Written by Pat Cotter
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Club sponsor Sheryle’s Restaurant & Bar was the venue for Lanna Rugby Club’s 2020/21 AGM and annual awards ceremony which was also a grand way to christen the newly furbished upstairs sports bar and it didn’t disappoint. Mike, Olly and his team put on a fine buffet and were on hand to ensure that, as the juices flowed, so did the ale, in copious amounts.
As participants arrived, the atmosphere began to build and with the feeding frenzy out of the way and the beer flowing, it was quite jovial, with an air of anticipation, by the time Club Chairman Tom Stubley and Club Captain Dave McRitchie took to the floor to get proceedings underway by presenting all the players and support staff with a medal in appreciation of all the time and effort that had been put in during the season. Now its not often an opposition player attends another clubs’ AGM but, to his credit, Payap Rugby’s forward Rowan Carroll not only attended, but was presented with a commemorative medal for his audacity to the cheers of the room!
The first of the main awards was going to the Clubman of the Year and it went to a person who epitomizes what it means to be part of a rugby club by not only getting himself into match fitness at his advanced age but also leading from the front on the social side, driving on the team to support and enjoy the facilities at Sheryle’s. Always the first to arrive and the last to leave, Mark “Bomber” Harris is fully deserving of the award and though he managed to lose the trophy it was returned to him intact the following day.
Seng ”Brave” Harn was next up to receive the Most Improved Player award. Being in the front row of any team can daunting and sometimes be a thankless job but Brave has excelled this season not just in the set pieces but also in the loose where he has developed a new found freedom to express his game and has been an integral part of the Lions success in reaching this years final.
For the second year running Top Try Scorer of the Season was Tawan “Dtun” Kiatngamphom who continues to improve with every game. Along with his blistering pace he has developed a certain awareness to his game that immediately puts defenses on the back foot. Creating space is tight situations Dtun can score from anywhere on the field.
The Top Tackler award went to a man who not only continues to defy his age but continues to show the younger generation that old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance or in his case smash the bejasus out of you! Paul Bolwell always in the right place at the right time and a true inspiration both on and off the field.
Ted Guggenheim recently arrived in Chiang Mai from China and was recruited into the Lanna family. He made an immediate impression in his first game and has become an important cog in a backline that on its day can be a match for any team. Ted deservedly received the Back of the Year award and has set the benchmark for years to come.
The Best Forward award could really only go to one person but being the modest guy he is he would be the first one to deny it. Dave McRitchie is another age old warrior who continues to give back to the sport. As captain of the team he leads from the front and is always eager to carry the ball up and inspires the team with his never say die attitude. His collaboration with Chairman Tom continues to epitomize all that has been achieved not just with the Lanna Rugby Club but with youth development and developing rugby in North Thailand.
There was a special Cook of the Year award for Khun May who always provides food and refreshments for the children who attend the youth sessions. Working tirelessly, with a smile and Thai classics blaring out of the stereo she has become a major part of the kids day out and something they all look forwards to. Well done Khun May thank you for all you do.
The Players Player of the Year is always a special award and signifies the respect of his fellow players and once again the smiling assassin Tawan Kiatngamphom (Dtun) walked away with the trophy. His smiling dedication can inspire the team in the bleakest of circumstances and in the worst of weather and the award is well deserved.
The main award of the evening that of Player of the Year went to a player who has made so much of the Lanna success story possible. Coming from a rugby league background he always breaks tackles, creates space and scores his fare share of tries. Off the pitch he can be found sharing stories, espousing wisdom and drinking his fare share of libations. Louis Stanton the 2021 Player of the Year.
The Captains awards presented by Dave McRitchie was an altogether less formal affaire with the Princess Award going to Tom Stubley, the Strong Arm Award to Louis Stanton, The Nostalgia Award to Mark “Bomber” Harris, the Best Dressed Award to Seng ” Brave” Harn, the Best Hair Award to Carlos Victor Da Silva , the Most Inquisitive Award to Dave Hendershot, the Biggest Gobshite Award went to Brian Grieve and last but not least Eagle Eye Award to Pat “Eagle Eye” Cotter. A funny way to end the awards and both Mike and Olly spoke about supporting the Lions and the enjoyment they get from the association.
The evening came to a close with Brian Grieve leading the team in song and arranging Guinness (courtesy of the bar, thank you ) boat races for which everyone was grateful the following day! A great nights entertainment. Bring on next season !