Last Sunday the SAC commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that brought the First World War to an end with our traditional family football competition—with honours pretty evenly shared between parents and children. The younger boys snatched an 8-7 victory over the grown-ups, while the dads scraped by with a 2-2 draw against the older children.
It all began in earnest at 10 a.m when 14 eager lads, 8 sleepy dads and one brave mum were summoned by Matthew Curtin and Gerald Strouts to bow heads and remember the men and women who sacrificed so much in the grisly combat of the last century. For the next profound and moving minute, we could hear just the patter of raindrops on the glorious yellow autumn leaves of the Meudon forest.
And then the sport started. The adults divided up into two teams, short on numbers but long on talent, to take on the Under-9s and Under-13s in simultaneous matches.
As the youngest lads lifted their heads on field 2 to face their under-shaved and already soggy fathers—among them Thomas Lavigne, Ed Lecomte, Arnaud Paquier, Alec Maurey and Gavin Mandy—incorruptible referee Philippe Colet, (his wife Catherine looking on with great anticipation from the sidelines) whistled the start of the U-9 match that will go down in the annals. In the first half, some deft dribbling gave the parents a quick 3-1 lead. However, with six minutes to go in the first half, the impassioned 7 and 8-year-olds began passing the ball with great precision and authority. As the half ended, the fathers and defensive playmaker Emma Hanlon held a tentative 5-4 lead though they could already feel their legs start to quiver. A determined Gavin scored two remarkable second-half goals for the parents, but the younger defence became impenetrable and after several swift counterattacks, their perseverance paid off with the decisive goal on the cusp of full time. Honourable mentions to Xander Lecomte, Jules Maurey, Liom Mandy, Augustin Thiellent, Maxime & Gaspard Paquier, Jules Moreau, Leon Bassi for their team’s well-deserved victory.
On the neighbouring pitch, fathers Rich Parkin, Edzo Wisman, John Hanlon, Gaetan De L’Hermite, Aram Mangasarian, Gerald and Matthew took an early lead only to find themselves increasingly stretched, bamboozled, run ragged and tied up in knots by the U-13s, admirably marshalled by the little-over-13-years-old Joe Hanlon. Goals remained hard to come by, with young keeper Rhys Parkin pulling off fine goal-line saves. With Joe and Alexander Curtin intercepting wayward parental passes at ease in defensive midfield as the match wore on, the boys finally broke through before halftime—great teamwork by Tristan De L’Hermite and Samuel Mangasarian—and then went ahead when a long pass found Eliot Strouts with space. He knocked the ball into the back of the net at the third attempt despite heroic goalkeeping by Rich. The boys might have stretched their lead--helped by solid work in midfield by Thomas Colet, Sam Hanlon and Logan Mandy--had Joe’s long-range shots and a Ronaldo-style overhead kick by Luc Wisman found their mark. The dads saved their blushes with a near last-minute header by Gerald to earn themselves a hard-fought draw.
Many thanks to Gerald and Laurent Brault helping put the matches together, Philippe for his refereeing, and to all those who took part. The boys have two matches coming up, Sunday 18th November vs Vesinet, and Saturday 24th November vs the British School. Any under-9s and under-13s who would like to play and haven’t yet signed up should get in touch with Gerald directly or via .