On the weekend of May 4 and 5, a flock of Southerners and supporters descended on the historic beach town of Pattaya to participate in (and win) the annual Chris Kays Memorial Tournament. Those that came to drink, play, drink, and spectate were treated to a weekend of entertainment, drama, and an expectedly strong Southerners showing.

As dawn broke over Bangkok’s Nana entertainment district on Saturday the 4th, bleary-eyed Southerners assembled in the midst of equally bleary-eyed pensioner expats, both dreaming of catching a bit of magic in Pattaya in the near future. The bus ride itself provided entertainment and drama, as a series of delays provided a perfectly dangerous venue for some of our backs to practice fielding high kicks among moving vehicles at the gas station. The Adams (big and little) had an especially strong showing, as big Adam unveiled some freshly waxed eyebrows, and both of them donned their new body armour (necessary for those not man enough to play au naturale.)

Arriving fashionably late but even more fashionably focused, the Southerners took on a squad of seasoned scoundrels, and piled up points after Alex Bache broke the ice with our first try of the tournament. After a short rest, the Southerners (bolstered by a majority of northern hemisphere players) took on a smaller, quicker and younger team from Surin, and secured another victory.

Playing against the host Pattaya Panthers in their third match, the Southerners once again put forth a strong effort. Their victory in a tight contest was sullied, however, by the single most cowardly act seen all weekend. Known as “the kick heard ‘round the world”, little (Canadian) Adam let his emotions get the better of him and kicked a man who was—according to some reports—begging for mercy, and possibly also trying to support several adopted children and promote awareness by distributing Kony 2012 stickers.  As a result of his despicable loss of control, little Adam was barred from playing for the entire day. Thankfully, we were told there were other hookers available (is it Pattaya after all).

The 4th match was won in a harder than expected game against a well organized Kamatsart uni team, and in the fifth and final match of the day, the Southerners had already secured the top record with their 4 victories. The “saving it for tomorrow” mentality was no more apparent than in the selection of myself, a primitive Canadian, to play in the centres. Needless to say, we lost, but it was dark outside, most spectators were drunk by that point anyways.

After getting the rugby out of the way, the squad and supporters got on with the real attraction, getting paralytic on some Thai whiskey and beer on the pedestrian-friendly streets of Pattaya—after a fine session, of course. Led by skipper Bell, an astonishing but well-deserved number of fines were doled out. Highlights included Tristan and Bleasy being fined for the general weakness of their bodies, American Jim passing out in a fountain, and pilot Adam throwing up on the pool deck.  After the fines, the night included the requisite flaming unicorn ritual, national anthem session, and a memorable “Chicago Store” rendition, which was underscored by the intellectual contributions of the resident Doctor Anthony (Eaton Out was a top punch line).

After the climax of Saturday night, the Southerners hardened up for battle once again thanks to Belly’s memorable “no fun” speech on the bus on Sunday morning. With blood alcohol levels far beyond the recommended level, the Southerners avenged their only loss on Saturday by beating the Chiang Mai Suas which featured a bandaged man and a tall blonde guy.

With such an impressive record, the Bangkok Southerners had earned themselves a spot in the Major Cup Final. Unfortunately, a few of our mistakes, gave the Thai Barbarians the small advantage they needed to take control of the match. In a hard-fought battle, tempers flared, and little Adam even verbally harangued the referee to the point of being sin binned. While our noble lads showed flashes of brilliance in the final, the end result was a 10-7 loss. Thankfully, all participants were rewarded with a 3 hour bath in a resort pool filled with sweat, beer, urine and 100 rugby players.

Thanks to Darrel, Zorba, Lord and Timbo for all their admin organising the tour, as well as all the female Southerners, and ‘waterboys/medics/nutritionists’ who came along to support us. Also many thanks to the organisers of the Chris Kays Memorial Pattaya 10s – it’s a tournament that gets better and better every year, and one the Southerners always look forward to attending.

By: Joe P.

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