8:30am Deckers, Jonesy, The Destroyer, Twinkle Toes, Michael, Brave and Head Coach Stubs gathered at Mcdonalds. A few of the lads got stuck in to a bit of carbo loading as you do, whilst Stubs was busy pulling hair out as the minivan had yet to arrive . . . the driver also couldn’t speak a word or english . . . would the Lions even turn up? Deckers to the rescue. After a few fraught minutes, the minivan pulled up round the front. Everyone piled in.
Whilst that happened, Bomber had already mentioned he’ll meet us there, Coach Dave was already in CR sorting out a visa, Greg was driving his scooter up (great idea . . .) and Fitz was taking the Dark Lord and Stanton in his shaggin’ waggon.
And they were off, Wacky Races eat your heart out, Lanna Rugby Club scaling a tremendously arduous road. An hour in . . . Ping (FB message)
Iain : “We’ve broken down”
Tom: ” Ok, get it fixed and we’ll see you soon”.
*In Coach Tom’s head : SH!T SH!T SH!T SH!T.
Good news we are no longer a ragtag band of 8 players, as we were the last time LRC ventured to Chiang Rai, we are now 15 strong at the very least if todays headcount was anything to go by!
Whilst Dave rushed through the border crossing, and the Minivan hurtled towards CR, Greg too, loving life driving his scooter on the tremendously potholey road. Bomber, Chris and Opart were busy chilling out, enjoying breakfast, the clever foxes drove up the night before! Avoiding the stress we all faced.
13:05 – The first to arrive at the pitch was the minivan crew! After a bit of confusion with the map the driver finally got the lads there in one piece. The Lions after being confined for so long getting to stretch their legs a bit!
Next to Arrive was Chris, then Bomber and his friend Ian, shortly followed by Opart and his friend Percy. The team slowly coming together.
13:15 Greg, the legend that he is, arrived at the pitch on his trusty scooter. What’s that Greg? “Oh I should have come up in the minivan!”. Thought as much, that road is incredibly treacherous.
A flat tyre can’t stand in the way of the Lions making it to a game. By 13:30 Fitz and his merry men made it to the pitch. Great to see them all down, Iain enjoying his pre match smoke as per usual.
14:00 . . . Where was Dave? he had the kit bag . . . tensions were getting high. . . . 14:10 Coach Dave arrives with family in toe! With not a second to spare, the lads dash over, say our hellos. “Lads bang a shirt on!” Coach Tom shouted out as the team was then shortly called out after. Quickly after, all the Lions got on to the pitched, warmed up and got stuck into a few formational plays, swapping up the players, readying everyone for the EPIC battle ahead!
Coach Dave who was also acting captain for the day heads over to flip the coin whilst the rest of us kept throwing the ball between us.
Chiang Rai Bears Vs Lanna Rugby Club
Iain ‘The Dark Lord’ (Prop), Dave (Hooker, Captain), Sanny ‘Deckers’ (Prop), Opart “O” (2nd Row) Fitz (2nd Row), Mark ‘Bomber’ (Scrum Half), ‘Greg’ (Fly Half), Stanton (Centre), Michael (Wing/Fullback), Dtun ‘The Destroyer’ (Wing/FullBack)
Tom ‘Stubs’, Simon ‘Twinkle Toes’, Brave, Aaron ‘Jonesy’, Chris
The toss for kick off was over. The Cap filled us in on the game, 10 aside, 10 Mins x 4 halves (dubious whether we could last 3 let alone 4). In any case, we were kicking to the Bears. All the players gathered round, bound up tightly in a circle just before Coach Dave called it out, “LANNA ON 3, LANNA ON 3 . . . 1, 2, 3 ”
It was a hot day, no shade in sight, the sun beating down on all the players. (Reminder, sort out bandanas for those a bit sparse on top). The Lions lined up, Bomber preparing to kick . . . BRRRRR Whistle went, BOOM, Bomber gave a nice high kick to his right, for Dtun and Fitz to chase up.
The Bears threw the ball between them until trouble came their way, and it was in the form of Stanton. smashing the unlucky fella for ten. Lanna was at it, pushing, gaining ground, no mercy. Opart, and Dave over. forcing the Bears to give. Success, Lanna with the ball. Bomber shoots it out to The Dark Lord who goes for a big run, tearing the defence apart. Down he goes, Opart and Dave over, Bomber gives the ball to Sanny who goes for a massive run, bulldozing players out of the way.
Lions keep going, ruck after ruck. Greg and Stanton go for a run, keeping on driving the Bears back further. Iain and Opart over, the ball is shipped to Dave, running in hard blowing the Bears back.
The Lions were dominating, the game plan Coach Dave and Coach Tom had been teaching for so many months was finally coming to fruition. Ruck after ruck. every player driving hard. Opart making some massive runs along with The Dark Lord, bodies bouncing off them like skittles. Dave went in, over the top, Brave and Deckers in support, Opart got the ball, passed it to Fitz on the Half way mark. Don’t tell me what I think he’s going to do. Round one player, then another, a big gap opened down the right wing. Fitz smashing through tackles like a shark through a school of fish, hungry for it. All the Lions just stood and watched in amazement, what a run then . . .. with a gasp, WHAT A TRY! 5-0 to the Mighty Lions.
Bears kick to Lions. Dave catches and goes for a run in, Opart and Sunny Over. Bomber gets the ball to Iain, Iain goes down. knock on! Scrum down Bears ball. The Lions pack put in a great push, but the Bears still came out on top. They passed it up and down the line as the lines kept them at the 22. Our players kept getting sucked in ot the rucks, a gap opened up down the right allowing the Bears to easily run through and score a try. 5-5
A CRB player has the ball, got through two of the Lions. Dtun seeks him out and slowly trots over, gauging his speed and distance. All of a sudden he revs up, . . CUNCH! The Destroyer annihilates him. Taking him out minto touch by three metres. What a spectacular tackle.
This was only the beginning. It soon turned out that that wasn’t no lucky tackle, Dtun was on it. That was the on button. After that nobody could get past Dtun THE DESTROYER! Time after time, players headed for Dtun, then BOOOOOM! see you later, good night!
Lanna Lions managed to turn over ball in a ruck over on the left wing. Michael looped round and decided to go for a run, managed to evade a couple of players, making fiver metres until it was rucking time yet again. Unfortunately, the Bears managed to see a break after turning the ball just before halftime. 10 -5 to the bears.
PROP – Sanny OFF / CENTRE – Stanton OFF
PROP – Twinkle Toes ON / CENTRE – Stubs ON
The second half got underway with a couple of changes in the line up, with a few more along the way.
We picked up from where we had left off, at a scrum in the Bears 5 (Not sure what the reasoning was for that, as opposed to kick off, not complaining, the boot was on our foot!). The Lions pack put in a huge push. Lanna Lions won the ball. LRC went at it again, going into ruck after ruck. Alas, it wasn’t long before the ball turned over. The Bears, pinned back in their own 5, kicked for touch.
As we aren’t training for lineouts, the opposition inevitably won it. The ball being shipped down the line. They like to play fast ball. Not to worry, Dtun was ready and waiting, putting in a big hit at half way. Ruck time again. Tom and Greg were there first, over and bridging. Bomber soon arrived, popping the ball out to Iain who went for a short powerful run. Opart managed to get the ball off him before going down. O made some hard yards. Simon in to ruck over. Tom bridging. The ball was shipped to Iain then to Greg who went for another lovely run before offloading to Michael. He brought the ball back in, towards our forwards before running straight for a Bears player, hitting contact hard, driving into the defensive line. O and Dave joined, pushing the Bears back further. We were in the Bears 22 when fate went CRB’s way. Scrum down Bears ball.
*2ND ROW Fitz – Off / Brave ON FLY HALF Greg Off (Stubs to Fly half, Michael to Centre) / Arron ON WING
LRC pack put in a huge effort, however not enough to steal ball. Bears Fly Half gave the ball a hoof . . . Which landed right in The Destroyer’s safe hands. Middle of the pitch, he worked his way on a small loop down the left wing. Lightning fast, round one player, then the next, he was shuttling for it. Beat the Bears defensive line with ease, kicking up dust in their faces, finally sealing Lanna Rugby Club their second try of the game. 10-10
Brave caught the ball from kick off. Took it well and ran straight for contact, no fear! Driving them back, Simon and Iain joined in the push. Finally CRB managed to take down Brave, hitting the deck. Bomber picked up and popped the ball to Greg, going for a darting run forwards with Stubs in Support. The ball fumbled. Scrum, Bears ball. Lions pack gave a good push, moving the Bears back, but it was not enough to win. The Bears kept possession. passing it between themselves, they broke the line once, Dtun smashed them back, a second time and Brave took them out, third time’s the charm, running through a gap created, scoring a well worked try. 15-10.
SCRUM HALF Bomber OFF (Stubs to Scrum Half, Michael to Fly Half, Dtun to Centre) / Chris ON WING
Up and at ’em! Captain Dave leading the charge. Tom took the kick, went better than expected! The ball flew down towards the left wing where Aaron, Brave, and Dave were charging it down. The ball bounced for us. Jonesy got on the end of it!!! Aaron a little bewildered, took a second to adjust,, realised that he had the ball and went for a run, round one, then two . . . three. “PUT THE BALL DOWN, PUT THE BALL DOWN”, Jonesy had miraculously made it over the try line. Alas, due to the poor marking on the pitch, he was none the wiser. A bears player smashed him in to touch, line out Bears ball!
FLY HALF Michael OFF / Stanton ON
The Bears won the ball and Hoofed it down the pitch. Dtun got on the end of it, charging the lead. as the rest of the lions back pedalled to get in support. Lanna Lions turned it on again, ruck after ruck. At half way, Twinkle Toes finally got the ball from the ruck. What happened next was spellbinding!! As delicately as Freddie Flintstone when he blows, he went for a run, looping round the left, dodging one player, threw a lovely little dummy to avoid the next. Hitting contact and driving a few yards with Stubs and Opart in support. Rucking over. The ball went through a few of the Lions hands, one after the other, rucking constantly down the left. We are in the Bears 5 when Opart gets the ball from the back of the ruck. A cheeky pick and drive. O makes it over the try line to secure the third try of the Match! 15-15 level pegging.
BRRRRRRRR Whistle blew for the end of that intense second half.
THIRD (AND A BIT) HALF
PROP The Dark Lord OFF / Deckers ON
2ND ROW Opart OFF (Tom to 2nd Row) / Bomber ON SCRUM HALF
FLY HALF Michael OFF / Greg ON
CENTRE The Destroyer OFF / Stanton ON
The third half saw the LRC Massive finally return back to their game plan, after a wobbly second half. Brave, Deckers and Twinkle Toes putting in a load of effort, rucking, going for some bulldozing runs.
The Lions were back on top form after a worrying second half. The game plan was back in use. Whenever the Lions got the ball we just kept rucking, driving, and NOT throwing the ball out wide, as that would cripple us. Slow ball is the aim of our game!
Deckers went on another quality run. Improving week in week out, pushing through the pain to give that little extra. Gerg got on the end of a ball, going for and other daring run, Stanton and Arron in Support. Chris got on it too, showing us what he can do before . . . TACKLE, knock on. Scrum down Bears ball. Dave and Tom gave the commands, we pushed the Bears back, what a colossal, we won the ball, however due to spinning, the ball ended up back in the Bears hands. They saw the break, and made for the Try line . 20-15 to the Bears.
Bomber resummed as kicker. He put a high ball up, alas it didn’t go far enough. Scrum down Bears ball again!! The bears had the ball at half way. the score was 20 – 15 to the bears, they only needed one more try to seal the win. The Lanna Lions were feeling the strain. From the ruck, it went down the hands . . . one player, second player, now for a big throw . . . Stubs could see the destination, bearing down on the receiver . . . THE PASS WENT BEHIND THE PLAYER . . . Stubs Chased the ball down which bounced wonderfully. All he could hear rom behind was “F**KING RUN*. So, in True Stubs fashion, he made a B-line for the try line, leaving the defenders in the dust. 20-20 a piece.
After a minute and a half of the Lions defending, tackle after tackle flying in from all over, keeping the Bears back at bay, the whistle finally went!! 20-20, great result. Both the Lions and Bears made tunnels, cheered on another then made their ways to the Bears Club House at Howlers Bar.
Final Score line: CRB 20 – 20 LRC
TRIES: 4 CONVERSIONS: N/A
Fitz 1, Dtun 1, Opart 1. Stubs 1
O, Greg, Bomber and Chris had left as soon as the match had ended, so with the remainders we set off for Howlers Bar which was a real treat. Some great food on show, the burgers and chili were on point! After everyone had finally turned up (Fitz Stanton and Iain running late as they were too busy washing their hair!), Lonny, ther Bears coach, along with Coach Tom and Coach Dave, made a little speech before announcing the MEN OF THE MATCH!!
Men of the Match:
Dtun the Destroyer!
It’s amazing what 10 months can make. Dtun keeps on showing us all, even the hardened rugby players how to tackle. Along with weaving his magic, running round their defence with ease. With Dtun at fullback, none shall pass!
‘The Flash’ Fitz
With every match Fitz keeps on showing us just how vital a part of the team he is. Not only is he passionate, but his skill, ingenuity, and endurance to keep on going. At every break down, never give up attitude, as well as a daring try covering half the pitch. Man of the match was the only way today could end for ‘The Flash’ Fitz.
In true British amateur rugby fashion. Coach Tom got 4 pints in, one for each of the man of the match. They chugged away whilst everyone else watched in anticipation. FITZ, stormed his pint, smashing it back, no bother, followed by the two Bears players, with Dtun coming in last. (Side note, teach Dtun how to destroy drinks, not just the opposition).
Finally it was time to depart. Coach Dave hit the road with his family, next was the minivan set off, before stopping only a few metres down the road for the lads to stock up on beer for the tri back. Lastly Fitz, The Dark Lord and Stanton all headed out for a night on the tile in CR before heading back, lubing up and having their own Big Dick Boy party!
Opart and Bomber’s friends, Percy and Iain, kindly joined the Chiang Rai Bears as they were lacking numbers. Top Lads!
On the way back in the minivan Aaron couldn’t handle his beer so we pulled over for a team road side slash. Standard.
Simon and his smooth blues playlist.