Under unusually cloudy skies in Bangkok’s north west, the inaugural touch rugby test between the Bangkok Bangers and the Shanghai Shaggers commenced at the ISB ground. The late arrival of two stalwarts in our team (Captain Kangaroo and Tom ‘Hamish” Watters, ….someone teach them how to read maps PLEASE!!) brought immediate pressure on the Bangers who held on valiantly and actually opened the scoring after a set of improvised moves bringing a try to test debutante and rookie rugby player Steve Rieger who a week earlier had vowed never to put on a rugby jersey.
After 8 minutes of the first quarter, lack of match practice and fitness started to show and the Shaggers managed to pull of a try through continual pressure from the 22 yard line..
The second quarter saw a rugged affair with Hamish on board and “SLO MO” John Beard in the thick of things. Great continual running by Dave Kennedy, Jacko and Steve “Tyson” Donnelly saw the Bangers continually edging forward however without the opportunity to break the line. The tides reversed and the Shaggers were on the attack. Wave after wave of forward breaks saw Captain Bill eventually get into a gap and score a fine try.
At the restart the Shaggers did not ease up and started their forward momentum again. A slight misjudgement in a pass saw Bangers new recruit Lindsay Birley intercept a pass and run the full length of the field (with some difficulty) to score a fine individual effort.
Half time score 2 all.
At this time it was decided that it was about time the Bangers have their first ever strategy and tactics meeting.
The third quarter saw Graeme, Geoff, Brad and Rick working well in the centres. Although Norm on the wing preferred to avoid getting the ball,. when he did however he managed to gain a few yards before his pacemaker cut out. Fortunately it cut straight back in again when he played the ball. Jim on the other wing got a few touches before his great speed finally twitched his hammy and off he went. Colin Robin, an Aussie Rules convert adapted well and managed to hold onto the ball a couple of times though his passing was suss, he obviously preferred to handball. To break the deadlock, Hamish moved into professional mode with a few deft passes, one between his legs which was unrehearsed and as such dropped by our receivers. This quarter saw the tide turning back and forward and it was obvious the Shaggers were getting frustrated. Continual back chat to referee Scotty “Yors man” Jackson saw him threaten the yellow card to several Shaggers however sense prevailed and a tight third quarter so no change in the score.
The fourth quarter saw us with 2 players on the sideline (Brad and Jim…both with done hammys) and our reserve bench was severely depleted putting pressure on the fitness (usually peak condition) of the remaining players. Sterling defence by the Bangers saw them hold on until the dying minutes of the game when 2 tries saw the Shaggers pull away for a well deserved win.
Final score Shaggers 4, Bangers 2.