Pattaya Rugby Report - Raimon Land Chris Kays Pattaya International 10’s 2007
Horseshoe Point

The eighth running of the Chris Kays Memorial Rugby Tournament took place on the 5th & 6th May 2007 at the magnificent setting of The Horseshoe Point Resort, which despite the weeklong rain was in near perfect condition. With the sponsorship of Raimon Land the Tournament reception was held in fine style at the Northpoint Development and this set the tone for the whole weekend.

This year’s tournament saw a feast of great play from all the teams who took part.

The Ladies touch tournament was very hotly contested both on and off the field. Tournament newcomers the Nomads Bullettes from the Philippines were particularly impressive and in their first overseas tour they finished as runners up to the very experienced Southerners Ladies from Thailand.

The girls from the IPS Stars, who are all studying at Physical Training College, also impressed with their fitness and energy and were fine performers despite finishing empty handed. A mention should be made of the hometown ladies The Pattaya Panties whose numbers have been decimated by transfers and maternity calls, they played gallantly with many first timers in their ranks and improved with every game. If they can keep this spirit alive then next year they could be vying for honours.

This years Men’s tournament had less international representation than in past years. This is in part due to the rising popularity of the 10’s form of the game - the Jakarta 10’s being staged on the same weekend. The quality of the rugby however was not affected with last year’s winners the Ratcha Navy returning to defend their crown and there were some very special displays during the weekend.

All likely protagonists assembled at Horseshoe Point at 9:30am on the Saturday morning and the organizers tent was besieged by team captains anxious to know when their turn would be to take to the green sward. Unflappable as ever, tournament organizer Graham Macdonald with his dour assistant Wayne “ Blowfly “ Oganoski sorted out the schedule and some teams were chivvied along and others were told to be patient.

Eventually everybody was calmed down and play commenced under the control of David Viccars and his merry band of referees including Peter Tann and Dougie Shearer from Hong Kong, Bruce Birchall from U. K., Chris Donovan and Dave Williams and of course our contingent of referees from the Thailand Rugby Union, Khun Thamanoon, Khun Amorn and Khun Chaiyan. Testament to their performance is that none of them were drowned in the pool on Sunday night!

There were fourteen teams and Saturday’s games were played in a round-robin format to determine the ranking for the various competitions. Apart from the one minor downpour conditions were perfect, and hard and fast running rugby was the order of the day.

The opening game saw, as is now tradition, the home team Pattaya’s own Panthers hosting last year’s winners. Jim Howard, the Panther’s chairman, kicked off the opener to start the 2007 tournament, and made way for captain Eoin Quirke to lead the Panthers onwards.

There were strong performances from the Southerners Gold, the British Club and the Ratcha Navy with Nang Len and the Tanner de Wit Nomads from Hong Kong threatening to gatecrash the cup party. The Bangkok Japanese and the Vientiane Buffaloes looked likely contenders for the plate along with the hosts the Pattaya Panthers.

After a hard day’s play, cooling off in the pool was obligatory and then it was off on the Quaic with all of the teams determined to outdo the others with their outfits, performances and drinking and generally to take a good look at the offerings of Pattaya’s famed nightlife.

The center of the Quaic activities was Kilkenny Irish Pub on Walking Street and some 250 rugby players crowded onto the back patio ensured the day’s camaraderie continued late into the evening with old acquaintances renewed and many new ones formed. Fine performances were seen, but nobody could match the Nomads Bullettes. These ladies clad in their ‘Babydolls’ were well choreographed and expertly led by Claire Barberis and Marl Bland. They were a delight to behold and will surely be back next year to defend their partying title.

As the order of play was in some doubt, everybody was at the Point early on Sunday - some looking very much the worse for wear. Partying had definitely taken it’s toll in general but on the home side in particular who were very short on resources (and these guys are supposed to know what it is all about!!)

Tired limbs were anointed and strapped and the final stages of qualification finally got under way and many first time losers were surprised to find that they then had to play more games than if they had won. Again there were some superb performances and some very close encounters with not a few surprises.

In the Ladies tournament the Southerners rolled over everybody, much as expected, and finally defeated the Nomads Bullettes A in a closely fought final. Special mention should be given to The IPS Stars and the Panties who both played their hearts out. We were also treated to a demonstration of Ladies contact rugby played between the Thailand National squad and a Bucks / Blacks combination from Singapore and there certainly was plenty of contact!! The ladies player of the tournament was Ludy Lacrosse from the Southerners.

Over on the main pitch the men ground their way through a very heavy schedule that finally weeded the weak from the strong. The Cup quarterfinals saw some very good and hard games and eventually Ratcha Navy, Bangkok Bangers Colts, Kasetsart University and Southerners Gold progressed to the semi finals, which arguably produced the finest rugby of all with Southerners Gold sending the Navy to sea and the Old Bangers sending Kasetsart U back to the classroom. This gave us a cracking final in which youth and superior fitness eventually triumphed over age and experience. The people’s favourites Southerners Gold, well mothered by Neily Weily emerging as Cup Champions.

In the Plate it was obvious that new team Nang Len and ex Champions British Club would set the pace, however Tanner de Witt Nomads had other ideas and despite having to delay their departure to play in the final, they dispensed with the British Club and then narrowly failed to capture the ultimate prize when they lost to Nang Len in a very tense and tight game.

The marathon of the tournament was to battle all the way to the Bowl Final and the semi finals of the Bowl saw the eclipse of the hosts and the Bangkok Japanese, leaving Southerners Black and the Vientiane Buffaloes to battle for the long distance prize and it was very fitting that the Buffaloes should emerge as the Bowl Champions.

After the final whistle had blown the presentations were made to all trophy winners by Jim Howard the Chairman of Pattaya Panthers RFC assisted by Henri Young the Marketing Director of Raimon Land.

The best Player of the Tournament was presented to Chris “ Wagga “ Doherty from the Southerners Gold and the Chris Kays Award for the person contributing most to the tournament on and off the field was awarded to Marl Bland from the Nomads Bullettes.

The organizers, Jim Howard, Eoin Quirke and Mark Coombs would like to extend a sincere vote of thanks all the players, supporters and sponsors - Raimon Land, MBMG International, AGS Four Winds, Hamptons International, G4Ssecuricor, Mackenzie Smith Law, Millfield School, K - Tech, Cranes & Equipment Asia Ltd., Contract Resources and of course Horseshoe Point for supplying the venue and the Pattaya Mail for printing the tournament programme.

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