The Saigon chapter of the Swans along with the Ladies Saigon Gaels hosted a mixed international rules match on Saturday 6th June – the latest in a long line of successful mixed games to be played in the south. With the majority of the Gaels heading off on summer break soon – some leaving permanently – we figured this would be the perfect opportunity to have another match!

Heading up the White team were Dan Morrison and Siobhan Synott, while the Reds were led by Timmy Pickert and Maz Scanlon. The captains picked out their teams, with both showing different strengths on paper. The whites had a few more Irish boys familiar with the round ball, while the reds boasted some powerful Swannies midfielders. Andy G was still licking his knee-wounds from the previous week’s Manila Cup and volunteered to umpire, as did Tuan Nhan who got his first taste of being on the other end of the whistle (and the abuse that comes with it!). Timmy C however was fed up with being on the sidelines, and broken-finger-aside, jumped in for the reds.

The whites came out strong, scoring several 3-point “overs” within the first 10 minutes. Timmy Burdeu made up for his absence in Manila, while Siobhan was stealing over-head marks left, right and centre. The reds however were not dejected, and came back late in the first quarter to seal an over and a 6-point goal to tighten the score. Both teams changed things up a bit at quarter time, and the second quarter was another close affair with multiple goals and overs scored by each side. Gaels coach Cormac and his Irish visitor Steve showed some great speed and round-ball skill in the whites’ midfield, while new Gaels recruit (and long-term rugby player) Heather Turkle showed that she can dominate regardless of the ball or the rules. Timmy Pickert was fantastic for the reds, with Hannah, Jess W and Nath Milner providing great support. The team selection was looking pretty even, with the whites leading by less than a goal at the half time break.

The third quarter saw even more positional mix-ups, with Maz deciding that Nath Milner was being wasted in goals and jumping in to send him up forward. This paid off well with Nath impacting the scoreboard, while a few lucky saves by Maz (with brilliant defensive assistance from Billy, Andy G – who threw in the umpires whistle, and Krystal) preventing the score from blowing out with some strong attacking play by the whites. The whites were up by 2 points going in to the final term, setting the scene for what promised to be a nail-biting finish.

Alas, the whites had other ideas, coming out firing and impacting the scoreboard hard and fast. The over-reliance on Manila-exhausted Swannies in the red team hit them in the last quarter, with many players unable to keep up with the pace set by the whites. Some great goals by Irish Steve, Siobhan and Bart sealed the deal for the white team before everyone was happy to retire to a cold beer in the scorching heat.

 

Best players:

Whites – Siobhan, Cormac, Irish Steve, Timmy B, Heather, Roy

Reds – Timmy P, Nath Milner, Hannah, Jess W, Billy

 

With only 4 days’ notice, we were delighted with a turnout of 40 people on the day. The Saigon mixed games have proven time and time again to be a great day out, and are a fantastic way to get new people involved with the Swans or the Gaels. The relationship between the two clubs continues to go from strength to strength, with the mixed games being a huge contributor to this. We will be holding our next mixed game after the summer break, and encourage anyone that may be interested in joining the club to get involved!