The 1999 SKLPC Tournament

March 22, 2017

Introduction & Overview

The 1999 Samaj Football Tournament was once again held over 2 back to back Sundays, the 3rd and 10th July, in order to accommodate 29 seniors and 12 juniors teams.

The seniors were divided into 6 groups, with Groups 1, 2 and 3 playing in the morning and 4, 5 and 6 playing in the afternoon. From these the top 2 would go through to the final stages on the following Sunday.

The morning session included last year’s winners, Beetacom, looking for their third tournament win in a row, Bendev, 2 time previous tournament winners and Kingsbury Builders Merchants, last years beaten semi finalists.

The afternoon session included Ace Contractors, last years beaten finalists, who although missing some key players, most notably two time tournament top scorer, Nimesh Harsani, went through comfortably winning all their matches. They were joined by East London, Bharasar and Finchley Reds, who although seeded were lucky to scrape through.

The first shock of the tournament saw SKLP Bolton, Groups 5 seeds, and pre tournament favourites crash out. Toofan “A” and Stanton Interiors took advantage of this and booked their places in the week off to recover.

Juniors Tournament

The 12 teams entering the junior’s tournament, were split up into 2 groups of 6, with the top 2 in each group going through to the semifinals.

The Outlaws went through as Group 1 winners with Woolwich Devils joining them as runners-up. Kera-Kundanpur, last year’s winners, went through as Group 2 winners. Bendev joined them as runners-up.

The semi finals saw the Outlaws take on Bendev and Kera Kundanpur take on the Woolwich Devils. The two games were very entertaining although none of the teams played as well as they had in the group stages, and in the end it was sad to see anyone lose, but Kera Kundanpur and the Outlaws eventually went through to meet each other in the final.

Junior’s final was played at a frantic pace with both teams giving it a 100%. The Outlaws appeared to have the majority of the early possession, and it was they who looked most likely to score first. However, it was Kera Kundanpur, who against the run of the play, scored first, through a classic counter attack. This seemed to spur the Outlaws on, but their final ball kept letting them down. With only a few minutes remaining and the Outlaws pushing up further and further up the pitch, Kera killed the game off scoring a virtually identical goal to their first. Minutes later, the referee blew the final whistle and Kera Kundanpur had once again become junior champions.

This year the organisers also decided to award the Juniors most outstanding player; as chosen by the tournament referees. So congratulations to Ramji of Woolwich Devils, “the Junior’s outstanding player of the tournament”.

Seniors Finals

Last minute training and the soothing of injuries from the first week were priorities for all the teams before the second weekend. A gorgeous Sunday morning helped ease some of the nerves. Group A included the favourites Beetacom alongside Kingsbury and Bendev. Group B included Baladia ‘A’ and Ace alongside a few dark horses.

Beetacom comfortably won their first match against Bendev, although Kingsbury could only manage a draw. As the teams continued to battle away the group began to take shape. Beetacom with a somewhat professional attitude mercilessly guaranteed their semifinal spot with four wins out of their first four games, but there was still one spot left and this would go to the team who could finish second. This battle was between Kingsbury and Toofan ‘A’ which was eventually won by Kingsbury.

Amidst all the excitement in Group ‘A’, small ripples of shock were beginning to occur in Group ‘B’. Baladia ‘A’ and Ace met each other in their first game. From the kick off it appeared that Baladia ‘A’ had taken their 2 defenders straight out of the zoo. Which resulted in 2 sin bin offences. Baladia ‘A’ managed to take control of the game and finished winning it 2-0. This game was to be the start of the worse things for Ace.

Stanton had already proved difficult opposition in this tournament, but they still have the energy and desire to go into battle against the mighty Beetacom. As the referee blew off for the match to start Beetacom straight away took control of the game. 1-0, 2-0 and the game was over, but Beetacom hadn’t finished. 3-0, 4-0. It was an emphatic performance and a clear warning to both second semi finalists Kingsbury and Baladia ‘A’. This match proved to be a classic encounter, with Baladia doing the attacking and Kingsbury content with defending and counter attacking. Even at the end of extra time. And so it went to the dreaded penalty shoot out, which was eventually won by Kingsbury.

The final was between Beetacom and Kingsbury. Could Beetacom get revenge for the earlier defeat in the day or would Kingsbury go on to win their seventh (or is that eight, it’s been so many we’ve lost count)? Beetacom went looking for an early goal and were rewarded late in the first half.

As the first half drew to an end, it was clear that extra time and penalties had taken a lot out of Kingsbury. Could they get it together or would Beetacom hold on for their 3rd successive championship? The referee finally blew the whistle to bring the final to an end and Beetacom had become winners for the 3rd successive year, a magnificent achievement.

The trophies were presented by Parant of Bendev Construction Ltd. Kingsbury stepped up first to collect their runners up award. The Beetacom stepped up for the third year in a row to collect the cup as winners of SKLP 5-A-Side football tournament. By winning it three years in a row they also got to keep the trophy. The final award for the day and donated by The Gentlemen’s Club was to the Senior’s Top Goal Scorer. This year’s clear winner with 10 goals was Ajit of Baladia ‘A’.

As always the organisers (Samji, Sash, Manesh, Hasmukh, Sam, Jit, Preetam and Himansu) would like to thank the sponsors, Bendev Construction Ltd (Sponsor for Senior’s trophies) and Beetacom (Sponsoring for juniors trophies). A pat on the back for all the fans and players for their contributions, it always appreciated, lets see some more of the same next year. And also a big thanks to the organisers for the time and effort they put in every year.

Jit Vekaria & Preetam Kerai

The Samaj Football committee as always look forward to seeing you guys again next year.

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