions.
This article would not be complete without acknowledging the contribution of the committee: Samji Harsiani, Manesh Patel, Hasmukh Bhudiya, Sash Mayani, Ashwin Vekaria, Preetam Kerai, Raj Madha, Himansu Kerai, Sam Vishram and Jignesh Gami.
Central to the successful organisation of annual SKLPC 5-aside tournament has been the commitment and efforts of the committee, therefore if anyone else would like to be part of this committee (male/female) then please contact one of the members.
On behalf of the committee we would like to express our gratitude to the brave supporters, who had again attended in there masses, despite the typical British summer conditions to make this an eventful tournament (leaving their sun tan lotions at home, instead bringing there brollies to counter for adverse weather forecasts). Also thanks to the parents of SKLPCC Colts for providing the food stall.
Congratulations to Amit Jethwa of AVI Contractors in finishing seniors top goalscorer with 9 goals and Kuran of Scorpions who won the juniors player of the tournament.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of SKLPC 5-aside football next year, we are contemplating in introducing girls and over 35’s men’s tournament subject to interest.
Finally we look forward to seeing you all here again next year !!!!!!.
For more information you can email us to email@example.com.