Chiang Mai Cobras v CMU Purple/Blacks
Round 6 of the Dimbulla Estate CNX Rugby 11’s League got underway at the Chiang Mai University ground with a couple of mouthwatering clashes. The first game was between top of the table Chiang Mai Cobras and the improving CMU Purple/Blacks. The second game was what could be a season defining match between joint top teams, the Chiang Mai All Stars & the Lanna Rugby Club. With both teams sitting on 15 points and separated by points difference it promised to be an intriguing encounter.
Cobras v Purple Blacks got underway, with the CMU team looking to build on their recent success at the TRU regional 7s tournament held in Chiang Rai. The CMU kick off went too deep and resulted in a Cobras scrum on halfway. Returning Cobras scrum half Dameon May immediately got the backs moving with Jono Nunn feeding Pop Borwornpak Boonrueng who stepped his way through a static defense, to score under the posts, with Boss Jantarajumnong converting.
Cobras were looking good but some midfield indiscretions let the CMU lads get field position and a kick over the top, saw Dtun get the ball and side step the cover, to score under the posts. Dechathorn Sumranjai (Noom) added the extras and it was all square 7-7. The Cobras were looking a bit disjointed and it took a moment of brilliant play, by Rory McLaughlin, drawing in the defense, before offloading to Pop Borwornpak Boonrueng who again got his stepping going, to score under the posts. Boss missed the conversion. 12-7 Cobras at the break.
The Cobras came out in a more determined fashion and immediately put the Blacks under pressure. Some big carries in midfield by Kong, McRitchie & Folk got them to within 10 metres and Dameon May did the rest, taking the ball from the back of the breakdown and forcing his way over, under the posts. Boss Jantarajumnong converted and it was 19-7 Cobras. The Purple/Blacks came right back, when a scrum in the Cobras 22, was picked up by player/coach Nisachai Ball Maneesai and he drove over the covering defender, to score. Dechathorn Sumranjai (Noom) kicked from the sideline to bring it back to 19-14 Cobras. A competitive period of rugby ended, with Kon Papadopoulos getting the better of the defense, and going in for the bonus point try, to make it 24-14, at halftime.
Second half kicked off and with the game bogged down midfield in Cobras’ half, Rory McLaughlin, again created the spark and broke through, to run 70 metres for a brilliant solo score, under the posts. Boss again missed the kick. 29-14 Cobras. The Cobras were on a roll and strong forward play got them into opposition half and Jono Nunn, showed his strength to smash through the defense and score his maiden try for the club. May missed the kick. 34-14 Cobras.
Dameon May rolled back the years, when the kick off went dead. Taking the ball from the base of the scrum and outpacing the defender to score in the corner. Kick missed. 39-14. The CMU lads weren’t finished yet and a tight head scrum saw scrum half Toprit go in under the posts and with Noon converting it was 39-21 Cobras. Pongporn Piboonsri (Folk) went in from close range as Cobras closed out the period 44-21.
A second try for Kon Papadopoulos and a bonus point try by Tiger zz (lang) for CMU saw out the game for a Cobras 49-26 win.
Chiang Mai All Stars v Lanna Rugby Club
The second game was a crunch encounter and with the All Stars fielding a strong side and Lanna coming off a loss in their previous game, it was all to play for. It got off to the worst possible start for Lanna when the kick off went astray down the middle and the big All-Star forwards smashed it up before offloading to Nuttanun Junkeaw, who sold an outrageous dummy to score the opening try. Chatchanan Piaesupong kicked the extras. 7-0 All Stars. A mix up in midfield from their own scrum by the All Stars gifted a try to Sarawut Pengsannoo and with the kick going over it was 7-7. A hectic start to the game! After some sustained pressure from the All-Stars pack, scrum half Pudis Sangsuwan wriggled his way through to score with Akekamon Manesai adding the extras. 14-7 All Stars.
The second period saw the All Stars on attack as their powerful forwards started to dominate. A Lanna penalty 15 metres out from their own line gave the AS an attacking platform that was utilized as ChaKrist JaRuwan, bashed his way over after good work by the props to extend the AS lead to 19-7. This is a good Lanna side and they hit back immediately from a scrum on halfway. Felix Jones played an inside ball as Jamie Pell ran a great line to carve open the AS defense and score under the sticks. Converting it was 19-14 and the game in the balance.
Once again, the AS came back, putting the pressure back on Lanna as they knocked on from the restart. From the scrum the ball went left before coming back right and Chatchanan Piaesupong showed his strength, breaking through tackles to dive over for the bonus point try. 24-14 AS.
With Lanna finding it difficult to retain possession and the infringements mounting, frustration began to set in. This accumulated in Tom Stubly being yellow carded for an off the ball shoulder charge followed by a high tackle. From the resulting penalty, a strong lineout drive saw AS scrumhalf Pudis Sangsuwan go in for his second. This was quickly followed by Chatchanan Piaesupong getting his second of the match after some strong carries in midfield by the forwards, to set up the score. There was still time for Felix Jones to get a consolation score for Lanna as they finished strongly in a losing cause. Final score All Stars 34 Lanna 19.
The defeat for Lanna has seriously dented their chance of winning the league, with the All Stars now in the driving seat. With the next game coming up against the Chiang Mai Cobras, the All Stars could all but seal the deal with a win.
Dimbulla Estate CNX Rugby 11’s League Table
14th October 2023
Chiang Mai University Ground
Lanna Rugby Club v CMU Gallant
Chiang Mai All Stars V CMU Purple/Blacks