British University of Bahrain (BUB) 1 won the Rotary Club of Manama’s 6-a-side charity football tournament by defeating BUB 2, 2-1, in an exciting final at the Bahrain Rugby Football Club (BRFC) last night.
BUB 1 took the lead in the second minute and could have doubled it seconds later but the excellent BUB 2 goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant save, prompting an ovation from the spectators and praise from MC Thomas Harrington.
“This goalkeeper’s a cat!” he quipped in his Liverpool accent, referencing the player’s agility.
BUB 2 tried manfully to draw level but it was their opponents’ night and soon BUB 1 led by two goals.
After a brief scoreless period, BUB 2 finally managed to get on the scoreboard but it was already too late and the final whistle was blown shortly thereafter.
The tournament, a regular annual fixture since 1976, featured 16 teams with four teams each slotted into four groups and began in the afternoon, with four games being played simultaneously on adjacent pitches in the group stage.
As darkness fell and the floodlights took over, the quarter-finals took place, resulting in BUB 2 facing off against Bahrain Credit in one semi-final and BMMI clashing with BUB 1 in the other with both games also taking place simultaneously.
BUB 1 made short work of their opponents, winning 3-0 but, in the second semi-final, there was high drama as the game went into penalties before BUB 2 finally triumphed 3-2 in the shootout.
“This has been a very special day,” incoming Rotary Club of Manama president Renuka Ravindran Nambiar told the GDN after the final.
“We have raised about BD16,000 and all this money will be spent on community service. Nothing goes into admin or the Rotary Club because that amount is raised from membership fees.”
Nambiar, who will assume her office on July 1, added that the funds raised would go towards helping needy Bahraini families living below the poverty line and children with special needs.
“We do that throughout the year and we’ve always helped needy families and children with special needs,” she explained. “This year, the additional focus is going to be on youth, whether it is mental or physical health or vocational training.
“And we’re very grateful to the people who showed up to support these causes. It was an amazing turnout and the vibes were fantastic.”
A sizeable crowd was on hand throughout the tournament to watch and applaud the action while Harrington kept up his witty commentary and Radio Bahrain RJ Shannon Crockett, who was the DJ for the occasion, kept everyone entertained with his selection of music.
“We had a fantastic event with 16 teams participating,” Robert Timmers, the club’s director of international services, told the GDN as Harrington and Crockett engaged in a bit of banter behind him.
“I’ve been doing this event now for about 14 years and I see an increase in technical finesse and the will to win – all in a very good spirit.
“We see the excitement, we see regular sponsors supporting us, new sponsors pitching in and we’re very proud with what we’ve achieved today. We have a big team and worked very well in tandem to put this tournament together.”
Meanwhile, Crockett had just put on ‘Gangnam Style’, the 2012 PSY hit, and as the music echoed around the ground, Harrington couldn’t resist the opportunity to take a dig at his mate.
“Oh well, what can we say? It’s Shannon, after all!” he laughed into the microphone as Crockett, also laughing, started imitating the Korean singer’s famous dance moves to the amusement of everyone around him.
“See, this is all part of the occasion,” Nambiar said, smiling broadly as she looked on. “It’s basically a fun day but, because of everyone who pitches in, so many people, families and children benefit.”