15 Nov 2009 – YCAC Gents vs Donkeys | YCAC 1sts vs Shonan Fuji

Match reports by Joe Fisher
Photos by Kyoko Obayashi
Gents photos
1sts photos
YCAC Gents 21, Donkeys 19 (HT 0-12)

1st Team 12, Shonan Fuji 12 (HT 12-7)

YCAC 2nd Team
In fading daylight and howling wind the mighty Gents maintained their unbeaten record this season with another come from behind victory.

The Donkeys played with the wind at their backs in the first half and took full advantage, scoring two tries to nil and heading into the break with a handy 12 point lead. However, the YCAC Gents are nothing if not experienced and there was no sense of panic during the half-time huddle.

When the second half kicked off it was the Gents who got on the board first with flyhalf Ben “Mellow Fox” Duncan touching down after weaving through several defenders. The Donkeys showed they were not going down without a fight by hitting back immediately with a try of their own. However, the Gents confidence was growing and they were soon back on the board after a nice linking move between No. 8 Kieran “Hisashiburi” Walsh and halfback King, Richard “The 3rd”.

With the Gents one try down with only a few minutes to go the match was heading into “cometh the hour, cometh the man” territory. So often for the Gents this man is the long-standing captain Steve “The Vicar” Lewis. The fact that he wears a different uniform to the rest of us and runs around the field with a whistle in his mouth matters not a jot in the record books. However, on this occasion the Vicar was in Sendai on judicial officer duties for the Japan v Canada match so the burden of manufacturing a victory fell into the players’ hands for once. How fitting it was then that it was on-field captain Jason “The Don” Dunn who scored the try to draw the game (outsprinting two Donkeys defenders to touch down in the corner) and YCAC veteran Mellow Fox Duncan who knocked the conversion over from the sidelines to secure the narrowest of victories.

Finally, a special mention should go to Steven “AFL” Rode and Alex “NFL” Benson who were outstanding yesterday in their first ever games of rugby. Rodey made several strong runs from the centers and Alex pulled off a try-saving tackle on the wing which later led to him being given the Man of the Match award. Captain JD predicted that they were both having such good days that they were bound to get lucky last night but no reports have come back on this matter yet.

Joe

YCAC 1st Team
On a sunny but windy day out in Yamate the YCAC 1st Team came up against their first serious opposition in the Kanagawa League 1st Division in the form of a committed and well-drilled Shonan Fuji side.

YCAC started the match fairly well with the forwards achieving their normal domination in the set piece and Steve “Big Cuzzy Bro” Gray outstanding in his first full match this season. This early pressure led to YCAC opening the scoring through a try to hooker Daisuke “Silent Assassin” Okada after some good mauling work from the rest of the forwards. Unfortunately, a knock-on from the kick-off and a couple of missed tackles immediately let Shonan Fuji back into the match with a score of their own. However, from this point onwards YCAC knuckled down and finished the first half the stronger of the two teams after a fantastic pass from flyhalf Rich “Fabio” Watkins put inside center Mike “Griffo” Griffin into some clear space.

With the wind at our backs in the second half it was a confident YCAC side who ran out onto the field after the half-time break. However, Shonan Fuji made some substitutions at half-time which strengthened their pack (particularly their scrum) and the YCAC forwards got sucked in to trying to do too much themselves. Shonan Fuji tied the game with a try in the corner early in the second half and that was the end of the scoring.

It is often said that a draw “is like kissing your sister”. Being an only child the writer has never quite understood the dynamics of this but if the feeling after the match yesterday is the same as the feeling after kissing your sister then kissing your sister must be bloody awful!

However, while this was ultimately a disappointing result, there were plenty of positives to come out of this match. The biggest one is that we now have a much better feel for the level at which the top teams in the Kanagawa League are playing at. To progress to the East Japan Club Championships we need to finish in the top two in the Kanagawa League 1st Division Spring Competition. It is likely that our main rivals are going to be Shonan Fuji and the two Kanagawa League teams currently up in the East Japan Club Championships (Taisei and Quill). What yesterday’s result shows is that we are definitely good enough to win promotion out of the Kanagawa League but we have now hit a level whereby we are not guaranteed to win every time just by showing up.

Joe

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