Similar to last weeks muddy encounter, this week was no different with rain drizzling down none stop for 3 days straight, the pitch now resembled more of a turkish mud bath than a pitch, alas, the show must go on!!!
Last week the Lions scored one try which shon out from the rest. It had come out of the hard work poured in at the rugby practices prior, coming in the first match against CMU after rucking through a few phases, then spinning it out to score a try. After a weekend off to rest and recover Tom and Dave, the head coaches, went through a simple rucking drill before the battles commenced to try and get the players into the same mind set of rucking and rucking and rucking on this boggy terrain before shipping out to the speed merchants Oli and Dtun.
A wonderful moment happened just before LRC were about to playing, a new player emerged from the sheets of drizzle, Araya, or Chef as Stanton lovingly called him. No boots?!!? no problem! Coach Tom gave him his boots and drove home for a spare pair.
Chiang Mai All Stars Vs Lanna Rugby Club
Team line up:
Iain (Prop), Opart (Prop), Dave (Hooker), Jonas (2nd Row), Fitz (2nd Row), Mikey (Scrum Half), Dan (Fly Half), Stanton (Centre), Dtun (Wing), Oli (Wing)
Simon (Prop), Ewan (Fly Half), Chef (Prop/2nd Row), Tom (Anywhere necessary)
Once again Dave was captaining the side for the day. He lead his team of merry men out, taking charge of the team whilst Tom hurried to find his boots!!
The whistle blew and off they went. The first half was a very scrappy affair. As much as Dave tried, the team was unorganised. When we had the ball it was going wide, not sticking to the game plan. However, when we did ruck, the All Stars couldn’t compete, as it turned out the size of the Lanna Lions pack is monstrous and unparalleled in power. All that been said, the All Stars had a couple of whippets on the wings, even though the ground was very boggy, and also because the ground was so boggy, they managed to fling the ball out wide on two occasions and put two tries and a conversion past the LRC. All Stars winning 12-0.
The whistle blew for half time which gave the captain time to reassess, restructure and reorganise our team.
Side note: Whilst this was happening, Tom appeared by the pitch, but was too bothered talking with a Thai man to bother helping with the rugby, or watching for that matter. Useless!
Our valiant players returned to ready for kick off. Ewan on for Mikey, Simon on for Iain and Chef on for Fitz. There was a new buzz about the players. For the entire second half we had the All Stars pinned into their own half. Dave was commanding the forward pack as Dan managed the back line.
Finally Tom trotted over after about 3 mins as an exasperated Oli waved him to come on for him. Just as soon as Tom had come on as wing, Jonas was feeling the strain, his ankle was knackered! Tom moved to 2nd Row, Fitz came on as wing.
All the Lions were switched on and working together as a team, slowly but surely they were gelling together. Winning scrums, then going through phase after phase of rucks. Pushing the All Stars players back, not giving them an inch to move. So much so that some of the opposition started arguing with the referee. We had them rattled!! After driving the All Stars back so much, tiring them out, some how they got the ball and kicked it over towards Dtun on the left wing. Dtun had the ball, tackled, Dave and Simon over, Dan acting scrum half passed the ball to stanton and he was away, a chundering rhinoceros heading with full force for the try line. T R Y!! A knackered Stanton gave the ball to Dan who managed to slot home a conversion on this dismal soggy pitch. 12 – 7.
As soon as the conversion had been kicked it was full time!! The Lions gathering to clap off Chiang Mai All Stars and the referee who had a great game himself.
Even though we lost, that second half Lanna Rugby Club had dominated. The first leg down, next time we face them, things will be different!
Final Score line: CAS 12 – 7 LRC
TRIES: 1 Stanton CONVERSIONS: 1 Dan
Lanna Rugby Club Vs Chiang Mai University
Team line up:
Iain (Prop), Opart (Prop), Dave (Hooker), Tom (2nd Row), Chef (2nd Row), Dan (Scrum Half), Mikey (Fly Half), Stanton (Centre), Dtun (Wing), Oli (Wing)
Simon (Prop), Ewan (Fly Half), Fitz (Wing/2nd Row)
LRC played back to back games, so the players had to make do with a quick 20 min recovery break before getting stuck right back in!
Dave won the toss and opted to kick off the match. Dan kicked off, unfortunately sliced it and we returned to the centre for a scrum. Dave was controlling the pack, Ready, Ready, Ready, DRIVE, 2, 3, DRIVE, 2, 3. We turned the ball and won possession!! Time and again we took the ball in, rucking over. Alas, similar to before, the ball was been spun out much too soon, ball lost, and CMU had possession once more.
The CMU players are all young guns, with loads of endurance, so whenever they got the ball they’d spin the ball out and run at us finding the gaps. Eventually one player burst through our defensive line, running the whole pitch, scoring a quality full length try. 5-0 to Chiang Mai University.
The Lions picked up their heads, this time we showed no mercy. CMU kicked to us, Iain Caught the ball and started charging at the opposition knocking them down like skittles. He went to ground, Dave and Opart cleared out, Dan picked the ball and popped it to Chef, down for another ruck. Tom over, Mikey picking up, passing to Stanton who ran hard into the opposition with support. Oli and Dtun were looping in, finding the ball as well. Everything we’d been practicing towards was slowly showing. This continued, ruck after ruck, Dave and Tom shouting, controlling the game play, Finally the coaches realised, the team was finally gelling and working as a unit! The Half Time whilst blew just in time for Dave to build the players up for second half.
Ewan came on for Stanton, Fitz came on for Oli.
Chiang Mai University kicked to LRC. Dave caught the ball, all of a sudden there was a shift in the dynamic, every player for the Lions were in sync, communicating, working together. The forwards begun to work in units, ruck after ruck. Dave ran in supported by Tom and Opart, Dan popped the ball to Tom who ran in with support from Iain and Dan. Ewan passed the ball to Dave circling the same phase again, going through 5 phases of rucks, Mikey got the ball, passed to Dan, who then decided it was time Ewan was passed the ball. He shot off down the blind side on the left. It may have been boggy but he was lightning fast, dodging the on coming tacklers, 1, 2, 3, then only 10 more metres before T-R-Y! Diving in the mud for obvious effect! 5-5 even stevens!
We worked it all again, the forwards taking the ball in time and again, and the backs too started to get the jist, running the ball back in towards our forwards so we could push further up the pitch. The entire second half was played constantly in the CMU 10. Phase after phase of excellent driving and rucking work from Opart, Chef, Dave and Iain. Mikey, Dan and Ewan working together. Fitz and Dtun were cycling in, receiving the ball off the rucks, as LRC continued to work the middle of the pitch battering the CMU players with hard heavy hits and tiring rucks.
LRC received a penalty in their 22. Dan popped the ball to Tom who ran hard, hitting contact, driving for a couple of metres. As he went to ground Tom popped the ball up to the Dark Lord (Iain). Iain kept pushing, falling over the try line but still no try. This turned into a ruck.Mikey retrieved the ball and passed to Dave, with driving support from Opart and Chef. Mikey at the ruck, passed the ball to Ewan, on to Dan, and then Fitz, round the last man, sprinting for his life to the try line and . . . BOOM!! Fitz did it again, another well worked try putting the Lions back in front, but only just! 10 – 5 to Lions.
After that awesome effort from Fitz, he was subbed off and Simon came on as a wing in his place, even though was absolutely cream crackered. However, a couple of minutes later he was definitely happy to be back on. The LRC pack was back at it, rucking down the centre of the pitch, one after the other, the forwards smashing the CMU team back into their own 22 yet again. 7 phases later we are in front of the posts for a ruck. Mikey has the ball, we have an overlap to the left. He whips the ball out to Ewan, Ewan to Dan. Dan sees a gap opening on the wing, it’s a god job Twinkle Toes Simon was on the wing and ready. He took the ball brilliantly, dodging round 2 CMU players before scoring an excellent try in the left corner! 15 – 5.
There was only 3 minutes left on the clock. Dan put up a huge kick, giving Tom enough time to take the defender clean out. Knock on! LRC ball yet again. Iain took the ball into contact with Dave and Opart just behind him, they cleared out the defence. Ewan passed to Tom who had Chef and Dan in support. Dave picked and ran hard at the defence. Time after Time the team kept this up, phase after phase ploughing down the defensive line, the backs coming in to drive and take the ball in to contact as well.
We were awarded a penalty right in front of the posts but decided on a scrum with less than a minute to go. Simon was knackered and managed to convince Stanton, who was equally broken, to come on as a wing. Good job he did too! The Lions pack once again won the scrum, Mikey on the ball passed to Ewan, to Dan then to Stanton who steamrolled in another try for the day! 20 -5.
Every Lion was knackered, the sound of the whistle blowing was a welcome relief. What an excellent match! Started rocky but in the end Lanna Rugby Club gelled and played some excellent rugby. Retaining the ball and using our backs wisely.
Both coaches were absolutely chuffed with every player. A man of the Match couldn’t be decided upon, everyone played out of their skins!!
Final Score line: LRC 20 – 5 CMU
TRIES: 1 Ewan, 1 Fitz, 1 Simon, 1 Stanton CONVERSIONS: 0
Man of the Match: EVERYONE!
After a few of the lads gathered at our regular watering hole, Sheryle’s Restaurant and Bar to celebrate an excellent day of rugby, then to Zoe In Yellow for a few beers put on by the club, and some cheeky shots. All, shortly before the Dark Lord took Ewan under his wings and showed him the ‘sights’ . . .