The much anticipated ‘first 15’s game of the season’ between Southerners, Bangkok and The Nomads from Hong-Kong took place on June 7th at Bangkok Patana School fields. It was a stunning day and the huge thermometer next to the toll way at Lad Phrao read: 38 degrees Celsius.

This game was even more significant as it was the last (second to last we have now been informed) game for two of our old stalwarts, Jon “Muscles” Miselbach and Paul “Lucky” Livesey. They have been awesome club men and have contributed much to this club. Their presence on and off the field will be sorely missed.

The boys arrived nice and early(ish) to begin the warm-up by having a laugh at Wagga, (already hung-over after a night out) who got hit in the head with a football twice in two minutes by some clowns ‘trying’ to warm up for a football match. Needless to say, that ball ended up on the other side of the grounds. Warm-up was completed and Southerners were planning to play the lightest loose-forward trio in the history of ex-pat rugby, with Skinny and Jac as flankers and Carl as number eight. Following the warm-up, Skinny was duly informed that half of the Nomad’s team had gotten lost in translation/a taxi somewhere in Bangkok.

Nomads ended up having 11 players and there was much debate as to whether we should play 11’s, 12’s or 13’s. Some of the boys from Southerners put up their hands to play for Nomads, and 12′ with four 10 minute quarters was decided on. Southerners one-off dynamic loose-forward trio was disbanded and Jac was chucked back out on the wing.

From the kick-off it was clear that Southerners was going to dominate this encounter. Our forwards secured very good go-forward ball for the backs who carved it up scoring within the first two or three minutes. This continued for much of the first quarter with Nomads hardly in the game. In the second quarter however, Nomads rallied and managed to cross for a well deserved try after some good build up work. Southerners then picked up from where they left off and scored a couple of length of the field tries through some great line-breaks from fly-half Reed with support from his outsides. The third quarter provided much entertainment for the spectators as Jon Miselbach made a clean break up the center of the field with acres of space in front of him. However, Kirk Kahu, a Southerner filling in for the Nomads was determined to spoil the leaving party for Jon. Shutting him down with centimeters to spare before the try line. Jon made a last-gasp effort to reach out and score but only managed to tie himself in a knot and knock the ball forward. Ten years ago Kirk wouldn’t have even gotten close. Late in the fourth quarter Nomads once again rallied and managed to score. However, by that time everyone had stopped counting the score as Southerners had well and truly run away with the match. After the game Southerners formed the traditional tunnel and clapped off The Nomads.

Some special mentions must go out to players for outstanding performances. Our new scrum-half (ex-Queensland Red) Hooey was inspirational with his pin-point passes and quick footwork. Paul “Lucky” Livesey was a concrete wall at inside-center also scoring a try to cap a fitting swan-song. Jon “Muscles” Miselbach smashed the opposing forwards, making powerful surges through the middle. At one point, going straight over the top of one of the Nomad’s props. This prop was arguably the heaviest man on the pitch by some stretch. Jac popped up all over the radar to score four tries with some great speed and support work.

Post-game fines and beers went down at the Bat Cave in the Londoner. There was a great turn-out with almost all The Southerner’s turning up. Momo even managed to make a special appearance before leaving for Singapore the next day. The Hong-Kong boys had been invited but didn’t arrive until later. The night of the 7th also happened to have the South African’s playing the Welsh at Bloemfontein, live. Despite some foul language from Darrel as the Welsh capitulated to yet another defeat by the World Champions, the game was very warmly received by most. As it was Jon and Paul’s last game the team had to turn up with a fact about Jersey (Paul) and The Isle of Wight (Jon). Some highly debatable facts were voiced and everybody reveled in what was a great atmosphere. Just when people were beginning to wonder where those Nomads had gotten to they all rolled in, shouted The Southerner’s a few beer towers and named Jon their player of the day. What a great way to start the 15’s season.

Special thanks must go out once again to Skinny for organising this game for Southerners.

Jac Wardrope

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