Today was the day of days! The Tri Club Cup Final was finally upon us. This week the Chiang Mai University pitch is where the Lions would take on the All Stars in a ‘winner takes all’ Finale!
First on the scene was Coach Tom, shortly followed by Mikey, Adolph and Fitz! The sun was beating down upon us as the mighty Lions slowly trickled in one by one. Coach Dave appeared with Dtun the Destroyer. A new player approached in the form of Louis, one of Brave’s mates from way back when, who hasn’t played rugger for some time nut is that really a problem? for we are . . . The Mighty Lions!
By 1:30pm the rest of the Lions had shown; Stanton and team photographer Charlie, Coach Ian the token Aussie, big man O, Deckers, Jonesy, the ever so nimble Oli and last but certainly by no means least, the forever present Twinkle Toes Simon. Our referee for the match had also shown up, Pat the Transcendent.
Once everyone had sorted themselves out (AKA had a dump and was now dressed in the correct attire) Coach Tom took the players through a steady jog and kinetic stretches, before the lads decided a throw around was called for.
Whilst the ball was been booted and tossed about, Coach Tom decided it was high time to go and say hello to the opposition. He set out on a ferociously light jog through the craggy wooded landscape which surrounded the CMU pitch. . . . whoow. . . whooooow . . . . CRACK!
“ARGHHH ARGH ARGH ARGH ARRGGH F*****G S****Y W******G S******D FOOT!” was something like what came out of his mouth following what could only be described as a dumb f**k move, spraining his ankle merely minutes before the onslaught that soon prevailed.
After hobbling over, saying hello, then hobbling back to the team. Pat tried fixing his ankle by wrapping it up as tightly as possible (If only the magic sponge was about as it was forever present back in the day). It was soon decided Coach Tom would have to sit out of this momentous battle.
Charlie, the team photographer, was on hand and took a fantastic shot of the team before the match got underway. The Dark Lord even came over from Wales to support the team. Unfortunately he couldn’t play this time round though.
By 2:30pm the All Stars had 10 players and were ready to get this show on the road!
Chiang Mai All Stars Vs Lanna Rugby Club
Opart ‘O’ (Prop) , Dave (Hooker, Co- Captain), Simon ‘Twinkle Toes’ (Prop), Fitz (2nd Row), Brave (2nd Row), Mikey (Scrum Half), Oli (Fly Half), Stanton (Centre), Michael ‘Adolph’ (Right Wing), Dtun ‘The Destroyer’ (Left Wing)
Aaron ‘Jonesy’, Sanny ‘Deckers’, Louis
Dave, Ian the token Aussie
Coach Tom and Coach Dave decided that due to his tremendous leadership skills he has shown over the course of the season that Oli would be promoted to Co-Captain alongside Dave. They took the team to the pitch, gathered the lads round and shouted their war cry as always . . . “LANNA ON 3, LANNA ON 3 . . . 1, 2, 3 ”
“FWEEEEEET!” Pat sounded the alarm and they were off. Oli put up a huge kick for Dtun and Stanton to get under. SMASH. Stanton got there first and leveled the receiver. Already this was turning out to be a massive game. Before the match our token Aussie, Ian, had the Lions understanding about the defensive line, something we have greatly lacked previously. It seems that that lesson worked a treat. As soon as Stanton had put him on his arse, the Lions fanned out, man for man. Dtun, went in to the ruck hard, followed by O.
The All Stars didn’t keep hold of the ball for long. Dave and Fitz made a couple of tackles, Brave on the scene alongside Simon, pushing the All Stars back. They held onto the ball too long, scrum down Blue ball!
Dave prepared the forwards for a battle. 1,2,3,push, 1,2,3, push! Lanna won the ball. Mikey finally getting his hands on the ball, shipped it out to Oli who went for a run, hitting contact. Stanton and Dave were there rucking out, Mikey back on the ball, shipped it to Opart, running hard, passed the ball to Fitz who took the hit. Brave and Opart rucking the All Stars clear off the ball. The ruck was on the right wing. Adolph and Oli were in support. Mikey took his time. Saw Oli to his Left. Popped him the ball, “YESSSSSS”, Stanton Crying out for it. Oli shipped him the ball. Lions now in the All Stars 22. Running at pace Stanton smashed one, the two players out of the way. He is in their 5. One more play to beam. BANG, child’s play. Stanton ran home the first try of the match. 0-5 to the Lanna Lions!!
Oli’s time to shine . . . Misses the kick, no worries, just get some tries instead 😉
Stanton replenished with water, Time to go again. Oli bangs up a nice kick. Opart and Fitz chasing it down. All Stars tackled, alas they are too quick, the ball is shipped out wide. Brave goes in and takes out a player but they shipped it again. Oli goes in and takes ones out in a crunching tackle, again the ball is shipped out. Adolph summons his strength. Takes the player out sideways in to touch. Awesome effort Michael!! Line out Blue ball!
We are back in out 10. No idea how, but the Lions won a lineout, wonders will never seize to amaze! Mikey shoots the ball to Oli, then to stanton, to Dtun. He goes for a run and hits contact. Stanton is at the break down. Dave and Fitz go over in support. Mikey passes to Opart. In to contact, Mikey again on the ball. Oli in hunger for the ball. Mikey throws a lovely long pass, nice catch! Oli, whatever you’re having, can I have some? His legs were motoring, weaving round the All Stars like nobody’s business. Literally running rings round them, through their 10, 22, into their 5. He left the Lions for dead 30 metres ago. Only one more defender but he’s closing in. “OLI I’M ON YOUR RIGHT, PASS ME THE BALL!!”. Magically Mikey has kept up with the sky blue speedster. a gentle pop to his right and . . . TRY TIME!! Mikey you beauty. 0 – 10 to the Lanna Rugby Club!!
Boom! Oli put up another nice kick. Opart steamrolling them down putting on some huge pressure!! Opart was having a huge game today. Opart forced them into a ruck. Brave an Fitz were there rucking over. The rest of the Lions fanned out. Chiang Mai All Stars have some fast players that were now starting to show their mustard. Zipping here and there, yet the Lions kept them at bay, tackle after tackle. Oli, Fitz, Brave, Opart all knocking them down.Soon enough the All Stars were back in our territory. The All Stars passed the ball out to their right, a winger coming in strong had passed our defensive, the last man left was Dtun . . . he collided with the player in a mega BOOM!! Dtun the Destroyer was on top form, back in to his crunching tackles. He smashed him way out into touch!! The Lions have a lineout.
Again, we won yet another line out. Mikey took the ball in to contact, running hard at the opposition. Dave and O were there in support. Simon was at the ruck acting scrum half. Oli was there but balls to that. Simon again, went fr a storming run. His nickname Twinkle Toes couldn’t be more apt for what happened next. He was dancing his way around the All Stars, some fancy footwork for sure had let him to evade 3 of the All Stars. Making about 5 metres in the process before being taken down. Dave and Brave went over in support. Dtun and Opart just hanging back.
Mikey got the ball and popped it to Opart, who couldn’t help but dulldose a couple of the All Stars down. Brave came in to help, smashing the All Stars away. Always there to put in his two penneth, bahteth?! why not, two bahteth. Mikey on the Ball again, as always a reliable scrum half! Stanton was waiting in Leigh. He has fire in his eyes. He begins to mount the charge. “NOW, YES MIKEY!”. Mikey pops the ball up to Stanton (About the halfway mark). I couldn’t make up what happened next. He went on a rampage. smashing down every All Star in his path. 1, BOOM, 2, BOOM, 3, BOOM, on and on it went until the last 5! there were 2 players closing him down . . . S**T, but wait . . . what’s this? “DAS IST MINE”, Michael out of nowhere came flying past Stanton, taking the ball on his way, scoring right between the posts!! 0-15 to the Might Lions!!
Once more Oli put up a massive kick for the All Stars. The Lions after such a huge half were pretty gassed. The Lions fanned out, however the All Stars used their pace out wide and scored a cheeky break away try down the right, past Michael who quite rightly was absolutely cream crackered after that huge effort along with Stanton. All Stars 5 -15 Lions.
Pat blew the whilst for half time.
PROP – Twinkle Toes OFF / Sanny ON
2ND ROW – Fitz OFF / Aaron ON
2ND ROW – Brave OFF / Louis ON
After an incredible first half. it was time to bring it home! Could Lanna Rugby Club finally defeat their arch nemesis, Chiang Mai All Stars, for the first time ever this season?!?!
Pat, who had been doing a cracking job so far as referee, blew the whistle to signal the beginning of the second half. Finally it was time for Lions to receive!
The All Stars put up a nice lofty kick. Opart was on the receiving end. He took the ball beautifully. He went on the offensive, taking a diagonal from the right towards the left. Just as he was about to be tackled he heard in the distance “TO BE SURE! TO BE SURE!”. Fitz was on the scene. Coming from behind, O popped the ball to his left. Fitz took the ball like a duck takes to water, with all that poise. He must have been having whatever Oli was on. It was like a scene out of roadrunner, all we could see was dust. Pheeeewmmmmm . . . From our 10/22 Fitz had single handedly tore the All Stars a brand new a******e. Pirouetting round their players like he was auditioning for a part in Swan Lake. Fitz must have ran past 4 or 5 of their players, just before delicately placing the ball between the sticks. 5-20 th the Lanna Lions!
Oli at it again with a nice and high kick. THWACK!@#$@! Fitz came charging in and knocked the poor lad for ten. His tackle was so fierce that he’d driven him back 3 metres in the process. On Fire!
The Lions were back on it. We turned over the ball and kept feeding the ball up and down the line. Jonesy got a feel for it finally, charging at the All Stars, with Louis in support, who made a few yards for the team. Ruck time, Brave went in hard along side Dave, pushing them back. Sanny was on the wing to Mikey. Popped him the ball. Sanny is a power house. He was blitzing through their defensive line. He went through two of their players, dragging 3 of them with him before finally being taken down after making a good 8 metres. The Lions kept going. Unfortunately cardio is somewhat of an issue on our team. It didn’t take long for the Lions to slow down. The good news is we kept our formation.
The All Stars managed to pin us back in our 22. Constantly going at us. Time after time each one of our players went in, hitting their players down. Dtun and Dave obliterating the opponents. Louis and Jonesy always there to drive over. Ruck after ruck preventing the All Stars from scoring. Stanton and Oli putting in some massive hits. The All Stars kept going, and hats off to them. They kept driving, and eventually they managed to put another past us. 10-20.
The minutes were ticking down now. Surely full time must be coming shortly?! 3 minutes left??!! Argh, ok! Lions reformat, shaking off the last try. Is there time for one more try?! Here’s hoping. Oli belted the ball down the pitch. Dtun spearheading the chase. He nails the receiving player. Ha, I would not like to be on the end of one of his sonic boom crunches!
Line Out to All Stars. They win the ball. Lions fan out. By the way, throughout the match, after months of Coach Dave and Tom being at their throats about it, the hard effort about communicating was coming to the front. Oli and Dave dictating the game play. The All Stars kept shifting the ball, however, with every good pass given to a new All Stars player was met by an equally good tackle given by one of our players.
The Lions were zapped of energy, and after a bit of to and fro the All Stars were awarded with yet another line out in the Lions 5. The All Stars won the line out. There was a bit of scrambling, and eventually, they scored one more try! 15-20.
“FWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!” GAME OVER!!!
SAY WHAAAAAAT!!! THE LANNA LIONS HAVE NOT ONLY BEATEN A TEAM THAT SO FAR THIS SEASON HAVE BEEN UNBEATABLE, BUT HAVE ALSO WON THE FIRST EVER TRI CLUB CUP!!!
Soon after, the Lions and All Stars tunneled one another, the cheers could be heard for miles around, today truly was a day to remember!
Even though all our players were shattered, Charlie the team photographer, couldn’t help herself and decided it was time to gather up the winning team for a photo opportunity.
If that wasn’t enough, she then insisted on getting the All Stars involved . . .
Final Score line: CAS 15 – 20 LRC
TRIES: 4 CONVERSIONS: 0
Stanton 1, Mikey 1, Adolph 1, Fitz 1
Men of the Match:
The coaches had a little natter and decided that these two players showed outstanding quality in the final match!
A force to be reckoned with, his runs were earth shattering! Always giving his all, never giving up right to the last minute.
The Lions played exceptionally well, alas, Oli outshone them all with his great play making and epic runs. Always at it no matter what!
In the evening the staunch Lions, Stanton, Coach Tom, Coach Dave, Michael and the team photographer Charlie, met up at our club house A.K.A. Sheryles Bar and Restaurant for a much needed pint or two. Even Iain made it out for that!! If you don’t believe me, here is some proof!
The Dark Lord, a man of many girls and even more words, he has been a rock in this team for the whole of this season.
Pat, you have a tremendous help in the organisation of the matches, you have been a very fair adjudicator this season. Thank you.
THE WHOLE TEAM, played incredibly today, Coach Tom and Coach Dave are very proud of what you as a team have managed to achieve this season.