11 Jan 2009 – YCAC 1st vs Fujisawa | YCAC Gents vs Ellis

YCAC 1sts 32 – Fujisawa 0 (HT 20-0)
Steve Gray (2), Grant Thompson, Willie Lapthorn, Will Whetstone, Joe Fisher
Con: Ben Duncan

YCAC Gents Team 76 – Ellis 22 (HT 50-0)
Kenji (5), Chris Mander, James Goulstone, Barry Clark, Dom (2), Callum (2)
Cons: Fraser (8)

YCAC 1sts
Japan is often described as a place where the past collides with the future and where tradition is fused with innovation on a daily basis. Never was this more in evidence than in the first rugby match of 2009 where the newest artificial pitch in Japan was christened by the country’s oldest rugby club. As such, it was highly appropriate that the major theme to emerge from the match encompassed both the oldest traditions and the newest technnology of rugby: the value of grit.

grit n. 1. Minute rough granules, as of sand or stone; 2. Courage and determination [from Old English greot, sand.]

Grit, in it’s second definition, is commonly associated with the world of sports. In the 2003 Rugby World Cup Japan pushed France all the way before eventually losing to them 51-29 and the next day the headlines read “[Japan captain] Miuchi salutes Japanese grit”. After the Australian cricket team recently lost a test series to India a Sydney Morning Herald scribe was driven to try to gee up his national team by titling his column “True grit will always stand up to test of time”. (Let’s hope he didn’t follow the subsequent series against South Africa.) Finally, grit appears in a great quote by an entrepreneur well known for his hairstyle and his flamboyant personality (and no, it’s not Simon “El Presidente” Ryan):
“I’m one of the world’s great survivors. I’ll always survive because I’ve got the right combination of wit, grit and bullshit.” DON KING

There was plenty of second definition grit on display during the match against Fujisawa. Steve “Big Cuzzy Bro” Gray showed a mass of determination in charging into and through the opposition defence time and time again and the Fujisawa players who bravely tried to get in his way deserve medals for courage. In addition, the YCAC tight five showed an abundance of resolve to consistently out-push their opposition. In the backs, Rich “Singapore” Watkins was full of energy at half-back and Grant “Mr. Normal” Thompson impressed on both attack and defence.

However, despite these laudable efforts, it was unfortunately the first definition of grit which transpired as the major talking point of the day. Without getting into the technicalities, it seems that the “minute rough granules” which have been used to fill our new pitch are not quite the correct type of minute rough granules. The main evidence for this is that rather than rolling off skin upon contact they tear it apart. Luckily, it appears the problem can be fixed and the rugby section have appointed the right man to represent them on this issue and ensure that a solution is found. This man is a former international rugby player (15’s and 7’s) and so gritty of character that his regular after-match snack in his playing days was sand sandwiches. Of course, the man we are talking about is none other than the sex god of the (very lively) Yokohama Over-50’s dating scene, Simon “Supreme Splinter” Litster. The YCAC Board don’t know what is in store for them …


YCAC Gents
They told us that “Plastic is Perfect”. And it certainly looked that way when we ran out on to the new artificial turf at YCAC. But the young and misguided can be fooled by first impressions. Just like a young man on his first visit to Thailand who is besotted by the perfectly formed plastic of the beautiful creature with the strangely husky voice, the YCAC rugby players also discovered a nasty secret lurking down below. What is the problem I hear you ask? Well, it is all in The Tackle. The in-fill was just not right and our skin was ripped to pieces.

Ellis are an Old Boys team who were formed approximately 30 years ago immediately after graduating from Waseda University. In those days, they were a young, strong and fit team. In the intervening years, they have all remained with the same club and the Japanese tradition of “respect your elders” means that the oldest players get selected. Consequently, Ellis started the match with 12 players over the age of 50. Taking full advantage, YCAC raced into a 50-0 half-time lead scoring tries galore. Initially, Fraser Jamieson struggled with the conversions as a consequence of having his rickety right leg amputated during the close season. But once he realised he had another sturdy appendage upon which he could pivot, he was back in the groove and banged over 8 conversions during the course of the match.

YCAC turned around at half-time with a 50-0 lead and were licking their lips in anticipation of a century at the first attempt on the new artificial pitch. Bizarrely, the Ellis grandads had left four of their grandsons on the bench, but brought them on for the start of the second half. This brought a transformation in the game and Ellis scored 22 unanswered points (all 4 tries going to the grandsons). However, the four of them ran out of puff midway through the second half and YCAC were able to re-establish their superiority.

For the first time since joining YCAC, Kenji dispensed with his red gloves and scored a staggering 5 tries as well as losing his nickname. Conversely, Barry “One Try Per Match” Clark lived up to his nickname and scored his full quota. The grandads of Ellis were very kind to our two 17 year olds who scored 3 tries between them whereas The Dominator was particularly unkind to the grandads and exerted his physical superiority to score 2 muscular tries.



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