13 Dec 2009 – YCAC Gents vs All France | YCAC 1sts vs Acorn

1sts match report by Joe Fisher
Gents match report by Matt Dimond
Photos by Kyoko Obayashi
Gents photos
1sts photos
YCAC Gents 24, All France 17 (HT 14-7)
YCAC 1sts 58, Acorn 17 (HT 34-0)

YCAC Gents
All France (also known as les Grenouilles, i.e. Frogs) were gathering over several months the finest mousquetaires from the “le monde francophone de Tokyo” for their flagship fixture against “les Gentilhommes de YCAC” – the mainly anglophone RosBifs, AussieBifs, KobeBifs, YankeeBifs etc – also known simply as “les Gents”.

This spirit of fraternité of les Grenouilles was being built up majestically as they were observed rendez-vous’ing “en pleine force” à La Gare JR Yamate 90 minutes before kick-off. At about this time most of the Gents were stumbling from their beds across Kanto in order to respond to Joe “You Know The Drill” Fisher’s summons for a full turnout to support the 1s (and to purchase their smart new Samurai armour for the battle that lay ahead).

Battle time arrived, along with Les Gents – or at least half of them. Fortunately a few warriors from the 1s were commandeered by Joe “You Know the Drill” Fisher to round out a starting line-up and all was ready. Or nearly. The referee blew the whistle for the toss, but where was Les Gents’ capitaine? There wasn’t one in sight! Inspiration seized les Gents at this critical moment, and this week’s stand-in reporter, Matt “le Posh Spice” Dimond, was cunningly selected as he (a) happening to be standing closest to the referee at the time and (b) conveniently shared his pré-nom with le capitaine des Grenouilles, a ruse designed to confuse the enemy and the ref.

The battle was joined in earnest as Les Grenouilles kicked off. The extensive warm-ups and mental preparations of les Grenouilles showed in the early phases – with their forwards showing a degree of fight and their backs showing a degree of flair, which resulted in them scoring first and converting. This early lead stoked the Gallic passion and some melodramatic off-the-ball incidents began to rankle les Gents, whose calm Samurai-clad composure was under threat. And so the battle continued to rage between the enemy lines, with Arnaud “le Mature Big Daddy” Terrien deep in passionate engagements with his compatriots – who were clearly targeting the French turncoat and were attempting to get him sent off, having seen through Arnaud’s derisive attempts at a posh English accent. Fortunately, before long Luke “le Nuke” Raimo welcomed himself home to Yamate by blasting his way through the ranks of les Grenouilles from his temporary strategic lair in the centres, feeding off Rich “Catwalk” Watkins and Ben “le Mellow Fox” Duncan to allow les Gents to bring the scores to égalité. Shortly after, Aran “Le Two Inches” Delaney joined his compatriot on the try list, leading to a respectable halftime lead for Les Gents.

Halftime came, and with it reinforcements of different shapes and sizes, including the heartening sight of Steve “le Big Cuzzy Bro” Gray taking the field. This enabled the momentum to swing towards les Gents as Brimman “le Big Brute” Frazer scored twice, displaying some great individual finishing on the back of strong forward surges. This capped a merveilleux day for le Big Contingent American, which scored all of Les Gens’ tries – and emphasized the fact that, regardless of the Continental pretensions of Monsieur Obama and no matter how many Statues de Liberté with which les Grenouilles might bribe the Americans, the underlying Franco-American rivalry remains as bitter as George le Bush Jr might himself have enjoyed. “Kill” Bill Baker added to the psychological tally, and lived up to his name, by winning out on his own violent confrontations with his opposite number.

Yet les Grenouilles were not finished and attempted to stage a revolution of the scoreline, responding with a pair of tries of their own in the second half, including one extraordinary one where a ball miraculously appeared on the tryline inside the corner flag while the Grenouille winger was being bundled into touch several metres away Рis there budget for a video ref at Yamate? Beyond constant provocations and voodoo magic, the French tricks in the second half extended to swapping the ball for a rock, which ensured that both of the second half YCAC conversions fell dastardly short, and gave les Grenouilles a glimmer of hope, although in their passion (or perhaps in a spirit of ̩galit̩) they forgot to swap back the real ball for their own conversions as well!.

After several further scoring chances went begging for YCAC, the final whistle brought sweet, if not clinical, victory for les Gents over one of the strongest and most fired-up Grenouilles sides to visit YCAC in recent years, and capped another successful autumn season at Yamate.

Matt

YCAC 1st Team
Nobody ever promised that life would be fair and the weekend of YCAC prop Erich “Freezer” Friess proved this. It started with Freezer rocking up to the YCAC RAT on Friday night and finding out that the theme had been changed from “Christmas Party” to “A Tribute to the King” in order to celebrate the two tries that his fellow social director Mike “Masivo Big Daddy” King had scored the previous Sunday. Of course, the new theme of the evening only reinforced to Freezer his own bagel-eating status and it was no wonder that he spent the rest of Friday and all of Saturday drowning his sorrows. His weekend got even worse when Acorn took one look at him and promptly decided that they did not have any front-rowers and that uncontested scrums were the only way they could proceed. However, despite not having to use any energy pushing in the scrums, Freezer underwent another match where he came frustratingly close to scoring a try without quite managing it. The final blow came when he spent the aftermatch getting criticized by Simon “El Presidente” Ryan for telling boring stories and getting told he didn’t need to buy any chips because he was “fat enough already”. No-one has every accused the easy-going Freezer of being a workaholic but after a weekend like this one gets the feeling he was quite looking forward to getting into the office on Monday!

However, aside from Freezer’s annus horribilis (don’t get excited Fahy – this doesn’t mean what you think it means), the rest of the team enjoyed a productive day against Acorn. The main plunders were Brimman “Brutus” Frazer and Chris “The Alpha Male” Mander who scored a hat-trick of tries each. It is actually not that surprising that these two scored each scored a hat-trick for YCAC on the same day as they are almost inseparable. Indeed, after Steve “Heath” Rode and Alex “Jake” Benson dressed up as the cowboys from Brokeback Mountain at the RAT on Friday night an interesting conversation developed about which YCAC pairing would win a “Most Likely to Live Together on a Ranch” award. The front-runners would obviously be our beloved Captains of Vice (the Stallard-Fahys) but the two 24 year old Californians also have a fairly strong claim to the title and no-one would be surprised to hear an impassioned cry of “I wish I knew how to quit you” from one of these four at some stage during the season.

Finally, and sadly, this match served as a farewell for Grant “Mr. Normal” Thompson who will be moving with work to Shanghai at the end of the year. Thompson joined YCAC towards the end of the 2007/08 season and immediately made an impact by playing very strongly for Europe in that season’s Panty Shield match. He then enjoyed a very good 2008/09 season, cementing his position in the 1sts backline and winning “Most Improved Player” for the 1sts at the end of season awards. Thompson has also been a presence this season, playing in most of the 1sts matches and being part of the squad that won the GM Cup on 31 October. However, Thompson’s time at YCAC hasn’t been all beer and skittles – a locking crisis saw him moved temporarily into the engine room early in the 2008/09 season (a positional switch he has never forgiven his captain for); the 2008 Christmas RAT saw him stitched up with the worst outfit ever produced (clear plastic wrap + electrical tape); and (most famously) the 2008 Niigata trip saw a complete meltdown when the team’s choice of ‘eclectic’ aftermatch venues became too much and Thompson stormed off in a taxi, screaming (in English) to a bewildered taxi driver to take him to a “normal bar”! Grant – All the best mate. We hope that you find plenty of normal bars in Shanghai, we may be over at some stage to help you find a few others …

Joe

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