The greatly anticipated annual Phuket football tour departed from Nusajaya on Thursday 6th November with eight teams, eighty excited pupils and ten brave Beaks. For the first year in Marlborough’s existence, the age of players ranged from nine to eighteen years old, making the College one of the very few international schools to compete in so many age categories and across both genders.
Following a lengthy journey, pupils arrived at the Outrigger Laguna Hotel hungry and hopeful for the tournament ahead. There would be no opportunity to relax, however, the first games kicked-off at 7am on Friday morning, which meant a 5.15am wake-up call for some of our youngest footballers!
Over the course of the two days, the Marlborough teams delivered impressive performances and there was no shortage of ‘magic moments’ on the field. The U11 boys played a patient passing game that demonstrated maturity and composure beyond expectation, the U15 girls played a more aggressive high-paced game and the O15 boys played with a disciplined defence, catching teams on quick breaks. Despite differing styles and strategies, each team played with desire and determination, traits that have become synonymous with all of Marlborough’s sporting talent.
There are no easy games and no easy groups at the BISP Soccer 7s. If effort and commitment were the deciding factors, there is no doubt that all Marlborough teams would have earned a place in the knockout stages of the tournament. On this occasion, the brutal nature of competitive sport denied all but two of our teams the opportunity to reach the quarter-finals. The U15 boys kept a clean sheet throughout the entire competition and secured a well-deserved spot in the semis. The O15 boys won a nail-biting quarter-final, on what can only be described as a bog, to push them through to the penultimate stage.
Unfortunately, monsoon season got the better of the tournament and put a halt to play at lunchtime on Sunday, making the pitches unplayable. All subsequent games were cancelled and dreams of gold were shattered in the process. Despite this disappointing yet inevitable decision, the Marlborough spirit could not be dampened; teams enjoyed some downtime at the resort with their teammates and made the most of the touring experience.
The overall results may be inconclusive but one thing is for sure, the standard of football at Marlborough has improved tremendously and the College has become a real contender within the region of SE Asia. Our teams will return to BISP in 2016 with aspirations for gold; watch this space!
Head of Girls’ Games