The Londoner Scunners Spring Invitational Cup got under way yesterday as glorious sunshine spread across central Taiwan. Sixteen soccer teams descended onto the Taichung Football Association fields in an effort to become champions of Taiwanese expat soccer.
The tournament began with two Taichung teams competing, as the Tubbies took on local rivals the Compass. Compass came away from the encounter with two goals and three points that took them to the top of Group A, where they stayed for the remainder of the day, qualifying for the tournament’s premier Cup tournament.
Another notable game came in the fiercely competitive match between the Pacers and the Phoenix, both of Tainan. Challenges went in hard and fast, and both teams fought to the bitter end, but it was Phoenix who came away with the three points.
The win helped them on their way to a place in the Plate competition after finishing second behind Group B winners and tournament favorites, the Eagles.
The Pacers’ luck did not improve and a solitary point from a draw with Taipei’s Carnegie’s team saw them finish bottom of Group B, and joining the Badgers FC, the Red Star and the Scrubbers FC in the fourth-tier Spoon competition.
The tournament hosts, the Londoner Scunners, led by captain Simon Ash, qualified for the tournament’s Boot competition. Looking set for a place in the Plate, a contentious refereeing decision and confusion over a free-kick in their game against Da’an of Taipei, saw the Taichung team concede late and capitulate to a 2-0 loss and a third-place finish in Group C.
Londoner Scunners player and vice-captain Chad Sinovich encouraged local residents to come out and support the soccer festival.
“The thing about this tournament is that it is not just about football, it’s about encouraging the local community to come out and integrate with the expats that live and work in Taiwan,” he said.
“We had a great day today and I met several Taiwanese who were surprised by the level of soccer on display. Anybody in the area on Sunday should definitely come out and watch,” he added.
The tournament continues at 10am today, at the end of which four teams will walk away with winners’ trophies in their respective competitions.