Thanyapura Sports Club once again was the perfect venue for the 2018 20th anniversary Aussie Bar Phuket International Rugby 10s.
The weather was hot with blue skies and the odd rain shower was predicted but never materialised. The tournament kicked with the traditional Athena Siam Coffin Dodgers vets (over 35s) with 2 groups of 4 teams vying for honours. Previous winners the Morrabbin Rams from Australia in group A took immediate control by beating the Asian Japanese Dragons Gold and the Australian Gold Coast Barbarians showed that they wouldn’t have it all their own way by taking out the Hong Kong Bulls.
In Group B the Jaegermeister Wanderers Wrinklies took control beating the Singapore Bucks whilst the local Phuket Viagrabonds went down to the Al Ain Amblers.
A new addition to the tournament the One Foot in the Grave over 45s saw 3 teams competing with the Moorabbin Rams & the Sham 69 Cottesloe Pirates making Sundays final after the Phuket Viagrabonds faded during the day.
Once day one was done and dusted Sundays Athena Siam vets finals would be the Singapore Bucks v Asian Japanese Dragons Gold in the Bowl, The Jaegermeister Wrinklie Assassins v Phuket Viagrabonds in the Plate final and the Morrabbin Rams taking on the Gold Coast Baba’s in the Cup Final.
In Contrast to the previous day, Saturdays action got underway in torrential rain with the Ladies Tournament seeing the Southerners Ladies and the Bangkok Bangers Belles prevail over spirited HKFC sides.By the end of the day the Southerners had made Sundays Ladies Plate Final against the HKFC Fire & The Bangers Belles would contest the Cup against the HKFC Ice team.
In the men’s Aussie Bar open tournament it soon became clear that the teams to beat would be the East Admiralty Football Club & the Headhunter Sport Barbarians as they dominated their pool games but a strong showing by the Singapore Wanderers and the Phuket Viagrabonds, growing stronger as the tournament progressed, showed that they wouldn’t have it their own way.
The Asian Japanese Dragons, Bedok Kings, Naughty Nuris Vagabonds & the Beaver Nomads would all progress to Sundays Cup quarter finals whilst the rest of the teams would vie for the Bowl & Shield honours.
At 05.30 Sunday morning Scott Mayne of the Melbourne Morrabbin Rams set off on a solo run in an attempt to run 50 km to raise 50,000 baht for the Asia Center Foundation. Not only did he succeed in finishing the run after 6 and a half hours he raised the princely sum of 57,620 baht to be used in the ACF’s bid to build a sports facility at their new school. Well done SCOTT MAYNE a remarkable achievement all round !!
Sundays finals began in brilliant sunshine with the Pattaya Panthers progressing to the Bowl semi finals with a win over the local Thai side the Old man Mix whilst Dubai Wasps, The Gold Coast Barbarians and the Groote Eylandt Mudchooks all made the Bowl Semis. The Old Man Mix, Prince of Songkla, Misfits and Jakarta Komodos all dropped down into the Shield semi finals.
In the Cup quarter finals The Phuket vagabonds found their route to the semis that little bit easier getting a walkover against the Beaver Nomads. East Admiralty clicked into gear beating Bedok Kings 26-5 & the Headhunter Sport Baba’s showed their class to brush aside a strong Asian Japanese side 26-0. The Wanderers gained a walkover against Naughty Nuris Vagabonds who dropped down into the Plate semi final.
Before the finals kicked off The Asia Center Foundation did their annual scholarship childrens presentation with the khatu Wittyalai School Band doing a rendition of the Thai national Anthem. A presentation by the Bangers on Bikes who do an annual bike ride of over a 1000 km in under 5 days to raise funds for the ACF presented their CEO Roelien Muller with a check for 580,000 baht to help with the school. What a great effort which will continue for many years to come.
Leading up to the cup final the Morrabbin Rams won the over 45s, The Bangkok Bangers Belles won the Ladies Cup, The Southerner ladies won the Ladies Plate.
In the Athena Siam Coffin dodgers Vets Cup Final the Morrabbin Rams were beaten by the Gold Coast Barbarians, The Phuket Viagrabonds took the Plate final whilst the Asian Japanese Gold took out the Bowl.
In the Aussie bar Open the Shield went to the Old Man Mix, a great result for the local Thai lads, whilst the Bowl was won by the Gold Coast Barbarians. The Plate final was won by Naughty Nuris Vagabonds to cap a great tournament for the Phuket sides.
A stern test awaited the defending champions the Phuket vagabonds as they took on the East Admiralty Football Club in the Cup Semi Final a game that was exceptional in skill, pace and defence from the off.
The Vagabonds got the first breakthrough to lead by 7 to 0 but the Easts boys fought back to score just after half time to make it 7-5. The 2nd half was even until the final few minutes when the Vagabonds took advantage of a loose pass to score in the corner and win 12-5 to reach the final. The Headhunter Sport Baba’s were handed a walkover in their semi final when the Wanderers couldn’t field a team.
The much anticipated final kicked off in front of an expectant full house with the experienced Baba’s team looking to exert control through their forwards but the solid Vagabonds defence wouldn’t break which resorted in the Babas kicking away possession to Vagabonds sweeper Skinny who ran through from the 22 breaking tackles to score under the posts to give the Vagabonds a slender 7-0 lead. The Headhunters immediately hit back with a sustained period of possession which resulted in a try in the corner. Half time 7-5 and all to play for.
The second half was dominated by some brutal hits and sublime skills by both sides and as it looked like the 7-5 scoreline would be enough to win it a fumble on their own line by the Babas sweeper resulted in another try for the Vagabonds to take control and with the last play of the game the Vagabonds forwards who were immense throughout drove over to score to make sure that the Vagabonds were crowned 2018 Champions and retain the trophy.
The over 45s Vets Player of the Tournament was “Amona Taula” Morrabbin Rams
The Athena Siam Coffin Dodgers Player of the Tournament was “Osaka San” Asian Japanese Dragons Gold
The Hotdog Legend of the Year Award ” Martin Schlonger Williams ” Singapore Bucks.
2018 Player of the Tournament ” Ejike “EDGE” Uzoigwe ” Headhunter Sport Barbarians
This years event among all the happiness was tinged with sadness as we remembered two special people who had made Phuket Rugby & especially the International tens what it is today
Mr Eam Thavornvongwongse 1946-2018 & Maria Elisabeth Cotter 1963-2018. Gone but never forgotten
Many thanks to all the teams and supporters who make this tournament so special.
Without our Sponsors we couldn’t host this event
Athena Siam Co.Ltd
Aussie Bar Phuket
Thanyapura Sports Club
Asia Center Foundation
Phuket International Hospital
SEALS Sports Photography
Jean Luc and all the refs
See you in 2019 !!
2018 Aussie Bar Phuket International Rugby 10s