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2023 Dimbulla Estate

Phuket International Rugby 11’s

2023 Dimbulla Estate Phuket International Rugby 11’s Men’s Open Campions – Bank Muamalat BulletsMalaysia

The 2023 Dimbulla Estate Phuket International Rugby 11’s
Final Report

The Dimbulla Estate Phuket International Rugby 11’s kicked off at the Thanyapura Sports Club over the weekend of 9-11 June 2023. It was hot, it was humid, we had rain, we had sun, but most of all we had laughter! Across the three days of action, all the teams left a piece of themselves on the pitch and a bigger part of themselves off it!!

As is traditional, the tournament kicked off with the Athena Siam Coffin Dodgers tournament. With teams from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, the UAE and the USA it promised to be a fiercely contested tournament and so it was. The South Africans from Hamilton Dynamiters showed early on that they were serious contenders for the title. The KL Tigers from Malaysia were taking no prisoners and local teams, the Chiang Mai Cobras & the Phuket Viagrabonds showed promise, though injuries would take their toll later in the day. The HK Bull’s & the Wanderers Wrinklies showed that they weren’t here to make up the numbers, putting in some impressive performances. Barrelhouse Rugby Club showed that middle eastern rugby was still kicking, along with the Dubai Tigers. The Valley Kangaroos had made the long journey from the USA and were chomping at the bit.

With the humidity at 90+ percent it was energy sapping out on the pitch, but it didn’t deter from the quality play on show. After some grueling matches, playing 4 group games and a semifinal, the Sunday finals were decided. In the bowl, the Wanderers battled through to the final beating the KL tigers 14-0 whilst the Phuket Viagrabonds surprised everyone, not least themselves, by seeing off the Dubai Tigers by the same score. They would go on to win the bowl on Sunday beating the Wanderers 22-0. Surprise Finalists In the Plate, the Chiang Mai Cobras, were unlucky to go down to a strong barrelhouse side 5-0.
At one stage it wasn’t sure if we would get a cup final, as both teams had gone down with a dysentery bug that swept through the island during the weekend. Keeping hydrated is always an issue and many players spent time in hospital on drips trying to get back on their feet. Luckily, they turned up and produced a final that will live long in the memory. The Valley Kangaroos from USA & the Hamilton Dynamiters from South Africa. Both teams take a bow for producing excitement and drama that film writers dream of. The Dynamiters were dominant early on and scored an unconverted try to lead 5-0. As the game wore on the Kangaroos began to get into their stride. Courageous defense from the Dynamiters continued to repel waves of attacks, and just when it looked like they had done enough, the Kangaroos broke through to score. The US team had the last kick of the match to win it from out wide and sent it straight down the middle to win the cup 7-5.

Athena Siam Coffin Dodgers O 35’s Champions – Valley Kangaroos – USA

The Whitesmiths One Foot in the Grave O45s might have been slower paced, but was just as ferocious when it mattered. The Hamilton Dynamiters were the hot favourites and they showed their pedigree from the start defeating the Asian Japanese Dragons 10-0. The HKFC Old Contemptables showed they would be a team to consider when beating Kl Tigers 15-7. The Kowloon Auld Dragons lost both their group games but would earn the first trophy of the weekend when defeating the Moorabbin Stray Cats in the bowl final 15-5. The Kl Tigers would win the Plate and the Hamilton Dynamiters beat the Asian Japanese Dragons 19-0 in the Cup Final.

Whitesmiths One Foot in the Grave O 45’s Champions – Hamilton Dynamiters – South Africa

Saturday’s action began with the Aussie Bar lady’s tournament. Ladies’ rugby is fast becoming an integral part of rugby tournaments and Phuket is no exception. With debutants Sandy Phoonanis & University from Hong Kong, along with the Dingoes from Malaysia joining regulars the Banger Belles, ReBelles and Southerners ladies, it had an exciting feel about it.
From the first whistle until the last, the girls gave it their all and produced some great rugby. After 2 days of group games the finals were decided with the Bangers ReBelles taking the Bowl, the Bangers Belles, just getting past the Sandy Phoonanis, 7-5 to win the plate.

The lady’s Cup final between the Dingoes RC & Southerners was worth waiting for. The Dingoes controlled the game early on and scored in the corner to lead 5-0 going into half time. The Dingoes lost a player to a red card for a dangerous tackle and The Southerners took advantage to score a converted try and lead 7-5 going into the last few minutes. The Dingoes pressed hard and put the Southerners under pressure. A number of penalties close to the line as the clock ticked down, didn’t help the southerners. With the last play of the game the Dingoes gambled on a quick tap and drew in the defense, before barging over for the try to win the Cup 12-7. What a game!! Kudos to all the lady’s teams for producing a great tournament of quality and camaraderie that is a great advertisement for the game.

Aussie Bar Ladies Open Champions – Dingoes Rugby Club – Malaysia

The men’s open is always eagerly anticipated and this year was no exception. The quality of the teams ensured that it would be a tightly contested tournament and so it was. On day one the teams who excelled were the Kl Tigers, HKFC Scorpions, Bank Maumalat Bullets and the Singapore Bucks. The Hanoi Dragons & Bangkok Bangers both showed that they would be in the mix come Sunday and would be difficult to beat. The surprise of the tournament were the young lads from TSNU Krabi Eagles who made the final of the Plate competition.

Group A was dominated by the KL Tigers finishing top with an unblemished record. The Maumalat Bullets were a close second, followed by Tomo Cheese Japan & the Flying Kukris.

Group B was led by Singapore club The Bedok Kings, with the TSNU Krabi Eagles a close second. The Groote Eylandte Mudchooks, who’s famous “chooka” is becoming an internet sensation, were third. With the Saigon Geckos pulling out at the last-minute Pool B was down to 3 teams.

Group C was a close call with the Bangkok Bangers finishing top by virtue of points difference from Hanoi Dragon. Raw Dogs from USA finished third and local legends the Phuket vagabonds propping up the bottom of the table.

Group D was topped by one of the favourites HKFC Scorpions who won all their games, followed by the Singapore Bucks. The lads from Northern Thailand, The Chiang Mai Cobras were a credible third and TSU Thaksin University bottom of what was a difficult group.

Sunday is always the big day with all the knockouts and finals on offer, and it draws a large crowd. Many old friendships and acquaintances were rekindled and new friendships begun. The Cup quarter finals saw the KL Tigers, Maumalat Bullets, Bangkok Bangers & the Hanoi Dragons all progress to the Cup semifinals. The losers, Bucks Rugby, TSNU Krabi Eagles, HKFC Scorpions and the Bedok Kings then dropped into the plate competition with the Singapore Bucks defeating the Krabi Eagles to win the Plate.

In the Bowl competition the Raw Dogs made the final beating TSU Thaksin University & the Phuket vagabonds over running the Chiang Mai Cobras. In a tight affair the final was a 5 all draw at the end of full time with the Vagabonds deemed the winners because they scored the first try of the match. The Tomo Cheese Japan took out the Shield beating the Flying Kukris.

The Cup semifinals were both tight games with the KL Tigers scoring early & managing to hold on against a strong Bangers team who did everything but score. 7-0 Tigers. The other semi was just as dramatic with Hanoi Dragons & Maumalat Bullets going at it. The game followed the same route as the first semi with the bullets scoring and Hanoi dominating possession but unable to score. 7-0 Bullets.

With nothing to choose between them the Cup final between KL Tigers & the Bank Maumalat Bullets had the makings of a classic and so it turned out. Evenly matched the game ebbed and flowed with the Bullets taking an early lead before the tigers hit back with a try. Half time 7-5 Bullets. The tigers were first on the board with a converted try early in the second half to lead 12-7. As the tigers began to tire the Bullets were dominating. Solid Tigers defense looked like they would see out the game. Turnover ball in their own half saw the Tigers create a 2 on 1 & a run in chance to finish the game but the winger spilled the ball giving the Bullets one last chance. The last play of the game saw the Bullets unleash wave upon wave of attacks and when the Tigers infringed close to their line the bullets crashed over to even up the score. To say there was no pressure on the kicker would be an understatement. It was winning the game or take it to extra time. Cool as you like it was slotted down the middle and the Maumalat Bullets were the Dimbulla Estate 2023 Phuket International Rugby 11’s Champions. Credit to the Kl Tigers who came so close.

Whitesmiths One Foot In The Grave O45’s Champions
Hamilton Dynamiters – South Africa

Athena Siam Coffin Dodgers O35’s Champions
Valley Kangaroos – USA

Athena Siam Coffin Dodgers O35’s Plate Winners
Barrelhouse Rugby Club – UAE

Athena Siam Coffin Dodgers O35’s Bowl Winners
Kowloon Auld Dragons – Hong Kong

Ladies Open Champions
Dingoes Rugby Club – Malaysia

Ladies Plate Winners
Bangers Belles

Ladies Bowl Winners
Bangers ReBelles

Men’s Open Shield Winners
Tomo Cheese Japan – Japan

Men’s Open Bowl Winners
Phuket Vagabonds – Thailand

Men’s Open Plate Winners
Bucks Rugby – Singapore

Men’s Open Champions
Bank Maumalat Bullets – Malaysia

Whitesmiths One Foot in the Grave O 45’s Player of the Tournament
Colin – Hamilton Dynamiters – South Africa

Athena Siam Coffin Dodgers Player of the Tournament
James White – Hamilton Dynamiters – South Africa

Aussie Bar Ladies Player of the Tournament
Cindy – Dingoes RC – Malaysia

Dimbulla Estate Men’s Open Player of the Tournament
Dex – Maumalat Bullets – Malaysia

Jean Luc Joel was referee’s coordinator, and his team of officials kept order on the pitch and created mayhem, off it!
The Phuket 11’s continued their long association with the Asia Center Foundation who celebrated their 20th anniversary this year. Funds were raised over the weekend for the ACF scholarship program providing underprivileged children on the island the chance of a better future. You can find out more by contacting Roelien Muller at roemuthai@gmail.com or check out the website at https://asiacenterfoundation.org/

For more information on the rugby tournament check www.phuket10s.com
It was great to see long-time supporters of the Phuket Rugby 11’s out again in force, with the Aussie Bar Phuket & Athena Siam continuing to support rugby on the island. All the weekends action was live streamed by Jed Thian and his interception management production crew.

Medical Support was provided by the Bangkok Hospital Siriroj who did a wonderful job.

The Four Points Sheraton were a fantastic hotel partner as well as organising the food trucks that kept everyone well fed with the delicious fare.

My wife, Kai, Bubble Bee, Kik and all the bar team as well as the Thanyapura staff.
Big thanks to Mr. Dilip Kumar from Dimbulla Estate and Mr. John O Brian from Whitesmiths.

Thank you all for your support and see you all next year.
24th Phuket International Rugby 11s 2024.
7-9 June 2024