The Pattaya 10s competition this year will go down as the Bangers greatest ever display of club spirit and rugby skill in our 6 year history.
The short trip from Bangkok was to prove to be an epic journey of club transformation. There was initial disappointment when we found out that instead of entering both a vets and a Colts team no other vets team had showed up. The organizers asked us to field 2 Colts teams but we didn’t have the numbers to oblige so we entered only the main competition as the Old Bangkok Bangers Colts.
The Colts was actually a misnomer as most of the team was made up of veteran Bangers with an average age of 43. First up the Colts took on the new kids on the block the Sharks from Shrewsbury (pronounced Shrosebury) School led by our very own Banger Chris (Doh) Lynn. He Bangers pack, as they did throughout the competition, proved too strong and the Colts got off to a 4 try to 1 win. Next up was the very strong and combative navy team. The Colts lost the game 2 tries to 1 but won the fight which resulted in the Navy having 2 guys sent off for tactics which could only be described as conduct unbecoming officers. This defeat was not a real set back for the Colts as we know we could have won and we rebounded with a 4 to 1 win over the Panthers who by that stage had played about 8 games as they covered for missing teams in the preliminaries.
So the Bangers came second in the group to go through to the quarters of the cup. As we left on the first night it looked like that would be against our junior feeder team from the Southerners who had taken a very strong squad of 30 players to Pattaya and fielded 2 teams. Saturday night was spent avoiding the Southerners as rumours of match fixing and bribery abounded along Walking Street in Pattaya. Sunday morning and the big crunch was eagerly awaited by the Colts but only to be disappointed when it was learned that the draw had been changed (some say rigged) and the Colts did not face the Southerners but Nanglen who were the Thai national barbarian side.
Young fast and skilful Thais against the geriatric Colts. What should be the game plan? Play Bangers rugby and keep it in the pack which we not only managed to do but went on the win our first ever international 2 tries to 1. And it was well deserved. As we looked around in disbelief on reaching the semis it dawned on us that we could very well get to the final as our semi-final opponents were the courageous but inexperienced Chiang Mai team. As was expected Bangers rugby dominated again as our pack ground them down and we registered a 3 to 1 win to reach the finals.
And who do we get but none other than the Southerners. The ultimate match fix. With a few Bangers tied in lucrative contracts with the Southerners they were not released to play with the Colts so they paraded their strongest ‘Gold’ team to take on the ‘Geri-Colts’ in the final A very hard fought first half saw the teams go in level at nil all. In the second half the depleted and weary Colts had exhausted our entire squad while the Southerners, with more subs than a U Boat flotilla, were able to keep fresh and score more points than us to win. Congrats to them and Wagga for being voted MVP.
In the end the Colts were actually the MVP of the tournament i.e. Most Victorious Pack. Our back line, though depleted through injury and lack of back up, defended extremely well and we had superb performances from Earth and Andrew both in defence and attack. Even Tom got a run out at half back and steadied the ship when we were 4 to 1 up in the first game with 2 minutes left and the opposition looking for a big upset. It would be nearly impossible to single any single performance so here are the names of what are now legends in the club.
Dave Burge, Eddie Evans, Paul Hollings, Andy Talling, Robert Hill, Chris Lynn, Bob Pearson, Jeff Klentzl, Nick McBride, Andy McRobby, Kook, Rod Kerr, Chris Hartley, Steve Mommaerts, Earth, Andrew Hjelmeland, Christo Lemmers, Darren (on loan from the Panthers) and yours truly Tom Kerr. We had great support form the club Leeches and John Jaspers took some fantastic pictures especially of Eddie (is there something going on here). Nick McBride was top scorer with 4 of our tally of 14 tries. Only 8 tries were scored against us in the whole tournament.
Let me repeat it again … Bangers come second in Pattaya 10’s. In a few years time the Super 14’s could become the Super 15’s or the Heineken Cup could be could be saved even if the English and French pull out …………. Bangers vs Munster at Patana…….. John Hayes vs Eddie Evans …….. Dave Burge vs Paul O’Connell ……..
Loads of pictures in the Gallery .