Lions Winning Start to the Season Continues
By Pat Cotter
Hot and humid conditions welcomed the teams for the third round of the 2020 Chiang Mai Lanna 10s League held at the Sankhampeng Kanta Anusorn School on Saturday 26th September. After all the monsoon rain we have had lately the pitch was in top condition as Payap & the Lions gathered for the kick off of the days first game.
Once again TRU referee Khun Rushpon Ekdamrong who has quickly earned the respect of all the players with his no nonsense approach to the game was on the end of the whistle and, Payap Rugby Club winning the toss, elected to kick off.
Recently returned from injury Payap half Bordin Chairat (Dine) kicked deep into the Lions half where the ball was gathered by Lions Prop Opart who returned strongly running into the heart of the onrushing Payap forwards. The ball was recycled quickly to scrum half Mark Harris who fed fly half Brian Grieve who, seeing Tom Stubley lurking on his shoulder, gave out a quick pass to see Stubley make early inroads into the Payap defense. Powerful carrying by props Brave and Dave McRichie put pressure on the Payap defensive line and another strong lunge at the Payap backs by Stubley resulted in a penalty when Payap went over the top at the breakdown. Grieve who was beginning to impose more as the game went on, sent the resulting penalty deep into the Payap 22 for a line out. The resulting throw was claimed by Stanton who passed off the top to hooker Paul Bolwell on the wrap around who straightened play with a powerful drive up the middle. Prop Opart received the ball from the breakdown to set up play on the Payap 22 before Harris got Grieve on the front foot who charged to the line breaking a couple of tackles before being hauled down illegally and gaining the Lions an attacking penalty. Lions captain McRichie immediately calling for the scrum. Receiving the ball from Harris, Grieve attacked the backline, drew in two defenders and created an overlap for Dtun to canter down the line for the first score of the day.
Having been on the backfoot since the kick off Payap knew they had to respond and on regaining the dropout drove towards the 22 only for influential prop Thanapol Kaewmanee (James) to be bundled into touch and picking up a shoulder injury which ruled him out for the rest of the match. From the Lions defensive lineout Grieve was smashed in the tackle and the resulting turnover saw Payap move the ball through their backs who set up a ruck 10 meters out where Rowan Carroll picked up and went over the line for his first try for the club.
The game was being played at a frantic pace and both teams were feeling the heat. From the kick off Payap again regained possession and drove into the lions half only to knock the ball on where Dtun gathered the loose ball and went off on one of his jinking runs which looked like producing another score only to be hauled down 10 meters out by Thawiwat Khakhai (Palm) with a brilliant covering tackle. Stanton in support got the ball from the breakdown and went over unopposed to make it 2 – 1. Despite the setback Payap were growing in confidence and their chase from the kick offs was causing the Lions all sorts of problems and Stanton knocked on into touch after after being hit hard by Carroll and Chaipipath Na Chiang Mai ( Robert ) who was having tremendous game. From the scrum Palm fed out to Pepper who with direct running carved open the Lions defense to send Deeprom Foofong clear to score. Both sides were happy to hear the whistle for the break 2-2.
At the restart the Lions’ experience began to tell and with the introduction of Kiwi Phil Gwyther they began to dominate proceedings with Grieve, who was a thorn in the Payap defense, constantly probing for openings. A turnover from a promising Payap attack by Bordine (Dine) and Thanapat Pattanapo (Pee Tor) deep into Lions territory saw Stubley crash through the defense from the resulting scrum and gallop towards the line only to be hauled down short where a Payap knock on at the breakdown gave the Lions a 5 metre scrum. Grieve at scrum half passed to a charging Stubley who pounded over for the Lions third. A couple of minutes later Stubley was on the board again charging out of his own 22 to go the length of the field for his second and lions fourth. Coming to the break Tom Stubley was on fire and should have had his hattrick after great support play by Phil Gwyther and Dtun, only to be denied when the AR adjudged he had touched the chalk when going over in the corner.
The final session got underway with Payap feeling the pressure and upping their game to try and salvage something from the match. The Lions, visibly wilting with the heat and humidity, were given more breathing space when a Payap dropped ball in the Lions half allowed Dtun to gather and hare off for his second and the Lions fifth of the day. This Payap side however never give up and hit back immediately when Scrum Half Thawiwat Khakhai (Palm) went down the blindside from a scrum before side stepping Dtun to race in for Payap’s third. With the clock ticking down direct running from Pepper opened up the Lions again with Thanapat Pattanapo (Pee Tor) freeing up Nattarath Limp to go in for Payaps bonus point try. Time had run out however for Payap and referee Rushpon brought the match to an end.
Maximum points for the Lions who sit atop of the table going into the 2 week break. Payap did themselves proud and picked up two bonus points and but for a couple of mistakes that led to Lions scores could have produced an upset.
Man of the Match
2020 Chiang Mai Lanna Rugby 10’s League Table
Next Fixtures 17th October 2020
|Home Team||V||Away Team|
|CMU Rugby Club||V||Payap Rugby Club|
|Lanna Lions||V||TNSU CMI Rugby|
TNSU CMI Rugby Hold On For Maiden Win
In the second match of the day TNSU CMI took on the CMU Rugby Club. Both teams had shown promise in the earlier games and CMU had held off TNSU in the first game of the season so their was eager anticipation amongst the travelling support of TNSU that they could at least match their illustrious opponents.
CMU kicked off but as has been the case in their other games TNSU came out fast and immediately put pressure on CMU with their speedy backs taking the ball to the line and probing for openings. Solid carries by the big boys up the middle saw TNSU set up good field position only for the ball to be lost at the breakdown and CMU counterattacking down the left but the CMU back was stripped in the tackle and TNSU sensed their opportunity as they spread the ball wide to wing N.Tasak who shrugged off the tackle of Josh Lim to barge over in the corner despite tacklers trying to hold him up. Josh Lim, the CMU captain and leading inspiration to the team had to leave the field with a shoulder injury. A big blow for CMU. CMU responded strongly and after TNSU lost a player to a yellow card when slowing down a quick penalty CMU came close to scoring but couldn’t break down a resolute TNSU defense.
TNSU started the next stanza strongly in some classy forwards and backs interplay saw them get to within 10 metres of the CMU line. A crashing cover tackle by the CMU fullback resulted in a knock on and gave CMU the chance to clear their lines. From the scrum the half back took the blindside route and made good ground reaching the half way before a desperate tackle brought him down which resulted in a turnover for TNSU who used their pace to breakthrough open play to score in the far corner when M. charoenphol dived over.
TNSU in total control at this point and were bossing the breakdown but for all the possesion couldnt break the CMU defense who gave themselves a fighting chance when after a quick counter attack Piri went over. All that hard work was undone when a surge up the middle was turned over and a quick counter by the CNSU backs saw S. Kunkaewchai race away to put them 3-1 up.
Just as the final period started the rain which had been threatening arrived and the slippery ball made handling difficult and a mistake by CMU saw P. Samerjai breakaway to all but seal the game and get the bonus point for CNSU. Taking your foot off the peddle can be a dangerous game in sport and CNSU almost paid the price when Aoddy went in for a quick double to reduce the deficit to one try to make for a nervy last couple of minutes but the time ran out for CMU and TNSU recorded their first win of the season.
As teams go in for the fortnight break they can reflect on missed opportunities but the standard of play has improved game by game and will no doubt keep getting better leaving us with the anticipation of more competitive games to come.