13:00ish First down to the Chiang Mai All Stars ground was Coach Dave, Coach Tom and Dtun the Destroyer! Closely followed by our brand spanking new coach, Ian, having a look see at the team and how we work before getting stuck in at practice in the new year!
Slowly the players sifted in through the gates and onto the pitch having a little run around to sweep away the cobwebs.
14:00 all players were present and accounted for. Another new face could be seen in the midst of the Lions team; Ari, a stocky unit from NZ. In any case, it was time for the team that had been called out not 5 minutes prior to take to the pitch!
Chiang Mai All Stars Vs Lanna Rugby Club
Iain ‘The Dark Lord’ (Prop), Dave (Hooker, Captain), Sanny ‘Deckers’ (Prop), Fitz (2nd Row), Brave (2nd Row), Opart “O” (No. 8), Mikey (Scrum Half), Oli (Fly Half), Stanton (Centre), Michael (Wing), Aaron (Wing), Dtun ‘The Destroyer’ (FullBack)
Tom ‘Stubs’, Simon ‘Twinkle Toes’, Chris, Ari
After a brief chat between the officials, Pat and Trevor, along with the coaches from the All Stars and Lanna it was decided we’d play 12 aside; 15 Mins x 2 halves, with a possible 3rd half if everyone is up for it!
Once Dave (who is acting captain yet again to lead our lerry men into battle) had returned from the toss Lions turn to kick to the All Stars. As per usual, just prior to kick off all the players gathered round Dave bound up tightly in a circle just before Coach Dave called it out, “LANNA ON 3, LANNA ON 3 . . . 1, 2, 3 ”
HOOF!, Oli was kicking today, put up a lovely high kick for the Mighty Lions speed merchants to run for. Alas the pressure wasn’t enough to disrupt the Chiang Mai All Stars player who caught it easily, even with the Lions running them down, applying pressure. This was a very different squad to what we’d seen prior. For a start this team looked drilled. They retained the ball, moving it from one side to the next, it didn’t take long for the All Stars to find a gap, slotting a player through the Lions defence. 5-0 to the home side!
Once again Oli put up a high long ball. This time the pressure worked, forcing them to make an error, Scrum down Blue ball! With Dave spearheading the pack it wasn’t long before LRC had the ball by O’s feet. Dave shouting the players to keep driving a metre or too further just before Mikey picked up and fired the ball out to Oli who then shipped it to Stanton. Stanton hit contact with Iain and Dave in support. Mikey at the break down saw Fitz to the right. Fitz decided this was his time to shine. Dodging one, two then three players as he went on a looping run round and down the right wing. Unfortunately no one was with him in support to pop the ball to. The All Stars winger tackled him and set the Lions up for another ruck.
Iain, Dave, Brave went over, Mikey at the back foot of the ruck. Passed the ball to Oli, who went for a darting run before the ball had worked its way to Stanton. He went on a huge smashing run, through one, two, three men, knocking them down like bowling pins. He’d broken the defence, all there was left to do was get to the try line and put the ball down. Excellent work Stanton finally getting the Mighty Lions some points on the scoreboard, 5-5 a piece!
After that storming run Stanton had earned a breather . . .
CENTRE Stanton OFF / Stubs ON
Lanna Rugby Club prepared for receiving. The All Stars put up a high ball, O caught it! Now it was time to show the All Stars what we are made of. Opart went for a run making 5 metres before hitting contact and dropping to the deck. Dave and Iain were there rucking over. Mikey got to the ball, and passed it to Sanny waiting to the left. Deckers soon hit contact, driving them back a bit before making a new ruck. Fitz and Brave were in the mix, Dave back into the ruck with Iain wanting the ball. Mikey flicked it up to him, The Dark Lord ripping them a new one with his strong hard running. Before he went down he managed to pop the ball left, to Oli who was screaming for the ball. He made it round a player before seeing stanton in the corner of his eye. Boom! Stanton going on another run, with Michael on his tail. The ball now on the left wing.
A ruck commenced. Brave and Deckers were there for support Mikey made the breakdown, Seeing Michael cutting a line from the wing heading for the centre mark, Mikey passed him the ball. Michael stretching his legs, dancing round a couple of players before hitting the ground. Dave as always, made the break down, along with Brave and Fitz. Mikey got the ball out to Opart, who went for another of his dazzling little runs. Passed the ball out to Oli who went for another little run, taking it down the wing. Oli saw Arron on his right, passed the ball out to him. Alas, the opposition were right in our face. As soon as Oli had given him the ball, he’d been smashed into touch. Line Out All Stars Ball.
The All Stars won the line out and began to make their advance. Brave and Fitz put in some huge tackles, along with Dave and Iain knocking them back for ten. The onslaught didn’t slow. They kept working it through their hands. slowly opening up the Lions defence. You could just see how accustomed they were to 7’s with even the props pulling off some silky lines and ball work. Eventually they broke the Lions defence yet again. 10-5 to the All Stars.
Lions kicked to the Home team again. The All Stars got the ball and again began to move forwards with vigor. They’d made it to the halfway mark but couldn’t move much further as the Lions had had enough, putting more pressure upon the flailing All Stars players. The Chiang Mai All Stars got the ball from the back of the ruck and started moving the ball out wide. The Lions back line moved forwards in a strong line applying pressure. Stubs all of a sudden began to dart forwards, there was a gap in their defence. as the ball was passed he applied pressure to the receiver. Again, similar to at the Bears ground, the ball was dropped, bounce off the floor and comfortably into Stubs hands who then just had to run for the try line, evading the fullback for yet another TRY. 10-10 level pegging.
Lions received the kick once more. The ball went towards The Dark Lord . . . bounced off his chest and the All Stars player recovered it only to knock on. Scrum down Red ball. Chiang Mai All Stars won the scrum and as always started to weave the ball between themselves. Lions players were pushed into their own 10. body after body being committed to tackles and rucks. Dtun flying in taking them down, as was Oli, Deckers, Dave, Brave, Fitz, Opart, Aaron, Michael. Absolutely every player was doing their utmost to keep the All Stars at bay. After holding the All Stars back for some time now, they found the gap and pushed their men over the line for a third try. 15-10 to the All Stars.
Whistle blew for halftime. Time to get some water on board!
PROP – Sanny OFF / Ari ON
CENTRE – Stubs OFF / Stanton ON
This half Lanna Lions received the kick. Dave caught the ball and took it for a little run, smashing into contact, driving the opposition back with Ari and Brave in support. Mikey got the ball off dave and shipped it to Ari who went on a daring little run, taking on a big All Stars. The ball went through a few good phases of ball. The Dark Lord having a run out, Brave and Opart constantly giving the All Stars problems with rucking. However, the ball was finally overturned, time for CM All Stars to have a go. It wasn’t long until Chiang Mai All Stars managed to find some space out wide, they whipped the ball around and found a gap down our left wing storming home a well worked try. 20-10 to the All Stars.
WING Arron OFF/ Chris ON
All Stars receiving, Oli kicked and off the Lions went once more. Oli, Dave, Mikey and Stanton rushing to the player receiving. BOOM! Stanton adn Dave took him out. The ball went bobbling backwards. Mikey and Oli got there, recovered the ball and prepared for a ruck. Brave and Iain made it to support. Stanton acted scrum half as Mikey was on the ground. He saw Opart to his right, coming in hard, popped the ball up to him. Opart smashed through the defence and set up for another ruck. Ari and Dave were there to ruck over. Mikey made it to this break down, saw Oli shouting for it. Olis shipped it out to Stanton who was steamrolling, he caught the ball in his stride, pushing the players out of the way like a hurricane tearing down trees. 10, 5, try time!! Stanton finally forcing himself over that try line, 20-15
CENTRE Stanton OFF / Stubs ON
Lions received. the Lions became a bit of a shambles. Even though we were up the structure and organisation had waned. We dropped a couple of balls, the communication wasn’t there. The All Stars inevitably got the ball through knock on. LRC were back on the defensive, tackling players left and right, trying to hold the All Stars back. Mikey went in for a flying tackle. MAN DOWN! Mikey had taken a big knock, albeit playing some great rugby. Might be time for him to take a little rest. Time for our secret weapon . . .
SCRUM HALF Mikey OFF / Simon ON
Michael was also spitting feathers, gasping for his breath . . .
WING Michael OFF / Aaron ON
Even with the fresh legs we had our backs to the wall. The All Stars were again in our 5, pushing constantly. Luckily for us they dropped the ball. Scrum down Blue ball. Our pack forced them off the ball yet again. Mikey popped the ball to Oli who slotted a kick out get that ball as far away from the Lions try line as possible. Line out Red ball. As Lann Rugby Club haven’t had the focus on lineouts in practice, the All Stars won yet another lineout, ran the ball through a few hands, ran hard at our line. After driving hard, with Lanna Lions keeping them out for so long, another try was on the books as our defence gave way. 25-15 All Stars.
Soon enough the whistle blew and if was the end of the second half.
After a stressy and tiring second half, but only one try down, everyone decided another half can and will be played!
PROP Ari OFF (Simon to Prop) / Mikey ON (Scrum Half)
2ND ROW Fitz OFF Stanton ON
Lions kicked to All Star once more. Our organisation was back baby! The Lions put heaps of pressure on the All Stars. We managed to make them fumble the ball. Scrum down Blue ball. Mikey got the ball out to Oli from the scrum, he popped the ball to Stubs, made a lovely little loop round creating a beautiful overlap. Stubs saw Olion the war path and popped the ball up to his right. Oli caught the ball with ease, danced round the All Stars player no bother as he sprinted full pelt for the try line! BOOM! Top work Oli, only one try in it, 25-20.
WE’RE STILL IN IT!!!
. . . . Or so we thought.
After that cheeky well worked try, the Lions were officially out of gas!
Try after try the All Stars kept putting past our spattered defence. Super Dtun was on top form and came flying in for a huge crunching tackle, however this time he may have come off a little worse for ware, literally knocking the wind out of him.
30, 35, 40, and finally 45-20. They were the better team on the day, cardio being the major killer.
We tunneled and cheers for Chiang Mai All Stars and the referees for a thoroughly great game, and finally, we cheered ‘The Big Dick Boys’.
Final Score line: CAS 45 – 20 LRC
TRIES: 4 CONVERSIONS: N/A
Stanton 2, Stubs 1, Oli 1
Men of the Match:
After much deliberation, the Man of the Match goes to two players that showed outstanding quality in yesterday’s game against the All Stars.
For his constant ‘up and at ’em’ attitude, always at the break downs, taking the ball in to contact on multiple occasions and getting stuck in with tackling whenever he could. Top work!
You’d never have guess it was his first time at fly half with his quick thinking and back line organisational skills. Cutting some nice lines too and scoring a lovely worked try, ,icing on the cake.
After the match, as per usual, the Lions faithful reconvened at our club house A.K.A. Sheryles Bar and Restaurant for a much needed pint or two.
Ian, a brand spanking new coach for Lanna Rugby Club, came to see how we played, then came out later to see how we drink!! Bang on!
Mikey put in a great display, making it to pretty much every break down, and putting in a top defensive performance.
Stanton, Dave, Iain, Ian, Oli, Tom and the referee, Trevor, all made it out for post match drinks!