The VCG (Vientiane Cricket Ground), home of the Lao Elephants, and its famous Grandstand
If you’re into omens, the omens were not good. Last minute cancellations to the Swannies’ inaugural tour to Vientiane, Laos, included Griz, Nathan, Shannon, Fabbo, Matty Johns, Muzza and Hanoi’s Pied Piper, Micky Francis.
Excuses ranged from the mandatory broken toe nail to having “just had a fight with my husband”. Then, Shannon turned in a blinder: he lost his passport the day before, scored a replacement complete with Laos visa, got to the airport and was knocked back by Immigration because he didn’t have a re-entry visa! Unheard of.
Clearly, it’s not just the Swannies who are stuck on Shannon as the poor man was denied the right by his Vietnam hosts to leave them for just one night (“Ah well, it’ll make him hungrier for the Champs”, said a few of the wise, old heads around the Club).
The touring Swans were now down to 10 players. Luckily, Micky Francis had played his tune a week earlier and two backpackers from his Hanoi Backpackers’ Hostel had travelled on to Laos and were now planted in Vientiane - where a throng of locals had already gathered to listen to them grow.
On Super Saturday Match Day, the Lao Elephants very generously loaned another two locals to the Swans which took our numbers up to a total of 14 (10 on the paddock, 4 on the bench).
It was all good for the Swans who went on to win against a very competitive Lao Elephants, 80pts to 55pts.
The local press delighted in listening to the roar of the crowd at each of Sam Grigg’s goals and the following day screamed (in the French newspaper, Le Laos), Sammy Snags Seven for the Swans! and (Laos’ Footy Almanac, the Footy Annual), Grigg Boots Goals Galore!
Despite the Swans agreeing in advance that there would be no coach, after the victory, Super Savvy Scotty Stacey was awarded the Coaching Cap so that he could blemish his perfect score, until this match, of zero victories in the Coach’s Box. Scotty is already etching it into the Club’s folklore as the Vientiane Victory.
As expected, it was a huge weekend and many thanks to the Lao Elephants for their hospitality.
It was just the second home game for the Elephants and it was the Swans first ever victory on the road. We’re two young clubs having a crack. Last year, with the support of 6 guys from Laos, the Vietnam Swans had their inaugural appearance at the Champs. This year, the Laos Elephants will do the same. How good is that, Mr Umpire???
A full Swans report will follow in due course. For those requiring more specific information right now, log on to the Lao Elephant’s website which has already posted a match report.