Phuket 2007 – The Banged Up Tour
Escaped convicts, bull riding, Chinese text messages, French flair, ruined rugby reputations, zambucca, grappa, homophobic Spam kissing, breast feeding and, as always, silverware to take home. Just another tour for the Bangers….
Friday 25 May 2007
Bangkok’s new airport scandals were significantly worsened with arrival of 25 Bangers who proceeded to dress like a cross between hardy Irish rice farmers and Basque terrorists. A bunch of Basqhards you could say. The ‘one size fits all’ sarong was too small for Chairman Mao mac mac while Soi Dog could have got another 13 of himself inside it. As he said, and as Pope Leo X’s ceremonial vestments were famous for in the 19th century, ‘you can hide half an orphanage in here’. Childish antics and jokes preceded take off on Bangkok Airways flight to Phuket. Sensible Thai business people and pallid faced tourists sat frozen in their seats looking everywhere except along the plane aisle as they prayed to their god that none of the Bangers actually had a seat beside them. One or two were unfortunate especially those sitting near Trefor and Jeff (big buddies at this stage as Jeff had the vodka). Bob (lucky to be alive, never mind on tour after his wife’s ‘visit’ to Wall St. on Thursday night) and Tom compared lists and decided that neither had a fucking clue who had paid, was travelling on their own, booked hotels, ordered kit, wanted transport to ground etc. etc.
All fear of mismanagement disappeared when we arrived in Phuket to be met by minibuses laden with tour tipple and an enjoyable journey to Patong ensued. By this time snitches had been appointed and some tourists who should have known better began to slowly incriminate themselves. Checked into hotel and out the doors again 15 minutes later to the Beach Bar where Pete was on hand, as he had done the previous 2 years, to greet us in English in that most eclectic and complicate of welcomes ‘g’day mates’ (he’s Aussie). Happy reminisces soon gave way to lecherous intentions so Walking Street magnets took over and we decided to walk to walking street. Chairman Mao mac mac mac moaned all the way as it was the furthest he had walked since he was a girl guide and collected 25 cents in the annual ‘Girl Guides for God’ charity walk in Christchurch. Walking St. once reached then Rule No.1 really kicked in and ‘what happens on tour stays on tour’.
Saturday 26 May 2007
Saturday morning came too quick and people-watching in the foyer of the hotel was the order of the day until the buses came to take us to the stadium. ‘Oh good golly shit’ was the cry ‘are we actually here to play rugby’. After the Bangers unfurled their new massive Banner and donned their new strip a team photo was attempted and promptly spoiled by senior members of the club who did not know how to pull up their socks or even put them on.
First game up was against the Philippines Volcanoes who were led by the Bangers very own Chris Hartley (little cheating Judas, Brutus, Fawkes, Rosenberg, Hari, Burgess, Blunt, Maclean, Philby, Scarlet Pimple fifth columnist turncoat Aussie prat) who had smuggled Bangers training videos to the opposition who then played cunningly to cancel the Bangers forward game and exploit our lack of speed on the wing. If only we had played the 20 metre running rule a different result would have ensued. The way the tournament was organized meant that a loss in the first game automatically relegated us to the Plate. Normally in tournaments the Bangers get stronger as the competition progresses but we were denied on this occasion. No matter, on to the Plate semi and the Bangers dispatched a very strong Arabian Gulf Legends team to reach the final on Sunday. Before that took place there was the little matter of Saturday night dressing up and the court session to get through.
Twenty five Bangers gathered in the foyer wearing only underpants and slippers fifteen minutes after arriving back from the stadium in a show of cultist obedience that can only be described as lemming like. Coach handed out the tour kit which had a distinct Irish theme …………. convict black and white striped uniforms. Convicts were assigned hideous crimes for which they had been incarcerated such as Banker, Insurance Salesman, French, Carnal Knowledge, Drunk and Disorderly (an appeal upheld the charge and rejected the assertion that it is actually a normal state of being for a Banger). The chain gang headed to the Beach Bar for a rollickingly sumptuous barbeque and then to the beach itself for the court. What goes on tour stays on tour but there was an absolute first for a Bangers rugby tour fine namely ‘breast feeding’. Sucks doesn’t it. Walking Street was then subjected to a chain gang winding it’s way in single file from pub to pub and any poor tourist who just happened to be wearing black and white stripes was hauled into the line like a long escaped inmate.
Sunday 27 May 2007
A roll call of inmates on Sunday morning revealed that all were safely back behind bars the night before. A late start at the stadium meant that the Bangers could have a leisurely breakfast and relate tales of escape tunnels being routed out the night before. The final of the Plate matched the Bangers with the Doha Dogs and again we lifted our performance to play our best rugby of the tournament to win the trophy by the margin of just one try.
Actually it should have been more except…….well shall we say it wasn’t Trefor’s finest hour in front of 1,000 spectators, most of whom collectively moaned like an orgy in a convent, when he was only 5 metres from the line with only fresh air to beat he spilled the ball and his entire 15 year reputation as Asia’s Man of Rugby collapsed before all our eyes. A priceless piece of rugby folklore which earned him the award of ‘Old Codger Most Likely to Dodge the Coffin’ which is the Vagabonds rather politically correct way of saying.
Trefor (now licking up to any other team that would sign him up team) had the last say when he decided to drink (spill beer) with his new buddies from the Vagabonds in the boat race to determine the winner of the Weasel Cup. The cup should have been played for but Boy Scout Brewer had fixed the draw so as not to play the mighty Bangers and lose again on home turf.
That was it, tour over for another year, although a few stragglers remained on Monday (and Tuesday). Next year’s planning is already underway with the organisers having suggested that all visiting teams dress to a common theme……..WARRIORS. Now who wants to go next year and be the chief Wookie……………..
Congrats to Phuket Pat and all the organisers from the Vagabonds for a great tournament. See you in Phnom Penh and make sure you bring the Weasel Cup with you. You won’t be bringing it home.
A recently received email from one of our members in Haggisland….
Gentlemen and Trevor
Had one of those serendipitous moments this week. Was beavering away at my kebab shop in sunny Glasgow and got chatting to one of customers (can’t remember what he was complaining about). Anyway, turned out he worked out in Doha and was Captain of the Doha Dogs Vets Team and had played against us in the Plate final in Phuket.
As we chatted about the week end he said "To tell you the truth, I don’t remember that much about the game, except your centre who did that great run and then dropped the ball over the line with no one near him – what a prat! We’ve drunk many a toast to him back in Doha"
As you can imagine we had a good chuckle and I passed on your contact details,Trev, as he seemed keen to offer you honary membership of the Dogs seeing as you have already played half a game for them.
It must be nice to know that your fame lives on throughout Asia and the Middle East.
The Kebab King