Picture the scene, – 38 degrees plus another ten for humidity, late afternoon at Patana School in Bangkok, the Bangkok International Tens Shield final…. Dynamiters bodies lie bedraggled all over the main pitch as the Royal Thai Air Force , young, fit and very well coached, hammer the final nail in the Dynamiter coffin with their 6th try… Moose Lumb – all 130 kgs of him is the most prominent body lying there…(if we had two of him would it be two “Meese??)…. A game too far for the Dynamiters…. With an average age of 46 (despite two 21 year olds and a sprightly 32 year old), it was always going to be tough to beat such a good side – that after 6 games in 2 days of searing heat and an incredulously large amount of beer consumed by the boys in 3 preceding fines meetings (perhaps Martin Tucker consumed about 30%, but nonetheless…).. So were we disgraced? – not a chance…. The true spirit of Dynamiters rugby was recognised in being awarded the “Most festive team” trophy – out of all 32 teams in the open division!! Teams which included many top level NZ and other players, the standard being so high that even Bob Skinstad’s star studded, provincial player laden Jam Boys, got knocked out of the cup event in the semi’s
It was a very well organised event and fantastic to be part of it… after the Veterans division was full, the request came for the Dynamiters to play in the open section – 8 pools of 4 teams… In a format not too dissimilar to the sevens circuit, only the top team in each division would advance to the Cup / Plate play-offs, with the pool runners up being the next tier and contesting the Bowl / Shield… To ensure everyone played on day 2, Positions 3 and 4 in every pool played in the “Jug”, “Tankard”, “Mug” and “Tea Cup” sections!!!
As comfortably the oldest (age-wise) team in the open Division, not much was expected of the Dynamiters, but two hard fought wins on day one, 10-5 over Manila Nomads ( who were probably the “oldest” team we played at an average age in the lower thirties…) and Bangkok University, also 10-5, saw the Dynamiters in contention to top the pool… The final pool game was against one of the tournament favourites, the New Zealand Legends, a group of First league club players from the Canterbury area, one of who whom we were told, had a cap for Canterbury! They were also previous cup winners of the BI Tens, so no extra motivation was needed for this game , and the Dynamiters flew into their opposition and actually disrupted them at ruck time, to the extent that the half time score was only 10-0 to the Kiwis… However, as the injury bogey (partly age-inflicted as usual…) started playing a role, we could not match the pace and all round skill of the youngsters, and we lost 15-0… still… to end 2nd in our pool was quite something and we then found ourselves in the Bowl quarter finals the next day against Japanese club Sumitomo – an unknown quantity
Sunday 1 March dawned with a spattering of fines/beer inflicted Dynamiter hangovers, but the boys knew they had to lift themselves another day… Sumitomo, like all of our opponents on day 3 were not that big, but incredibly athletic and pacey, so our game plan had to be clever.. By now the “day 2” injury bogey had claimed the Super rugby experienced Basil De Coning (Hamstring gone in game 1), Bullocking Morne Lamont (also game I – lower calf injury)“Clive Rice” Thomas – mangled eye from the Kiwi game, and one of our quicker wings – Jason Sanders, to a knee injury… Perennial stalwarts Dino Peros (groin) and Shaunie DJ (some sort of injury which miraculously disappeared when we needed him ;-)) were also not at full pace, so more and more reliance was placed on youngsters Condog Ray, Lukie Kuhn and “Burstie” Crowther – our scrumhalf who also had a badly bruised hand!
A game which could have been won was lost 22-14, and whilst not making excuses at all, a terrible forward pass lead to Sumitomo’s first try (in the ref’s defence he was unsighted).. a Dynamiter error lead to the opposition’s second try, but the boys showed big guts to fight back and make a solid game of it…
This meant we were in the Shield section, and were we to lose our Shield semi, well then we would be out, and an early fines meeting would have been on the cards!!!…. However, the lads dug deep to eke out a 12-0 win over another Japanese team, Gakushi, which was of almost exactly the same quality as Sumitomo!
Then came the Shield final against Royal Thai Air Force, and despite borrowing a few quality Jam Boys (all of whom have played for the Dynamiters before!) to cover our walking wounded – Laurence, Boerie Botha and Hammies boy Denton, the lads could not summon any more energy, and mistake after mistake meant that we got drilled 42-5 – beaten but by no means disgraced!
The new Dynamiters all added incredible value all round – THANK YOU to Morne (of Riverside Auto – please chat to him re your next used car buy ;-)), Basil, Burstie, Lukie, Jason Sanders and Conor… You guys slotted in seamlessly.. As did TV pin-up and Hammies Old Boy – back to his roots Marius, great to have him back where he belongs… To Dennis who turned out in the Ancients game with aplomb – your contribution in every aspect is cherished, and to Snowy – may you carry on playing as well as you do for as long as Dennis has!! You guys inspire us all!
To able lieutenants Dixie and Tux, another great team effort, and also to the Spot, who not only had a magic moment or two on the field, but ran the fines meetings with usual gay abandon and created a great vibe with Tux.. The regular guys – well played in every aspect – proud to be your team mates.
Forgive me for a quick personal note – an absolute privilege to play with my son, who earned Dynamiter player of the day award on day 1 and also overall Dynamiter player of the tournament (he should at only 21 years old!!!)…Beks was deserved player of the day on day 2 and top try scorer!!….. Lukie, Justin and Marius were also contenders for these awards… But every Dynamiter did his bit – even Rufus the bear…