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Bali Geckos Run Rampant Against Disappointing Thailand Tigers:

Diggers Presence Helps Soothe Tigers Wounds:
28 April 2007
Kanchanaburi Sports Ground

3 - 5 - 23
9 - 6 - 60
We arrived at Kanchanaburi Sports Ground at about 1 pm in torrential rain, with the ground covered in large puddles. Fortunately, the sandy surface meant much of the water had drained by the 3 pm start, leaving the ground still quite heavy, but certainly better than it looked on our arrival.

After a brief ceremony to welcome the Diggers Bill Haskell, Ernie Redman, Snow Fairclough, and Arthur Leggett, and the rest of the Quiet Lion touring party, the game began with 14 a side. The Tigers had a further 9 on the bench while the Geckos had two.

Some of the Quiet Lion touring party helped out with boundary umpiring and running water, and Seksan was again on hand with the Bangkok Hospital ambulance, fortunately not needed this year!

From the outset, the Geckos seemed to handle the wet conditions better than the Tigers. At the first break, they held a slender one goal lead.

Both sides lifted their work rate in the second quarter and the game looked set for an intriguing second half, with difference still less than 10 points and the rain staying away.The good sized crowd were full of voice and the Diggers were being treated to a good, hard contest.

Unfortunately, the second half did not live up to expectations. The Geckos wet ball skills improved even further, with several of their players taking overhead marks around the ground, something the Tigers were simply unable to do.

Peter 'Gunny' Muir was dominating across their half back line, repelling many Tiger attacks. At three quater time, the margin was out to three goals and, in a disappointing final quarter, the Geckos ran over the top of a tiring Tigers outfit to win by six goals.

Despite their small squad, the Geckos had many good players around the ground, including (but not limited to) Chad Paull, Stewart 'Hendo' Henderson, Dan Brooks, and John 'Lincs' Lincoln in his last game for the Geckos. But their stand out player, and winner of the Wilfred 'Chicken' Smallhorn award for best on ground, was Peter 'Gunny' Muir.

Conditions did not suit the Tigers talls, although Colin 'CJ' Johnstone battled well in the ruck for most of the day, overshadowing his Geckos opponents. The smaller brigade of David 'Pato" Paterson, Chris 'Wagga' Doherty, Alan 'Yoda' Sutherland, Kerry Dyke, Ben 'Mango' Will, and Chris 'Thwaiter' Thwaites all worked hard.

The taste of defeat was soon removed with the words of one of the Diggers, Bill Haskell, in his speech while presenting the trophies:

"If someone told us 63 years ago that we would be in Kanchanaburi on a Saturday afternoon watching a great game of Aussie rules...well..."

That put the day back in perspective for us all. Tigers and Geckos alike....

After dinner on the River Kwai and a late night in Kanchanburi watching Australia take out the cricket World Cup, Tigers and Geckos players went to the Hellfire Pass Memorial to lay wreaths from both clubs, as well as for past ANZAC Day Commemorative Match visitors the Malayisan Warriors and the Hong Kong Dragons.

Tigers Vice President Mark Robson presided over the ceremony and Tigers veteran Brendan Cunningham joined Geckos veteran John Lincoln for an emotional reading of the poem "Mates", then all players and friends took some time to reflect on the reason we play at Kanachanaburi each year.

Lest we forget...

Tigers vs Geckos ANZAC Commemorative Match
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