A New Year’s tradition dating back more than 80 years is set to be renewed today with a face-off between players representing England and Scotland at the Bapco football pitch in Awali.
The ‘Auld Encounter,’ organised by the Awali Football Club (AFC) with support from Bahrain Caledonian Society, has been staged every year on January 1, since 1937. Teams of 10 or 11 per side play each other for the John Kerr Memorial Quaich.
“Every year, we recruit team members from the AFC to represent the two sides and the game is more of a good-natured encounter,” said AFC chairman John Jaworski.
“Last year, the ‘Auld Encounter’ saw a flurry of both red and yellow cards for each team in an otherwise extremely good-natured encounter, attracting interest both from players and supporters, to watch the match and the diminishing stamina of the players after the exertions of New Year’s Eve.
“While the English and Scottish teams are not entirely comprised of English and Scottish players, they do wear red and blue in homage to their respective national teams.”
The England team will be captained by Brett Garrett and the Scotland team by Jonathan Jaworski.
Scotland has won the last two skirmishes, 2-0 in 2020 and 4-1 in 2019. The last time England won was in 2015.
Igor Bosoi, who has scored for Scotland in the past three years, put up the first goal last year, followed by first time player Michael Duff.
The match is usually followed by the presentation of the trophy to the winning team at the AFC clubhouse but due to social distancing restrictions, this year’s presentation will take place at the Bapco Club terrace.
The game starts at 11am and is open to the public.