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Islanders look to trek the Elephants after Stallions rein in Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Islanders look to trek the Elephants after Stallions rein in Phuket | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Hungry for a win, Phuket FC are on the road this weekend, having bused it up to the area near the Cambodian border to take on Yamaha League One (YL1) newcomers, Trat FC tonight.

The match, to be played at Trat city’s Central Sports Stadium with a 6pm kickoff, will be broadcast live on Siam Sports cable channel 114, and is both sides’ 12th match of a 34-fixture season.

Fans in Phuket can catch all the live action on the big screen at Nok Sanarm Sports Cafe, across the street from Surakul Stadium on Wichit Songkhram Road.

Additionally, loyal Phuket FC expat supporters club the “Mushy Peas” will meet at Washy’s at the Tropical Sands Guest House in Rawai, where the match will also be aired on the big screen.

Going into the match, Phuket are in 5th place of the 18-team YL1 league, while their opponents, Trat, nicknamed the “White Elephants” are in 10th.

Trat FC were promoted from the second division, having finished runners up (behind champions Ayutthaya FC) in the AIS Division 2 promotion playoffs last year.

Of the last five matches, both sides have claimed six points – winning one, drawing three and losing one. The team that both sides lost to was top-of-the-table Air Force United.

Unfortunately, Phuket’s leading scorer, Brazilian striker, Luiz Eduardo Purcino (6 goals), better known as Dudu, will be benched due to a leg injury he picked up in last week’s match against Rayong (see below), with the club’s Facebook announcing that Dudu will not play.

Fans need not panic, as Brazilian midfielder Judinho, Japanese defender, Yusuke Sato veteren Ivorian defender, Nenebi, as well as speedy Thai striker Chana Sonwiset, were all confirmed to be on the bus to Trat.

Other YL1 matches scheduled this evening, May 25:

  • 14 Royal Navy vs 3 Bangkok @ GorMor 5 Stadium in Satahib
  • 1 AirForce vs 15 Rayong Utd @ Thuptemee Stadium, Rangsit
  • 8 BBCU vs 9 Nakhon Pathom Utd @ Army Stadium, Bkk
  • 13 Si Racha vs 16 TTM FC @ Suzuki Stadium

and for Sunday, May 26:

  • 12 Khon Kaen vs 6 Korat @ OrBorJor Stad Khon Kaen
  • 4 Sing Tha Reua vs 2 PTT Rayong @ Pat Stadium in Klong Toei
  • 18 Rayong FC vs 7 Krabi @ Rayong Sports Stadium
  • 11 Gulf Saraburi vs 17 Ayutthaya at OrBorJor Saraburi Stadium

Phuket FC reined in by Rayong Stallions

The island’s soccer team, Phuket FC, let a two-nil lead at home slip away in a 2-2 draw against Yamaha League One (YL1) rivals, Rayong FC, last Saturday evening in Phuket Town.

The match, both sides 11th of the 34-fixture YL1 2013 season, was played in front of a crowd of 2,753 (not counting several hundred children and youth admitted for free), at Phuket’s Surakul Stadium on Wichit Songkhram Road.

The crowd, dominated by green, red and black-shirted home fans, also included a contingent numbering in the dozens of yellow and blue clad Rayong fans, who had bused it down from the Eastern Seaboard province the previous evening.

Rayong is a 13-15 hour bus ride, about 1,000 kilometers from Phuket.

Going into the match joint 5th (with BBCU) in the 18-team league, Phuket – players, fans and staff alike – were expecting nothing short of victory against newly promoted, (and bottom of the table) Rayong, nicknamed the Wild Horses.

Following the less-than-spectacular opening exchanges, the Islanders took the lead in the 30th minute, through a spot kick by midfielder Geoffrey Doumeng.

On the other side of the pitch, Korean striker Kunsik Choi proved somewhat of a nuisance for Phuket’s defenders, but Ivorian stalwart Nenebi Slyvester, along with dependable Japanese defender Yusuke Sato were able to eliminate any real threat for hometown-hero keeper, Kamphon.

Phuket’s leading scorer, Brazilian striker Luiz “Dudu” Eduardo failed to threaten Rayong’s backs or their keeper, Phuket native Leuchar Jantawong, who was once a reserve Phuket keeper.

The home fans’ mood was high as Phuket went in to the half time with a lead of 1-0.

In the second half, Dudu was subbed for what appeared to be a minor injury, and replaced by Georgian forward, Giorgi.

The substitution proved to be a smart move, with Giorgi doubling his side’s lead just seven minutes into the second half; an unmarked Giorgi converted a beautiful cross from Doumeng, sending the fans into a frenzy; victory seemed
almost certain at that point…almost.

The Wild Horses went on the attack and the home side had no choice but to adapt to a defensive formation to ward off a determined Rayong side, who dominated possession.

The visitor’s attacking front finally paid off in the 73rd minute with a goal by Cameroonian defender Henri Walther, who converted a well-placed corner kick to score from his position in the center of the area.

Phuket were unable to retake control of the match, but held on to their lead up to the end of 90-minute regulation.

To the dismay of home fans, the equalizer came three minutes into the five minutes allocated for injury time, through Rayong’s Nattawut Khamrin.

Positioning himself at the end of a perfectly-weighted cross into the area, Nattawut diligently penetrated a tired Phuket defensive line, prompting the visitors’ bench to explode as though they had just won the World Cup.

Phuket dug deep trying to find a last minute winner, and an on-target shot by Doumeng, who was subsequently voted Man of the Match, looked promising, but it went straight into the gloves of Rayong’s Phuket-born keeper, Leuchar.

The single point might as well have been three points as far as the away supporters were concerned, with fans lighting red celebratory flares in tribute to their second-half comeback.

Despite a mood of defeat overcoming the disappointed home fans, the draw and its point did ensure that Phuket remain in fifth place, now with 18 points, seven points behind league leaders Air Force United.

Other YL1 results from last weekend are as follows:

  • Air Force Utd 2 – 1 Saraburi
  • PTT Rayong 0 – 0 Khon Kaen
  • Bangkok FC 3 – 1 Si Racha
  • TTM 2 – 1 BBCU
  • Nakhon Pathom 5 – 2 Rayong Utd
  • Ayutthaya 2 – 2 Trat
  • Korat 5 – 0 Royal Navy
  • Krabi 1 – 0 Singtharua

Keep checking our online Phuket Sports pages or join our Facebook fan page for the latest local, national and international sporting news.

— Steven Layne

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Phuket. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands

Greeley Pulitzer



30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands | The Thaiger

Tourists were treated to the sight of a school of dolphins in the Similan Islands off the Phang Nga coast on Sunday.

Tour organisers said that around 30 dolphins swam close to the boat six or seven miles offshore, creating excitement for passengers. It was the first time dolphins had been seen in the vicinity since October 15.

The Similan Islands National Park director said they were bottlenose dolphins and were among several species now returning to the area following a five-year closure of the park for environmental rehabilitation. Food is again plentiful there for them, he said.

Tourists are forbidden to feed wildlife lest the free handouts alter the animals’ natural behaviour, and the park’s waters are also very sensitive to contamination from human disease and marine debris, according to the director.


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Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms

The Thaiger



Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | The Thaiger

by Sophie Deviller

Hotels on Thailand’s most popular holiday island are being forced to slash prices, with rooms left vacant and beaches sparse as Thailand’s tourism chiefs struggle with a plunge in Chinese visitors caused by the US trade war and a stronger baht. Phuket was the most visited destination in the country last year, after Bangkok, and a good gauge of the state of its crucial travel industry.

Tourism accounts for 18% of Thailand’s gross domestic product and Chinese holidaymakers make up more than a quarter of total arrivals. But while 2.2 million people from the country visited in 2018, according to official figures, the numbers for January-September were down almost 20% year on year.

Claude de Crissey, the French Honorary Consul in Phuket and owner of about 40 rooms in the Patong Beach area, says Chinese tourists are usually present even during the current low season.

“That was not the case this year,” he said, adding he had to lower his prices by as much as 50%.

The problem is not only in Phuket, with hotels also struggling to fill rooms in the seaside resort of Pattaya on the mainland and on Koh Samui.

Trade tensions with the US have already made some Chinese reluctant to take holidays owing to uncertainty back home, while the Thai baht has risen about 10% against the yuan this year.

A boating disaster off Phuket’s coast that killed 47 Chinese holidaymakers in July 2018 also scared some off.

“We are worried,” said an industry insider, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the topic in a country where tourism provides tens of thousands of jobs. Adding to the headache is the fact that more than 3,000 new hotel rooms are being constructed on the island, raising the question of who will fill them.

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

“In terms of business, it’s not good,” said Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, vice-president of the association of hotels in Thailand and director of Vijitt Resort.

“Because … we have more hotels, more rooms to sell, we have more restaurants, more coffee shops.”

Still, tourism authority chairman Yuthasak Supasorn said he remained “optimistic.”

“We should reach our goal of 39.8 million foreign visitors.”

However, that is only up from 38.2 million in 2018, much less than the jump seen from the previous year’s total of 35.6 million.

Counting on India

Now hoteliers and tour package operators are targeting visitors from elsewhere, particularly India, which experts see as a huge untapped market.

A rapid expansion of the middle class in India, increased direct flights and visa-free travel have prompted Thailand to revise forecasts upwards.

It now expects two million Indian tourists this year, after an increase of nearly 25% on-year in the first seven months. But for now, the lower arrivals is evident on the streets of Phuket.

“I’ve never seen anything as bad as what it is at the moment,” said Paul Scott from Australia, who said he has been coming to Thailand for 15 years.

He mainly blamed the stronger baht for the drop-off but also the fact that Thailand wasn’t the untouched vacation paradise it once was. “Now it’s not so new … and it’s not cheap,” he said.


Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

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The 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle fun run attracts more than 4,000 runners

The Thaiger



The 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle fun run attracts more than 4,000 runners | The Thaiger

4,000 runners from Thailand and overseas took part in the 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle Fun Run and Half Marathon 2019 yesterday, starting from the Phuket Gateway.

The event is expected to raise 700,000 baht for the charity, now in its 15th year. The money raised goes towards to The Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation, which is committed to protecting the marine and coastal environment, and ecosystems, for the wellbeing of sea turtles that nest in the Mai Khao beach and the surrounding areas.

The annual race also provides funds for thePhuket Marine Biological Centre’s Injured Turtle Rehabilitation Program and The Third NavalArea Command’s Turtle Hatchery Program.

The race was in its 15th year and runners of all ages and abilities took part in the race. The morning’s racing was divided into five categories – the 21.1km half marathon, 10.5km mini- marathon, 5km fun run and 3k family run and VIP participants for all the races. The route of 21.1 kilometre race took runners northwest along the Haad Sai Kaew beach towards Thao Thepkasattri bridge, past the rural road No. 3006, run along the road – Pi Lai viewpoint area returned back along the T. Baan Tha Nun to the iconic Sarasin bridge before finished the half marathon in the Phuket Gateway.

For Mini Marathon 10.5 km – Over all category, Mr. Chinnawat Changlek clocked 39 minutes and 40 seconds to clinch victory in the male half marathon, winning prize money and a trophy with the signature of Phuket’s Governor. The winner in the female mini marathon was Surakarn Wanna with a time of 47 minutes and 47 seconds.

Winners also received a prize gift voucher as well as a medal. Congratulations to all participants.

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