1 Mar 2009 – YCAC vs Koganei

YCAC 50 – Koganei 14 (HT: 19-0)
Chris Mander, Will Whetstone (2), Joe Fisher, Ben Duncan, Tristan Fahy, Dougal Robertson, Callum Snowball
Cons: Ben Duncan (3), Brian Ryan, Maui Magele

On a cold and wet first day of Spring in Japan YCAC’s artificial pitch showed one of its merits by allowing the home side to put together an entertaining display of dry-weather rugby in a match which probably would have been cancelled if we still had the old grass pitch.

Although the presence of Spring was not apparent in the weather, there were other tell-tale signs. For example, YCAC’s young charges all had a noticeable spring in their step and it showed on the scoreboard with fullback Chris “The Voice” Mander (23), flanker Will “Crowbar” Whetstone (21), and replacement flanker Callum “The Caucasian” Snowball (16) all touching down during the match. Snowball’s try was particularly spectacular – replacement No. 8 Matt “Magpie” Head started the movement by catching a ball on his own 40 meter line from a kick a Koganei back had skewed kick off the side of his foot. Head drew a defender and passed to prop Daisuke “Silent Assassin” Okada, unmarked on the wing. Okada then took the ball to within 10 meters of the opposition try line before unselfishly feeding inside to Snowball to finish the movement off.

However, inevitably, some of this youthful excitement boiled over and there were tears before bedtime. In this particular case it was Whetstone who got a little too big for his boots and decided it was a wise idea to give both his own captain and the referee stick during the course of the match. Although such behaviour is never a wise course of action, it is particularly unwise when your captain is a lawyer at the firm where you are a vacation student and the referee is the managing partner of the same firm! Even Ben “Angry Fox” Duncan was left shaking his head at such lack of restraint …

In fact, this proved to be a rather difficult match for referee Steve “The Vicar” Lewis who found that the large proportion of 1st team members playing in this fixture gave him considerably more stick than he usually gets from his mild-mannered Gents. A key example of this was when Vicar politely suggested that the YCAC front row of Okada, Rafi “Crusader” Khan and Erich “Freezer” Friess start taking it a bit easier on the (obviously weaker) Koganei pack. The front-row’s response of a push-over try in the next scrum probably wasn’t exactly what Vicar had in mind!

Luckily for Vicar, he was assisted in this match by the world’s biggest touch-judge – Tokyo Gas star Jimmy “Night” Maher. For a man well known for his own occasional volleys at referees when in playing kit NightMaher proved to be a surprisingly calm and erudite (Jimmy – that means well-educated) touch-judge, keeping in constant communication with Vicar and schooling the YCAC players on the finer points of the laws during breaks in play. It was only after the final whistle was blown that the true NightMaher came to the fore again – sculling beer and arm-wrestling against bewildered Koganei players before keeping up his poor run of form on JR line platforms during the trip back into Tokyo.



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