Last weekend, the Old Bangkok Banger Rugby Club’s very senior side, the Banger Ancients, entertained the crowd at the Bangkok International Sevens tournament.
And entertain they did. The Ancients walk-on ceremony is one of the most distinctive in the rugby world captivating rugby aficionados around the planet. It can best be described as a sombre goose step. You could get the impression the players are being pulled onto the field in order to perform a duty that others don’t envy.
The new skipper Kevin Murphy was understandably a little nervous at leading the teams of rugby royality onto paddock. Somewhere between the sideline and the centre of the field, the physical size of the Ancients is resolved. The hoops tops were rapped around forward packs that averaged a hundred kilos, spearheaded by one prop who was a unforgiving and mean looking one twenty.
The game was a disclaimer for brute physics, teamwork and shrewdness. Both sides were talent heavy as well as being plain heavy. There was nothing flashy or brilliant, just exciting old fashioned rugby. Lets not be harsh. They played in a way that’s was a fortifying experience for anyone who ever wondered what its like to be a rugby veteran still playing the game. There was one celebrity of note amongst the teams this year. Colin Hasting, who recently won a boxing match in a charity event. He was allowed to run where he wanted too and commanded a healthy respect.
The game ended with a winner, which is against the Ancient credo. That is, the game must end in a draw. The result put that concept to the sword. In the last minute of the game, a credible plan was hatched by the black and white hoops exploiting the opposition with a second and third-phase play that confused them. A simple move executed well.
It was a very open game with a lot of passes, some thrown aimlessly, turned over balls, forwards passes and high tackles. Who cared! The referee relaxed the rules for the afternoon. During one stanza, he concluded the whistle was unnecessary and put it into his pocket.
It was a great day out on the field of dreams for the Ancients, They enjoyed it and the numerous fellowship beer after. There will be plenty of story telling potential here.