Soccer tournament scores 'golden goal' The 'beautiful game' drew pro and amateur footballers - their wives, girlfriends, children and domestic helpers in tow - to Stanley Fort on a fun-filled, sunny and cool day last Sunday. Along the way, they raised HK$1.06 million for Operation Santa Claus, a charity drive co-organised by the South China Morning Post. The amount raised was much more than the 'HK$500,000 to maybe HK$750,000' forecast by Brian Crockford, the volunteer organiser of the five-a-side football tournament, now in its 11th year. 'I was absolutely blown away. I am lost for words,' said Mr Crockford, of the real estate and facilities division of Microsoft Hong Kong, who knew the global financial crisis was hitting donor teams hard. 'This is quite staggering, particularly when you look at how much fun it is but still managing to generate so much revenue for this wonderful charity that supports it.' The 20 teams that took part comprised bankers, financial analysts, lawyers, accountants, realtors and insurance brokers, most of whom play soccer regularly. They were Goodfellas, Colliers, CB Richard Ellis, Linklaters, Royal Bank of Scotland (two teams), White & Case, Clifford Chance, Zentro, Prudential Asia Corp, Allen & Overy, HK Strollers, Merrill Lynch, Crown Worldwide, Jardine Ruby Murrays, Hong Kong Football Club, UBS, MMoser Associates, PricewaterhouseCoopers and JPMorgan Chase. The only team with 'pro' players was the Football Club, which fielded eight veterans, aged 35 to 50, said team member Michael Lonergan. The club won 4-0 against Colliers to achieve a 'three-peat' - three successive cups in a row, a first for the five-a-side. The Football Club volunteered to run the event and helped mark the four pitches used in the competition, held at a People's Liberation Army barracks. Colliers' much younger team - with members aged 22 to 25 - reached the final for the first time in two years. Jardine Ruby Murrays, which raised the highest amount at HK$190,000, took the plate from PricewaterhouseCoopers, to add to their two cup championships. 'We are happy to have won the plate, obviously we would have wanted to be in the cup. But most important was the sponsorship that we raised,' said captain Charlie Kitson. An exceptional HK$1.2 million was raised last year, amid boom times and on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the tournament. The amount raised this year exceeded the previous best, HK$750,000 in 2006. About 100 matches were played at the nine-hour event, including a competition for children. HK Football Academy beat Brazilian Soccer School to lift the cup in the tournament for the nine-year-olds, while DB Dragons beat Carmel for the plate. In the competition for the seven-year-olds, HKFC beat DB Dragons for the cup and HKFA beat Kellett School for the plate. Children took part in games and face painting, and some received toys distributed by 'Santa', or Keith Finucane of Clifford Chance. A stall by Cafe Deco Bar & Grill at the Peak served up food and drinks. Operation Santa Claus, now in its 21st year and co-organised by the Post and RTHK, will aid 13 groups. Some of the funds will also go to the Post's Homes for Hope project to help victims of the Sichuan earthquake rebuild their homes.