The First Rugby Torrrre for 2006 was embraced by a merry band of 13 gracing the jewel of the north Chiang Mai. Although known for its rich history, art and culture (which is also important to the Southerners) CM is also home to many nightclubs and the mighty CM Sua’s Rugby Club. A perfect host city for the Torrre!

A small group of die hards continued the trend of Friday night train trip (vis a vis Laos) but a band of a few less inspired by the Lonely Planet-esk nature of such a journey opted for budget air travel. Friday night saw a reccy mission engaged by 4 of the troupe on arrival… MOM Black, Ultan The Brokeback Cowboy, the ever styled Rich Perkins and Harmston… there was cabaret, more cabaret (all good clean fun I might add) and as a fitting finale to the night… an awesome display from the Cowboy demonstrating his prowess as a champion Irish/Canadian hurler (even put Doran to shame).

Saturday morning adjournment to pre-game rub down from CM’s finest massage aunties got the morning off to a positive start. By the time we arrived at the home ground of the Sua’s we were ready for action.

On the field Southerners ground out an impressive 17-5 win with tries to Perkins, MOM Black and Harmston (after an 11 year hiatus from the game I might add) but a team effort was the key to success… the forwards: consistent winning of line-out ball (Jean M), a notable 40m rolling mall and strong pick & drive support play… the backs: a good kicking game, solid defence in the centres (Cowboy, Bai, Sod) and 2 tries forged from backline passing play.

Court session presided over by Judge Judy Jones back at the Downtown Inn got the evening off to a well oiled opening. The welcome mat was thrown out by our gracious hosts at the UN Irish Bar which featured no less than the dinner/ trophy presentation and then (from my memory) order of events… vodka jugs, arm wrestling competition, shooters, break dancing competition, shooters, darts competition, shooters, and an important “rite of passage” on a Southerner on tour – the ‘Mossy Chokehold’. From here it was a 20 person ride in the back of a Ute to Horizons nightclub where things got a little crazy. Let none further be written but let it be said, out of all bad must come some good – the birth of the CM Torrrre cry:

“I fight for Southerners! Where is My Captain?”

If not enough action for the weekend the following day saw the Southerners Rugby sides debut on the cricket field… the Cowboy made an excellent batting debut accompanied at the crease by North American counterparts Rollin and Andy. The Rugby boys again ground out another win against the local CM side.

The inaugural Chiang Cok Cup match was well supported by Southerners fraternity with special mentions to Vaughny and the Colonel for their ever-present support to the boys on and off the field for the entire weekend. Secondly a big cheers to organiser Cam Sinclair who orchestrated a seamless weekend and a torrre not to be missed when it comes around next.

Footnote: The Chiang Cok Cup is currently undergoing some repairs (after putting in a solid Saturday night) but will appear in the cabinet sometime soon.

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