The weekend of September 24th and 25th saw over 450 rugby players descend on the “Island of the Gods” for the 2011 version of the Xclusive Property Bali Rugby Fest. But this was a tournament very different to most others when the news came through that a Nedland’s player, Mike Denton, had passed away on the early hours of Saturday morning due to medical complications. Mark Bedham, Nedland’s team manager, announced the news to the shocked tournament committee and withdrew his team from the event in a show of respect to both his players and Mr Denton. Mr Bedham went on to explain that Mike was a “rugby fanatic” and that the last he would want was for his team mates to go home “with their tails between their legs”. With that in mind a tentative arrangement was made for a memorial game to be played on the Sunday between the Nedland’s boys and a Barbarians selection. The sad news quickly spread throughout the teams in attendance and black armbands were adorned in honor of a fallen brother. Team managers from all sides met and it was agreed the tournament would go on in Mike’s honour. The draw was then re-scheduled and play got underway soon after.

Bali Rugby 2011 Bali Rugby 2011

Bali Rugby 2011 Bali Rugby 2011

In the Open Men’s 10’s division the days play was evenly matched, with every team showing their intentions to reach the Cup final. Malaysia’s MSP Polytechnic surprised a few of the senior teams topping their pool with 3 victories from as many games. High School Old Boys (HSOB) of New Zealand, and Australian sides the Western Quokkas and Dingoes also showed good form, all topping their respective pools. The Asia Rep Indonesian Men’s National 7’s championships was also an open affair, with the Gosowong Barbarians from Hamahera and the Matano Miners from Sulawesi pushing last year’s beaten finalists, the Papuan Kotekas, and 2010 champs, the Jakarta Bantengs, all the way. Day two saw teams graded into different divisional quarter finals as based on their rankings from day one. This enabled the games to remain evenly contested and resulted in a number of nail biting finals as the afternoon progressed. The Bali Hanoman White team, consisting of many players playing in their first tournament, were reduced to 6 players after having a player red carded early on in the match. Despite this setback, the young side rallied and went on to claim the Indonesian Men’s 7’s Plate with a 15-5 victory over Matano. In the Open Men’s 10’s Bowl final, Jakarta’s French expat side, Jago Dulu, had recruited several players from the Papuan Kotekas to help bolster their ranks. The recruiting proved decisive as they went on to overpower Japanese expat side JJRG Samurai 25-7. Next up was the mighty Bali Chillis who took on the big men from Darwin, the Bush Turkeyz, for the Open Men’s 10’s Shield. In a nail biting finish, a textbook breakdown turnover by Bali resulted in a runaway try to give the home side their second extra time win in as many years. 10-5 to the Chillis. The Open Men’s Plate was a tight contest between Jakarta’s Komodo Red and Western Australia’s Curtin Goats. Both sides showed strong defence and the game was decided by two drop goals to give the Goats the win 6-0. In the penultimate final, the Jakarta Banteng took on surprise finalists the Goswong Barbarians for the Asia Rep Indonesian Men’s 7’s National Championships. Both sides showed the large crowd that Indonesian rugby has come a long way and with several Indonesian Rhino’s (the national test side) on the field, the skills displayed were top shelf. Gosowong never stopped trying but in the end the Batengs proved too strong and went on to claim back to back national titles. Standout player and Indonesian Men’s tournament MVP was the Banteng’s Daniel Nugroho. On to the big one, the Xclusive Property Open’s Men’s 10’s Cup final, this year contested by the consistent HSOB of New Zealand and tournament newcomers, the Western Quokkas from Australia. The game was played at a frenetic pace with the bigger HSOB pack attempting to bash their way through the smaller Quokkas outfit. But it was the elusive Quokkas backs, lead by Open’s Men’s MVP Hiro Tominaga, that dominated proceedings and saw the Australian side run out to a 3 try to nil victory. Western Quokkas 15-0.

Bali Rugby 2011 Bali Rugby 2011

Bali Rugby 2011 Bali Rugby 2011

As good as the finals were, two gestures will forever define the tournament: The first was by way of the Bush Turkeyz Ladies 7’s side. This team consisted almost entirely of current Australian, New Zealand and American national players and their pedigree was on display as they took apart the two local sides; Papua’s Karaka and the Bali Invitational VII. Once the disparity between the sides became apparent, the lady Turkeyz decided that instead of inflicting big scores on the local teams, a coaching clinic would be more beneficial. The lady Turkeyz also played an exhibition match, splitting their ranks evenly and inviting local player Esther Fuapla to join them. At the games completion Esther was carried off the field upon the shoulders of her new team mates and bestowed with the Women’s MVP award. The second defining moment came when the Nedland’s team assembled at one end of the field for the minutes silence in memory of Mike Denton, just before the memorial match against a Barbarian’s selection. Every player and supporter at the ground took to the field to form a guard of honor that stretched from one end of the field to the other. After the minutes silence it was an emotional scene as the Nedland’s players ran through the tunnel, their grief evident on their faces, clapped on by their fellow rugby community also sharing in their loss. The game itself was free-flowing affair where the greater game of rugby was the winner on the day. Tears were shed, rugby was played and the sponsors products were downed as 450 players from 27 teams became mates.

Bali Rugby 2011 Bali Rugby 2011

On behalf of the Bali Rugby Club and Indonesian Rugby, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the family, friends and team mates of Mike Denton. May he rest in peace.

The Bali Rugby Club would also like to thank our major sponsor, Mr Neil Power of Xclusive Property. We would also like to thank our supporting sponsors Mr Dan McNally of RMA Automotive, Mr Carlo Warella of PT Multi Bintang, Mr Charlie Cappetti of Danone Indonesia and Ms Kareen O’Keefe of Bali SOS International for the medical support.

Special mention to Head Referee, Mr Jean-Luc Shultz Tan and his team of whistle blowers whom without, we would not have a tournament.

Asia Rep Indonesian Men’s 7’s National Championships

Plate Final: Bali Hanoman White 15 –  Matano Miners 5

Cup Final: Jakarta Banteng 22 – Gosowong Barbarians 5

MVP: Daniel Nugroho

Xclusive Property Women’s 7’s

Winners: Bush Turkeyz Women’s VII

MVP: Esther Fualpa

Xclusive Property Open Men’s 10’s

Bowl Final: Jago Dulu 25 – JJRG Samurai 7

Shield Final: Bali Chillis 10 – Bush Turkeyz B 5

Plate Final: Curtin Goats 6 – Jakarat Komodos 0

Cup Final: Western Quokkas 15 – HSOB 0

MVP: Hiroshi Tominaga
Yours in Rugby

Nick Mesritz

Tournament Director and President

Bali Rugby Club

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