Pattaya Rugby Festival kicks-off this weekend

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The weekend May 5-6 will see the 12th staging of the Amari Orchid Pattaya Chris Kays Memorial Rugby 10’s Tournament at Horseshoe Point Resort, and organizer Jim Howard is confident the 2012 edition will be one of the best events yet staged at this splendidly appointed venue on the outskirts of Pattaya.

“We aim this year to provide a more family based tournament, so there will be attractions to cater for wives, girlfriends and the children while the boys have their fun on the field.  Horseshoe Point has fantastic facilities and offers something for everyone,” said Jim at a press conference held at title sponsors the Amari Orchid Tower & Resort on April 25 to announce this year’s event.

Standing center (L-R) – Girana Anuman-rajadhon, CEO and director of Horseshoe Point, David Cumming, General Manager of Amari Orchid Resort & Tower, Pattaya, tournament organizer Jim Howard, and Pratheep (Peter) Malhotra, MD of the tournament media sponsors Pattaya Mail Media Group, are joined by Pattaya Panther’s players at the official press conference held April 25 at the Amari Orchid Resort & Tower. Standing center (L-R) – Girana Anuman-rajadhon, CEO and director of Horseshoe Point, David Cumming, General Manager of Amari Orchid Resort & Tower, Pattaya, tournament organizer Jim Howard, and Pratheep (Peter) Malhotra, MD of the tournament media sponsors Pattaya Mail Media Group, are joined by Pattaya Panther’s players at the official press conference held April 25 at the Amari Orchid Resort & Tower.

Also present at the press conference were several of the host club Pattaya Panther’s players very smartly decked out in the team’s new strip, especially designed for this year’s tournament – think Pink Panthers and you won’t be far off the mark.  The club’s new merchandise will be on sale over the 2 days of the tournament to allow rugby followers to kit themselves out and show some support for the local lads.

A full list of the teams competing had yet to be finalized at press time but expect a strong showing of Bangkok based sides to be bolstered by several from the provinces and a number of overseas outfits and players dropping in to chance their arm at glory on the field and also enjoy the delights of Pattaya and its environs over the weekend.

Expect some top rugby action from both the juniors and seniors this weekend at Horseshoe Point. Expect some top rugby action from both the juniors and seniors this weekend at Horseshoe Point.

Play is scheduled to get underway at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning with the seniors tournament being followed by the MBMG junior competition at 5 p.m.  As usual there will be four trophies up for grabs; Cup, Plate, Bowl and Shield, with the preliminary rounds being held on Saturday and the Quarter Finals, Semi Finals and Finals all taking place on Sunday.

It all adds up to being another wonderful 2 days of sporting action at Horseshoe Point so be sure not to miss this fun-packed rugby weekend.

Junior rugby going from strength to strength

On the eve of the 2012 Pattaya Rugby Festival, it seems a good time to cast our minds back to last year’s junior event when the Kingdom’s promising young players were given their chance to shine on the big occasion.

As the men finished their days toil and retired to the pool to cool off, the field became the stage upon which the young stars of the future were going to strut their stuff.

The preliminary rounds of the of the Junior Under 18’s Tournament were to be played under floodlights in the cool of the Saturday evening.  There were eight schools competing for the cup and plate and the standard of the play was an eye opener for those spectators that did stick around to watch.

The provincial schools had improved dramatically in the last twelve months and they were here with a determination to show the Bangkok “Toffs” that there was going to be a fight to take the silverware home!  The games were all very hotly contested with teams from Bangkok battling against the boys from the provinces.

The boys set a very high standard for the men to live up to and everybody who witnessed the ability and courage of these boys agreed that the standards are improving very quickly and they have adapted their natural speed to this shortened version of the game very well.  It is obvious that with the introduction of an improved diet the Thai boys are bulking up and are now more than a match for their foreign counterparts.  There were some very large units especially for boys of such a tender age but there were also some very small and wiry speedsters.

In the early rounds of course the well drilled teams from Vajiravudh were very impressive but they did not get things all their own way as the boys from Surin and Roi-Et and Ubonrachathani showed that they meant business.  The Bangkok Lions played some very neat rugby but seemed to lack that killer instinct and many of their pre-planned moves fizzled out before the opponent’s line could be crossed.  At the end of the first days games honours were pretty even but Vajiravudh College and the boys from Surin had played well and obviously had not been too stretched.

After what for most was a sleepless night the boys were back at the field early on Sunday morning to continue their quest and to allow the old fellas to sleep in.  The final rounds were even more competitive than the round robin stages and only after some first class and very close games it was Vajiravudh College I that emerged as the champions and for the second year running the runners up were the Surawittayakrn School from Surin.

The Plate was won by the Chalermprakiet School Roi-Et with the Vajiravudh II team runners up.  Trophies were presented to the winners by Khun Adisak Hemyoo the President of the Asian Rugby Union and Vice-President of the Thailand Rugby Union.

For the youth tournament this year the age group will be dropping down to Under 15’s.  “This is because of the growing interest among the younger boys in many Thai Schools and there is a lack of opportunity for boys in this age group whilst there are many tournaments for the older boys,” said organizer Jim Howard.

“We have attracted 10 schools from all over the country and I am very pleased to say that we will also have a representative side from our own Regents School in Pattaya,” he added.  “Vajiavudh College will be back to defend their title and they will face stiff opposition from the Surin boys, who are determined to go one better this year and take home the trophy.  Many familiar faces will be back but also some new and surprising names; we have schools coming from Ao–Luk as well as Ubon and Roi–Et.”

The youth tournament of 2012 will have its own sponsor as Graham Macdonald of MBMG has specifically requested that his sponsorship should be applied to the youth tournament, therefore the boys will be competing for the MBMG Trophy and the MBMG Plate.  Thanks must also go to Khun Sutham who is the most tireless and fervent supporter of youth development in Thailand and without his valuable assistance it would not be possible to stage such an event.