Over the years this has been a close fought encounter, always played with passion, but with all the fun of the beautiful game, and in the past, more often than not, after a pulsating ninety minutes in the savage Pattaya heat a draw or only one goal has divided the sides.
The two teams gather at Jameson’s for the after-match celebrations and the auctioning of a football shirt signed by ex-Liverpool legend Ian Rush.
The WA Royal 7’s may look back on the 2012 game with pangs of regret however as the Jameson’s Cup is now resting in the Jameson’s trophy cabinet, and after this year’s performance it may well be there for a very long time.
The WA Royal 7’s Captain Spike won the toss (which was to prove to be the only thing he would win all tour) and elected to kick off. It was also about the last thing that went right for the hapless Australians as the Jameson’s Pattaya eleven immediately started to run them ragged on the park.
Such was the dominance of the Jameson’s team that the first goal came after only three minutes as Brian Abbott threaded the ball through to his left winger Stephen Page who with great skill controlled the ball and headed off towards the goal; slipping past the Australian midfield of Doc and Les, he then completely dummied Darren the Australian right back (who perhaps felt by now he wished he had already been right back in the pub), then with his left foot Stephen let go a blistering effort to curl into the top corner of the Western Royals 7’s net.
The crowd would go wild from this point onwards every time Stephen Page took off on one of his surging runs. Captain Brian Abbott playing in the center of the Jameson’s midfield shrugged off the years, relying upon his experience and heart to dominate the whole game in open play, leaving the packed WA Royal 7’s midfield floundering even to get a kick of the ball.
I think during the first half the Australian players Claxa, Les and Spike could only look on in awe as the Jameson’s Pattaya team dominated the game, with the poor Australians barely getting a foot on the ball, let alone being able to control it.
The Jameson’s team grew in stature and confidence as the game went on, pushing up the field at every opportunity. With players of the caliber of Sam Peebles and Jimmy Deacon in central defense for Jameson’s, you could see the confidence draining away from the Australians.
With the game being played mostly in the Australian half of the pitch it was not long before another goal arrived. Obviously a worked out plan for corners, Mick Newton thundered over a swinging kick, beautifully met by the head of Jerry Stewart the Jameson’s lanky center forward, who was all over the WA Royal 7’s defense.
With another surge forward Stephen Page picked up the ball outside the Australian penalty box and slammed in another curling effort which the Australian Goalkeeper could only stand and watch in admiration as it smacked into the back of the net to put Pattaya 3-0 up.
As this was only a charity game we then saw some wonderful skills from the Jameson’s team as they played with the hapless Australians, although it was quite obvious that Stephen Page wanted to get his hat-trick at the earliest opportunity and was unleashing thunderbolts at the goal every time his eager colleagues passed the ball his way. But it was the other winger that slotted in the fourth, Shaun Houlding tapping in from short range after another fine move.
When the whistle blew for half-time there was a look of relief on the WA Royal 7’s faces as the Jameson’s players paraded in front of a jubilant crowd.
The second half started in exactly the same way as the first as within minutes Brian Abbott laid on an inch perfect pass to Stephen Page who again had been left in plenty of space, and although he was 35 yards out with players in front of him, it never seemed likely that anybody would be able to stop the young Geordie, and the result was confirmed as from two yards young Page nut-megged the Australian keeper to finish off his hat-trick and any hope that the supposedly re-organized Australian Royal 7’s had of scrambling back into the game.
Job done, there were a couple of Jameson’s substitutions, with Steve Page and Mick Newton gracefully coming off to be replaced by the Dobbs brothers, Paul and David.
By now the Jameson’s team was in full attack mode and with the fans urging them on for another goal the home side was camped out in the Australian half. This did allow the Royal 7’s a chance as one slightly wayward pass gave the Aussies a chance to scream up field towards the unprotected Jameson’s goal and WA’s Paul unleashed a shot screaming towards the top of the Jameson’s net but Ray ‘The Cat’ Campbell was equal to it and parried the ball away, but only to the feet of the WA Royal 7’s Andy who caught the ball on the volley and hammered it goal bound. Sadly for Andy, Ray ‘The Cat’ had recovered his feet and somehow managed to scramble this away too. The ball then fell at the feet of the WA Royal 7’s Super Vet, Big Jeff, but with the Cat sprawled on the ground and the Jameson’s defense momentarily caught out of position Jeff inexplicably, with an open net in front of him, managed to hook the ball over the bar from 2 yards out. It just was not going to be a Royal’s 7’s jolly day out.
For the rest of the game Ray ‘the Cat’ did not have much to do apart from collect the odd back pass as Jameson’s regrouped for another attack. Sadly for the WA Royal 7’s, their goalkeeper was the most over worked man on the pitch. Further goals came from Paul Dobbs, and now playing as another center forward alongside Jerry Stewart, Sam Peebles also showed his more delicate side by scoring with a delightful scissor kick.
There was still time for Brian Abbott to step up to the penalty spot as one of the WA Royal 7’s gave a desperate tug on a goal bound Shaun Houlding to be penalized with a penalty. Sadly, as has become almost folklore in the game, Brian Abbott blazed the last minute penalty five feet over the WA Royal 7’s goal which left the Jameson’s team with a convincing 7-0 win.
Both teams returned to Jameson’s to a splendid evening of drink and fine food. The WA Royal 7’s fine session then produced fifteen thousand baht to be put towards the Jesters Care4Kids Charity Drive. So the charity won, the Jameson’s football team won their only game of the season and the WA Royal 7’s team proved to be jolly good sports.
Brian Abbott and his Jameson’s team look forward to the return of the WA Royal 7’s next year.