2 Dec 2007 – YCAC Gents vs Donkeys | YCAC 1sts vs Keio

YCAC Gents 49 – Donkeys 31 (34-5), YCAC 1sts 12 – Keio 50 (HT 0-33)
Match Reports – Steve Lewis
Photographer – Kyoko Obayashi

YCAC Gents 49 – Donkeys 31 (34-5)
Tries: Scott Pearce (2), Kenji Redgloves (2), Epps (2), Rhino, Fraser, Sandy
Cons: Fraser (2)

The unbeaten YCAC Gents took the field against Donkeys with a star-studded array of former captains and All Blacks. With three of the Legends of the worldwide game in the line up (Rhino, Fraser and Scottie Pearce), the Donkeys lived up to their nickname in the first half and were mesmerised by a feast of running rugby with forwards and back interplaying at will. All three of the Legends scored in a remarkable first half performance as did Mighty Mouse Epps and Kenji Redgloves. Every time a Donkey received a pass, Sam Heinrich was on his back. The forwards were riding high in the saddle and the backs were making hay. The 34-5 half-time lead reflected the superiority of the marauding YCAC Gents.

At the start of the second half, the wheels temporarily fell off the chariot leaving the Donkeys to roam at will. They fought back tenatiously scoring four second half tries (three converted). Fortunately, one of the oppo made the mistake of having a pop at Scottie Pearce so that he could tell his grandkids that he had punched an All Black. Not often do we see the “Red Mist” from Scottie on a Sunday afternoon, but the fired up maestro almost single-handedly took the Donkeys apart in the last ten minutes to score a try himself and set up tries for Kenji Redgloves and Sandy Rose.

Special mentions go to Gavin Moolman who kindly agreed to play out of position at loosehead prop and Sam Heinrich for a superb back row display which unfortunately for the Gents looks certain to result in an imminent promotion to the 1st Team. A special mention also to Kenji Redgloves who left his fashion accessory by the side of the pitch, didn’t drop a ball all day and was rewarded with two tries.

YCAC 1sts 12 – Keio 50 (HT 0-33)
Tries: Steve Gray (2)
Con: Tristan Fahy

The chap who coined the phrase “Youth and enthusiasm always loses out to old age and cunning” clearly forgot the proviso “… unless the Young Ones abstain from booze/birds/ciggies, train six times a week and bring along a crowd of 200 fanatical supporters”. Keio’s 30-player squad arrived early with their legion of spectators and the pounding of tackle bags, thud of sprinting feet and chanting of samurai war cries reverberated around Yamate for a full two hours before kick-off. A bit of a contrast to two or three of our lads who sauntered to the pitch ten minutes before the game, having endured a heavy night on the Sauce. Small wonder that Keio hit the ground running and scored 33 unanswered points in a blitz-kreig of attacking rugby. Still, Keio did not have it all their own way in the first half. When it came to shouting and screaming at the referee, YCAC definitely had the Top Four players on the pitch. But has anyone ever seen a Japanese referee reverse his decision in the wake of gaijin hysterics? Wouldn’t it be better simply to retreat 10 metres to defend rather than have a “team harangue” of the referee whilst the oppo exploit the inevitable overlap?

The half-time whistle brought a welcome opportunity for YCAC to reorganise and work out a coherent strategy. In defence, the YCAC forwards began to fan out across the pitch leaving the excellent Alex Curran to carry out the skull duggery at which he is so good. After all, no point in putting any of our “honest as the day is long” English public school boys at the bottom of a ruck or maul as it is a cheating Aussie that you need to get the job done for you. In attack, the forwards reverted to the “up the jumper” attritional rugby that would have brought reminiscent tears to the eyes of Doddy, Griz, Meat and The Mechanic. Similarly, Ben and Matt started to bring the ball back into the forwards with punchy inside breaks. Suddenly, YCAC were on top with the pack orchestrating a couple of superb rolling mauls leading to tries by the indomitable Steve “Cozzy-Bro” Gray.

In spite of the initial disorganisation, the spirit of the YCAC 1st Team was immense throughout the game. Keio were so confident in their scrummaging that they became the only Japanese team ever to turn down penalties in favour of scrums against a YCAC Pack. But the Twin Towers that are Freezer and Yusuke held firm. And the back row had a much better shape with the second half introduction of Tony “Marathon Man” Baildon who was all over the park tackling Keio runners thereby freeing up Alex to do his dirty work at the bottom of ruck/mauls and Steve Gray to stick the ball up his jumper and charge over the line for his two tries. The backs also made some good breaks: most notably 60 metre runs by Graham “Pole Vaulter” Creighton and Matt “Matty” Creagh whilst Griff, Tristan and Maui defended superbly.

This is only the second time in five years that the YCAC 1st Team has conceded 50 points (the other time to Tamariba), but this is one of those occasions where the scoreline does not tell the entire story. The second half result was 12-17 and reflects the commitment and spirit of the YCAC Boys. In addition, it is worth mentioning that the 19 year old Keio right winger was a very special player (the fastest man in University Rugby) and looks destined to be a future Japanese international. Without his four unstoppable tries and with a bit more pre-match organisation and tactical planning, perhaps the Keio tide could have been turned?

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