Southerners V Bangkok Bangers Colts

The 33 Cup is a celebration of rugby contested between two of Bangkok’s leading expat teams whose Clubhouses are both based in Soi 33 of Sukhumvit road; The Bangers calling Wall St Bar home while the Southerners residing in the “Bat Cave” at the Londoner Pub. 2007 marks the inaugural contest and comes as the Southerners are at the end of a good season and the Bangers are on a high after some good results and a win over Southerners in an earlier practice match.

Southerners were extremely pumped up for this contest and prepared well. Having been beaten previously in a dead rubber and the match marking the final game in the Black, Green and Gold for at least two stalwarts – Bob Ball and Graham Orr – there was no shortage of motivation.

After an early knock-on on the goal line by usually reliable Wagga, the boys found themselves under pressure. Some fantastic defense saw them hold the Bangers out as they played the ball in close and tried to barrack and barge over. Some hard core tackles from Baron Perkins and Reed Passmore made sure there was nowhere to go on the edge of the ruck and the Bangers had no answers in attack. Through strong scrummaging and good ball retention the boys worked their way out of trouble and started to put it together. Sustained pressure through good field position and running rugby sparked by fly-half Passmore saw the Southerners pressuring Bangers line. Some rolling forward play orchestrated by Momo Calver and supported by Orr, Ball, Pape and company finally worked us into a beautiful position and Skinny Anderson at half finally pushed it wide to Passmore who flung a cut out pass to Kirk Kahu who fed it on to Wagga for a simple two on one dummy and strolled over for the first try. The conversion was successful and the Southerners were up 7-nil.

Southerners knew what game plan they had to play and played it well to soon again seeing us pressuring the Bangers in the mid field. Constant counter attacking by Kahu, Wagga, Callum and Jac and company at the back was opening up gaps. Eventually some quick turn over ball, no doubt after some hard work by Pretorius, Gadd and Perkins at the breakdown as usual saw the ball go wide from Passmore to Jac who found space with 40 out. He made no mistake and duly smoked anyone who attempted to cover defend. Another spot on conversion and Southerners were looking strong at 14-nil after 20mins.

The Bangers who are a team of veterans mixed with youth always play to their strengths which lie in the forwards. After some serious mid field defence which rattled the Southerners (rattled Wagga’s ribs) and galvanized the Bangers, they started to find their rhythm. They turned over ball and retained it well. Rolling mauls and some silly penalties by the boys in black meant Bangers pressured the line for the rest of the half. Southerners blew one chance as Mike Gadd, who had been everywhere doing everything as open side dropped the ball over the try line after a great lead up play by forwards. Amazing desperation defence by all forwards and especially Skinny Anderson around the ruck held the Bangers scoreless till the bell.

The second half started as the first ended. Southerners wasted chances when they had them, which wasn’t often, and put themselves under pressure giving away penalties and two yellow cards to leave us short and under pressure. Some excellent short side play, counter attack kicking and ball retention from the Bangers had them all over the Southerners. Again desperate defence held on until about the 15th minute when the Bangers went over out wide. The kick sailed wide and the scores were 14-5. More pressure and with Southerners a man down, Bangers again went over with a few minutes left, again out wide but failed to convert and the score remained 14-10.

Southerners did enough to win and are deserved 33 Cup holders. Bangers for their part played some great footy at all times in good spirits. A sizeable and vocal crowd thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle and both teams eagerly look forward to next year’s competition.

Post match festivities featured frommelling, sculling, anthem singing, vomiting and more´┐Ż

Chris ‘Wagga’ Doherty

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