TWELVE MEN VERSES TWENTY TWO MEN

The last day of the Lanna Tens Rugby League was upon us!! The match to decide the 3rd position, and of course The Final; Chiang Mai All Stars Vs Lanna Rugby Club.  In good fashion, today was no different from the other match days. It was raining, ferociously in the morning, however by 3pm it was a light drizzle. Ground soft and the air cool, yet another perfect day for rugby! By 4:30pm all the Lions were down and accounted for, we even had a new player by the name of Brave, completely new to rugby playing for us!

Prince Royal’s College Vs Chiang Mai University was a nice entertaining game, ending 19 – 19,  a draw for 3rd Place. Now it was time for the Final of the League to see who will be crowned Lanna Rugby Tens League Champions!!

 

Chiang Mai All Stars Vs Lanna Rugby Club

‘Dark Lord’ Iain (Prop), Opart (Prop), Dave (Hooker), Stanton (2nd Row), Tom ‘Stubs’ (2nd Row), Mikey (Scrum Half), Ewan (Fly Half), Oli (Centre), Dtun (Wing), Mike ‘Fitz’ (Wing)

Subs:

Brave (Centre/Wing), Chef (2nd Row)

 

Dave was once again captaining the side. After last weeks debacle on the field, both the coaches and captains of All Stars and Lanna Lions spoke with the referee before the match to discuss rules to ensure a fair, fun and competitive match!!

The Lions gather, Dave riled the lads up and then it was kick off! All Stars were receiving. Ewan put up a big kick, Stanton and Opart charged the ball down. The receiver had luckily passed the ball before the two could take him out.  They shipped it out wide, where the runner met with Oli, who smashed the wind right out of him. All Stars knocked on and it was a scrum for Lanna Lions (Tom was still knackered from last week, his lower abs killing when he ran. He subbed himself off pretty quick, on came Chef).

Lanna won the scrum. Mikey passed to Ewan who took the ball right in to contact. Opart and Dave were there in support rucking over. Iain was to the right. Mikey popped to Iain who saw Dtun in Support. The Dark Lord took contact and 3 players with him, popped the ball to Dtun who went on a steaming run, through one player and taken out in to touch. All Stars Line Out.

All Stars have some pretty tall players, they won the line out and proceeded to attack. The Lions time after time kept the All Stars at bay. Running down the centre straight for Dave, THUD! Dave took the runner out with a huge tackle. Then Opart, BOOM!  . . . They shipped the ball down to the right, the Lions continuously tackling the All Stars. Oli flew in with a crunching tackle. Now it was just Dtun Vs his opposite number. Charging at one another what would happen? Dtun stud strong and absolutely knocked the guy for ten.

The All Stars had the ball after the line out. Chef came crashing in with a tackle with Iain and Dave there to ruck. As the All Stars kept attacking, they just couldn’t get past our solid rucking! We kept forcing them back, Mikey flying in with a tackle, Ewan taking out his opposing player. Forcing the All Stars into their own half. However, after so much defending, a crack appeared and the All Stars shipped it out to a speed merchant who scored their first try, running half the pitch to score beneath the posts. 7 – 0 to the All Stars.

It didn’t take long for Lanna Rugby Club to be back on equal terms with them. Dave caught the ball and charged it in. Finally the Lions reverted to their game plan. Rucking and Mauling. The forwards charged it in at first, then the backs got involved. Fitz taking on a nice run down the right, bringing the ball back towards support, taken down to ground. Dtun in Support with Opart, Mikey got the ball and passed to Stanton who went for a charge. Hit Contact knocking a couple of players down like ten pin bowls. Chef got on the ball for a run, all still down the right wing. Chef was held up, Mikey took the ball from him and off loaded to Oli who was coming in hot! Oli took the ball at pace. Smashed through two defenders, went round another, then another, at their 22m line now. . .  sprinting for his life towards the far left corner. T R Y!!! diving for the line he secured an excellent try from within our own 22. 7 – 5.

After kick off it was a heated battle, ball constantly changing hands. The All Stars had possession again and tried to pass it out wide, only for the winger to be taken out good and proper by Dtun, who came flying in from the side. Alas, even after that, the All Stars won the line out, shipped the ball out to the opposing wing and they ran in a second try. 12 – 5. Whistle was blown to signal the end of the 1st half. Dave gathered the players round, gave a pep talk before returning to set for receiving the kick.

And they were off again to a flying start. Oli caught the ball, running in towards the opposition with our forwards in support. Taken to ground Dave and Opart rucked over, Mikey got the ball and popped it to Stanton, ran a few metres before forming another ruck. Ewan got the ball shortly after, warming his legs up and went for a darting run hungry for a try. Got round a player before going down. Chef on the ball, going for a run before off loading to Fitz who again went in to contact. Soon enough another scrum formed. Fitz was done in still from the last encounter in Lamphun. Brave went on for Fitz. We won the scrum and we were off again on the assault. The ball continuously being shifted between Dave, Opart, Iain, Chef, Stanton, rolling rucks. Stanton found himself their 22. He had the ball in his hands and could see the try line. Off he went, knocking down the players, giving a shimmy here and there. Shuck off the last player at the 5m line to claim another well deserved try for the Lanna Lions!  Ewan slotted home a conversion equalling the scores. 12 – 12.

The All Stars were constantly replacing tired legs for fresh one. It was time for the Lions to replace a set of tired legs for knackered legs . . . Mikey was done for the time being, Tom, even though he could barely run, came on as a scrum half!

Ewan put up a kick for the All Stars to receive. Oli raced to the receiver, tackling him. He knocked the ball on at the 22m line, success! it was Tom’s first time acting as scrum half, but he didn’t fluff it, Lanna Lion won the scrum and shipped it to Ewan who ran into contact. It was a wet day and the weather got the better of us, knock on, turnover ball. The All Stars kicked for a line out. At half way the opposition won the line out, no matter how valiant the Lions were they couldn’t keep the All Stars from scoring another try. 17 -12.

Keep in mind that the Lions have 2 subs whereas the All Stars have 12, we went back at them, as ferocious as we did from first whistle. The Lions had control of the game again, rucking phase after phase down the middle of the pitch. Mikey had the ball after the 5th phase, saw Ewan in space and passed him the ball. Ewan, like Stanton and Oli before, saw the try line and could smell another try coming. He went for it, legs pumping, past one defender, two, three, he was home free. TRY TIME! 17 – 17. Just after, there was a couple more minutes to play. We kept the play in their half, alas Ewan got a knock to the knee that was causing him a few issues.

Lions, with only 2 subs in comparison to All Stars 12 sub, they’d managed to hold the game, tied at 17 – 17. It seems the Lions practice sessions were paying dividends. We may not have had a load of fresh legs, but we had the game plan down to a ‘T’.

The final third got underway, Lions kicking to the All Stars. It was safe to say that the Lions were pretty exhausted, however they kept on going. Opart was on fire, at every break down, charging the line at every possibility. Dave, Iain and Stanton were slogging it out, ruck after ruck, the Lions had the All Stars on the back foot, holding them at the half way line for the first half of the third.

Ewan had to leave the pitch after a great game, he could barely run. Mikey came back on as Scrum Half and Tom went to Fly Half. Oli at Centre and Brave at wing.

After 5 minutes of the third half, of which Lanna Rugby Club had help the All Stars back in their half. It seemed that the fresh legs of the All Stars substitutes were too much for the Lions tired legs. They shipped it out wide and scored a try in the top left. 22 – 17.

The All Stars kicked to the Lions, Opart received and again we were back at it, ploughing forwards up the pitch slowly. Opart in hard, then Dave, Iain and Stanton over, Opart with the ball, popped it to Mikey. He saw Ewan shouting, gave him the ball, who then passed it wide to Oli. Oli went for a run in to contact, taken down hard. A confrontation happened. The All Stars player was having a go at Oli, who had a go back! Today the referee was on top form. He blew the whistle, called Oli and the All Stars player over. He was standing for none of it today, both players sin binned for a minute.

Lanna Lions started with the ball again. Dave took the ball and tapped it with his knee . . .  whistle blew for All Stars to have the ball. The ball needs to make contact with the boot.

The opposition went in hard, dave and Iain taking the runner down. Forming a ruck until, all of a sudden the All Stars whipped the ball out to a whippet who ran round the lions. Thinking he’d scored a try, he sauntered towards the middle of the posts from the left wing until . . .  BOOM! Stanton came flying in with an awesome tackle, he grabbed hold of the ball as they both went to ground. Unreal, Stanton kept the ball held above the try line . . . Before the scrum could happen though, it was time for Stanton to tape his fingers up. BROKEN FINGER!! Mad head still came on and kept on playing . . . Scrum Down at the 5m Line. The scrum right in front of the posts, down a man in the backs. It was too Easy for them. a short scrum, and the ball was whipped out to the left for try time. 27 – 17 to the All Stars.

The All Stars kicked to LRC once more, Dave catching the ball and running head on into the opposition. Tom was there in support with Stanton, Mikey got the ball and popped it up to Opart who charged it in. Iain rucked over, Mikey took the ball and went for a run down the blind side with Ewan and Oli with him. Taken down, the ball scrambled loose and the All Stars once again had possession. The Lions were all gassed as the players on now were pretty much the same from the starting line. The All Stars made easy work of the third try, shipping it wide to a fresh sub who ran past the shattered Lions. 32 – 17 to the All Stars.

As soon at the kick had been missed the referee blew for full time! The All Stars tunnelled The Lions off cheering, then the Lions reciprocated.

It has been a huge battle, the Lanna Rugby Tens League, we may have finished second place, but know this, Lanna Rugby Club played with lots of heart, they played with gile and determination, with structure and a game plan. If the Lions had as many subs as the All Stars I’m fairly positive that the ending result would have been hugely different!

Final Score line: CAS 32 – 17 LRC

TRIES: 1 Oli, 1 Stanton, 1 Ewan     CONVERSIONS: 1 Ewan

 

Man of the Match: Opart + Stanton

The Man of the Match was shared between Opart and Stanton today. Both were untoppable. Constantly putting in everything. Opart, always there to run and support, and Stanton just kept putting in big hits, strong runs and support from start right to the end. Good work lads.

 

After such and emphatic Final it was time for the Lions to hit the bars and recouperate with a beer at the Lanna Rugby Club clubhouse, Sheryle’s Restaurant and Bar.

This week we watched Ireland tear apart the Welsh defense whilst we got on it with a few cheeky pints.

Soon enough it was time to hit up Zoe In Yellow.  This week they’d kindly given our team a couple of bottles of Rum (which were almost stolen by a string bean of a lad!!) for a huge effort in the League. By 1 am I’d say everyone was pretty steaming and in high spirits as the lads all went their own ways, top night!

 

Honourable mentions:

Jonas would have been with us if he was not away on business.

Dan was there in Support but couldn’t lay due to an injury sustained in last weeks matches.

The Dark Lord’s harem that he brought to the match, who then joined him after for the team social.

The Dark Lord and his Harem

 

 

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