As most people who have played rugby in Thailand before know, the ground is usually solid as a rock due to the time of year rugby is played. However, as it is August it had been raining solidly for a good 7 days since our last rugby practice, when the ants attacked. . . Anyway, as I had mentioned previously it had rained A LOT, so the ground was lovely and soft.
Every LRC player was down and accounted for by 15:00, which gave us enough time to go through some stretches and lineout/scrum drills before the opening match:
Lanna Rugby Club Vs Chiang Mai University
Team line up:
Iain (Prop), Opart (Prop), Dave (Hooker), Jonas (2nd Row), Mike F (2nd Row), Mikey (Scrum Half), Dan C (Fly Half), Stanton (Centre), Dtun (Wing), Oli (Wing)
Simon (Prop), Danny (Wing), Ewan (Fly Half), Tom (Anywhere necessary)
Big Dave was captaining the side for the day, first port of call was for himself and the opposing sides captain to flip for kick off. Dave secured the kick opting to kick to the opposition to begin with.
A nice high long kick from Dan and they were off. CMU kept the possession for all of two minutes. Lanna Lions kept applying the pressure, pushing them back into their own 22. CMU kicked and the ball landed at Dtun’s feet. picking up the ball, he knew exactly what needed to be done. He jut ran, dodging one then two then three players, running almost the full length of the pitch to score the first try of the match! 5 – 0 to LRC.
For some reason unknown to myself, LRC had to kick to the opposition (this was a continuing trend in the match, the scoring team kicked to the opposing team). Another lofty ball from Dan . . . Smash, stanton and Jonas racing to secure the ruck, CMU managed to keep the ball a little while longer this time whilst the Lions continued to put in hit after hit after hit.
The Lions were inside their half, all of a sudden the tides turned after a raucous 5 minutes. Lanna Lions stole possession in a ruck, Jonas, Stanton and Mike F clearing out the bodies. Mikey had the ball, passed to Dan C, he saw a gap in the defence, trying his luck he went for it. Again, one player, two players, three players, breaking the defensive line he had nothing more to do other than score the try! 10 – 0 to LRC.
After 3 more minutes of hard fought exchanges Sir blew for half time! This gave us the chance to swap out some of the tired players for the subs. Simon for Iain, Danny for Oli, Tom for Mike F and Ewan for Mikey.
Thankfully as we had kicked to CMU in the first half, it was our turn to receive! Remember this is the first proper outing of the Lann Lions since february, our match legs were a bit rusty. No matter how much Dave and Stanton commanded the ship LRC fell foul of losing the ball twice in quick succession, allowing CMU to score twice which they converted twice as well!! What was once a nice lead had become a sorrowing loss with the score standing at 10 -14 in favour of CMU.
We were all digging in deep, pushing forwards. At around the halfway mark LRC turned the ball over from a ruck, what happened next was magic. It was simple rugby at its best, pick and drive pick and drive pick and drive. Simon had the ball and went into contact driving a them back. From the ruck that ensued, Dave picked the ball and went for it, 5m then down, next was stanton, then Opart driving some hard yards, then Dan, to Tom. We were in their 22, we could almost taste victory. The ruck was slowed down, Ewan at the gate, picked the ball, passed to Dan, then to Fitz who ran past the last defender. . . TRYYYYY! Fitz scoring underneath the sticks!! Magnificent work from the Lions, grinding out a try. Now it was time to seal the win, Dan C for the Kick. GOAL! Amazing, lions trailing by 4 points only to come out on top 17 – 14. What an excellent opener for the Lanna Rugby Tens League!
Final Score line: LRC 17 – 14 CMU
TRIES: 1 Dtun, 1 Dan C, 1 Mike F CONVERSIONS: 1 Dan C
Prince Royal’s College Vs Lanna Rugby Club
Team line up:
Iain (Prop), Opart (Prop), Dave (Hooker), Jonas (2nd Row), Tom (2nd Row), Dan C (Scrum Half), Ewan (Fly Half), Stanton (Centre), Dtun (Wing), Danny (Wing)
Simon (Prop), Oli (Wing), Mikey (Scrum Half), Mike F (2nd Row)
After a solid 60 min rest it was time for LRC to get back at it with a slight change in team line up. Dave again went to call the coin toss. He won again, and again chose to kick first.
The kick was high and short, brilliant for Tom to come in and steam roll the receiver. Knock on, turnover ball. LRC kept the ball, but not for long. After a couple of phases PRC found themselves with the ball, and taking advantage of their agility and speed, sent it down the wing for them to score a try under the sticks, which they then converted. 7 – 0 to CMU.
Every single LRC player kept putting in the hits, time after time, it was a gruelling match to say the least. Stanton leading the way with Jonas, Dan C and Dtun all following suit. The pitch at this point was to wet and muddy, like a turkish mud bath, alas, we had to keep on going, pushing, unrelentlessly in ground that kept shifting. At last, the ball was in Danny’s hands just in our own half, went for a run, down, ruck, Dave and Opart over to ruck, Iain with the ball, Down. Stanton and Tom got to the break down. We were in the 10, Dan C picked the ball and shipped it out to Jonas, to Ewan. He saw the break and went hell for leather. Round one, then two PRC players. finally the pitch opened up and he was in for TRY TIME! 7 – 5 to PRC.
Just as LRC had picked themselves up and dusted themselves down PRC ran by and scored another try just before the half time mark. 12 – 5.
At half time we swapped Simon in for Iain, Fitz came on for Jonas, Oli in for Danny and Mikey came on for Ewan.
The ball was kicked and LRC received, the last half of the day was afoot! we were in stalemate with PRC for a good 5 minutes, ball constantly turning over, scrums and Lineouts left right and centre with no real success for either side. Nobody saw this coming, Dan C was gifted the ball from a ruck at half way. Using his speed and agility he stormed through the defence scoring under the sticks, Ewan went for the kick and converted. 12 – 12 all even stevens.
It was around this point where things ind of fell apart fro LRC. As many of the players know, things were not quite so fair on the pitch with some very questionable decisions. Player were walking off exhausted without telling a player to go on, it was a shambles. Then a devastating blow was dealt when Jonas was sent off. Things became a bit of a circus from there on out. Once Jonas was brought back on, Dan C gave a huge hit to a PRC player and was sin binned, apparently a high tackle . . . very dubious decision.
Playing with 9 men in the last 3 mins of the match was not what we needed nor wanted. PRC restarted the match with the ball in their 22. They kept pushing, LRC weren’t back ten and went in with the tackles, back ten again to restart. Everyone was pretty tired by this point, and some of the LRC couldn’t help but voice their opinions to the referee. BACK TEN! Dave and Tom tried to lull the LRC players to keep their traps shut as to not get any more penalties awarded against them, however this was futile. This must have happened three or four times. PRC had us pinned back in our own 5.
Inevitably PRC scord one more tries after driving then shipping the ball out wide to be scored close to the posts. They went on to convert the kick. 19 – 12 to PRC. Frustration was rife, alas, still, we were playing rugby, in a league, in Chiang Mai, which is great!! Onwards and Upwards!
Final Score line: PRC 19 – 12 LRC
TRIES: 1 Dan C, 1 Ewan CONVERSIONS: 1 Ewan
Man of the Match: Louis Stanton