Belgium 7-10 June 2013
Harwell Laboratories Recreational Association (HLRA)
(a.k.a JET FC)
Click on the thumbnail pictures to reveal the full photos.
This page shows the best photos with a storyline while all photos are here.
Videos of the Sunday night drinking competition and original resolution photos are available on request.
The Team - 13 players
Back row left to right
Matt Malia - tour virgin
Bill Boon - tour virgin
Andy Steer - tour virgin
Front row left to right
Pete Fox - tour virgin
There were 180 players from 10 labs and 6 countries.
JET FC were on the way to their fourth Belgium campaign. Chris Hoy had dropped out at the last minute and Shane Hedges was hand-cuffed to an all-expenses paid police residential course. The Channel Tunnel was chosen again despite burning down on the eve of the 2008 Belgium tour. Fortunately there were no illegal immigrants on the line to delay the crossing.
The squad was divided between three cars with Nico travelling by train from London.
Alan with Geoff, Andy P and James. Dave with Andy S, Matt and Bob. Pete with Matt, Apps and Bill.
Pete had a roof box for the kit while Dave reserved space for a haul of silverware.
The whole of Belgium was on full alert for the imminent arrival of Bob.
All agreed that this was already the best tour ever.
The hotel and weather were very pleasant. Pete arrived first, then Nico, Alan and Dave. Time for a beer in the shade.
Some mad Englishmen were spotted playing football.
Nico and Alan met up with "Do-do" who claimed Grenoble, the defending champions, would outclass Harwell.
Harwell were given the place of honour next to the stage.
Grenoble were confident of retaining the trophy. This one was wearing a chapeau de paille and wielded a fork. A French peasant look-a-like competition began.
The organisers had thought of everything: this was the first tour sponsored by a brewery and there was even ice cream for the kids.
The illusionist's glamorous assistant could not conjure up a smile.
Strangely, there are many photos of the exotic dancer. The team leaders have to perform many official duties on tour.
The football draw required a cigar, champagne and a steady knee.
Bizarrely, Harwell was drawn completely by random by Geoff and the Full Monty does not translate well into Flemish.
The Master of Ceremonies (our old friend Eddy) displayed the ultimate prize in football - recently restored to full glory after a spell in the Saclay toilets.
Dave reckoned there's ample space in the boot.
Harwell had only 13 players aged from 20 to 60 so everyone had to play their part.
Bob applied deep massage to Dave's calf to a cacophony of painful yelps. Cissy Wimp.
Harwell entered the scene of past glories.......
..... the spot where Paul Nixon broke Geoff's fingers before the first game of the 1999 tour
..... and the hallowed woods where Ian Behling chundered all day.
First up were newcomers, CEA Valduc, who were unaware of the traditional pre-match exchange of gifts.
Harwell battled hard but were frustrated and left bemused.
The first half was a close fought contest until ....
..... Bob playing left back brought down the Valduc winger on edge of the box.
A black mark was entered against the Fair Play Trophy when Bob arguing with the ref.
Foxy in goal had no chance.
Harwell raised their game in the second half.
Matt's shot was saved, Dave was substituted by Alan for last 10 mins and James hit the post.
Final score was Valduc 2 Harwell 0. Geoff did not play this game.
Harwell took cover in the trees to contemplate the league permutations.
A forlorn Andy P watched how goals are celebrated on the continent.
Winning the next game was paramount.
Grenoble A, the current champions, tried to bribe us with a unimpressive miniature chartreuse.
Unfortunately there are no action photos of this match. Geoff in goal and Foxy right back. Matt scored a looping goal from the left edge of the 6 yard box. James tried a lob from the right which bounced off the crossbar. Harwell were eager to put this fixture to bed by constant pressure. The Fair Play consolation Trophy was no longer attainable when Bob pointed out to the ref that Grenoble should not take a quick throw with their own ball "I know the rules, you have to use the match ball".
Final score was Harwell 1 Grenoble A 0. Apps and Alan did not play. The reigning champions left heads down after failing to have a shot on target.
Harwell crawled back into the shade while Dave eyed up the local talent.
Crunch match next. Now was the time to get serious.
Two quotes between matches.
Bob: "Get up you diving get, you did that to me, cheating bugger"
Alan: "Looks like a weight watchers convention".
Were the “Suprice” team there to make up the numbers or could the organisers enlist a bunch of ringers?
Sadly there are no photos of the match. Matt scored the winner which put Harwell into the quarter final. Job done.
Final score: Harwell 1 Suprice 0. Time for a quick beer and finish off Chris Hoy's packed lunch. Thanks Chris.
Unaccustomed to warm summer evenings, the team wandered down to the center of Retie where a bar had been spied the day before.
This was followed by a BBQ at the hotel and meeting up with Colin Hendry still wearing Gazza's England shirt.
The endless beating of drums, bashing even bigger drums and shrill whistles drove a veteran to the brink of madness.
Bob and Geraint had challenged Colin's Grenoble team to a boat race. Harwell were slightly behind after Geoff, in penultimate position, had downed his drink. This left Andy P to demolish the winning glass in milliseconds: he's a qualified diver accustomed to a face full of murky liquid.
Harwell returned to the party when Bob reached the 12th verse of "On Ilkley moor bah tat".
Later in the evening, Danny our host, brought the team leaders to the front for a quiet rant.
"I've given you a cheap hotel. Good football. Do not bring your own drinks to the party". This was prefaced by some inventive swearing.
Grenoble had brought their own spirits, beers, coke and soft drinks and wanted to use the hotel's glasses.
Grenoble then left for Eindhoven for a night of bars and girls returning noisily in the early hours.
Perhaps Harwell beating the defending champion's A team and then during a boat race was the final straw.
Time for some more deafening drums and dancing. Bill was granted a birthday treat.
There was none stop music, some old geezers dancing and Andy S rehearsing his goal celebrations.
Woop - Woop - Woop - Woop - Sexy Lady
The Harwell beauty contest.
The inevitable consequences were a sleepless night for Geraint as Bill and Matt took turns to heave into the toilet.
JET always plays best on tour after a heavy session.
The Quarter Final against the hosts Belgoprocess.
We had some comical moments before a goal was conceded. A crashing shot from a tight angle.
Now for some hard graft.
Harwell were 2-0 down at half time so Belgoprocess decided to rest their best player. We shuffled the pack by subbing Nico with Bob.
Geraint avoided a late penalty disaster with a flaccid left leg.
The Harwell late comeback resulted in a goal by Andy S but the final score was Belgoprocess 2 Harwell 1. We were now relegated to the dull lower place play-offs.
Painful experience shows that penalties have upset many English teams - now was a good time for some serious practice.
Enough pratting around, let the Bob-mister show you how it's done up North ........ Ecky Thump!
Next match was against Grenoble B with our mate Colin Hendry for the 5th to 8th play-off.
Sadly there are no photos showing Harwell dominating the game. Matt scored and Andy S hit another 2. Geoff in goal did not touch the ball in the second half.
Final score was Harwell 3 Grenoble B 0.
Harwell now earned the right to play in the KFC Dessel 2nd division stadium which was too large for Alan's camera.
Cathleen's website address was noted for future reference.
One more grope of Dave's calf before the big match.
Now for the 5th - 6th play-off against Nuclea. Must not get intimidated by the big occasion.
The match was a pitiful performance with 5 simple tap in goals. The 6th was Bob's slice into the top left corner followed by a goal celebration.
The worst score line in tour history. Nuclea 6 - Harwell 0.
Where did it all go wrong?
On the positive side, Geoff and Bob were invited to the VIP reception in the Director's suite. Champagne and canapés in a sound proof room with a pianist. Met the boss, boss's boss, director and sponsors. Loads of drink and table top dancers away from the rowdy hoi-polloi. Just as well we did not make the final.
The hosts Belgoprocess won the final. They scuppered our campaign by selecting from a full squad who went home early to bed.
We had just 13 travel weary warriors.
Time to relax in a different cafe bar with some Belgium premium beer and a game of chance. Plus more beers.
Another couple of beers before the evening entertainment with a proper magician.
Matt was voted the players' player. Andy S and Matt tied on top scorer with 3 each so Andy was presented the trophy. James did not score on this tour but hit the woodwork and setup some goals.
Bill kept the beers flowing while Saclay provided the precious chartreuse.
Another disco band for the all-male hall followed by fire breathing Danny. Geoff and Pete were sprayed by unburnt lighter fuel ready for ignition.
Did anyone notice the charred ceiling? Where's the fire certificate?!
The fair exchange of the tour whisky for the 6th place trophy. Plus Geoff gate-crashing the Belgoprocess winners photo. Valduc could put their trophy in their back pocket.
A tight fit for Bob.
Danny gave Harwell a 1.5l bottle of Chimay beer since we were very close in the Fair Play Cup.
The prize was given to Chris Hoy as a memento of the tour.
Nico had a slow journey home with time in Brussels to remember the tournament sponsors.
Bob's physio work on Dave's left calf had successfully taken his mind of his blistered heels.
To sum up
Harwell beat the reigning champions on the field of play (A and B teams) and in the boat race.
The eventual winners, Belgoprocess, knocked us out in the Quarter Finals 2-1.
We lost 1-0 to the bottom team Valduc.
Good food, great hotel, low price, sunshine, challenging football, large stadium, dancing girls and sponsored by a brewery.
Our old friends, Danny and Belgoprocess, like JET - Harwell so much that they want to visit June 2014.
Fair Play Award
KFKI Budapest (3rd place)
Harwell Top Scorers
Matt and Andy Steer 3 goals each.
Bob one own goal in the stadium - where better to score the last goal of the tour?
Saturday 8th June 2013
Sunday 9th June 2013
Play-off for 5th to 8th
Final for 5th and 6th
Contact me Geoff.Broughton@hotmail.co.uk