17 Jan 2010 – YCAC Gents vs New York All Japan

Match report by Hunter Hemingway
Photos by Kyoko Obayashi
Gents photos
YCAC Gents 19, New York All Japan 22 (HT 7-10)

I am not a superstitious man but when one of your best players pulls out on the morning of the match due to the shits it can hardly be an auspicious start. Captain Fisher showed me the text message announcing this unfortunate predicament and I think we can all agree that it was the model of succinctness: “Sorry mate have the runs quite badly this morning not going to be able to play today”. Definitely no verbal diarrhea here, only the physical kind …

This match did however see the return to the pitch of Captain of Vice Dean “Comeback Kid” Stallard and fly-half Ben “Billy Elliot” Patu, two YCAC stalwarts who have missed most of the season so far with neck and knee injuries respectively. Patu’s rehabilitation method was through traditional Samoan dance, forming the dance group “Samoan Surprise” with fellow YCAC member Maui “Customer Service” Magele. (Apparently the group’s name came about through Maui’s reaction to his wife’s news that she was pregnant again.) Stallard’s favoured rehabilitation method has not been revealed yet. No doubt he will say it is sex and given that his “room-mate” Tristan “Dean’s Bitch” Fahy has recently been spotted around the offices of Herbert Lewis with a tired expression and a pained walking style this may very well be true. Regardless, these unusual rehabilitation methods obviously worked because both Patu and Stallard played very well in their first matches back, Patu even managing a try and thereby removing himself from an ever-decreasing circle of Holy Bagel contenders – starting to feel lonely Erich? Loose forwards Fisher and Frazer also continued their fine try-scoring form through two more excellent displays of ball-hogging. Fisher’s was particularly spectacular – he simply held onto the ball for so long that everyone else on the pitch decided the simplest thing to do was just award a try so he would finally let go of the bloody thing.

However, despite the best efforts of the home team, New York All Japan could not be denied their victory. A YCAC loss is a fairly rare thing – one club member asked me afterwards if that is the first time the YCAC rugby team has ever lost(?!) – but there is no need for team-wide seppuku (ritual suicide by disembowelment) over this one. We are still working our way back into fitness after the excesses of the Christmas and New Year break and a little detective work at the aftermatch function revealed that the opposition had plenty of ringers (top university and corporate players even). Given the moniker “New York All Japan” my cunning tactic was to approach each opposition member in turn and read aloud the first three paragraphs of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby*. I had 7 very lively conversations about 20th century American literature (these were the genuine players) and 15 guys quickly waving their hands across their face at me (these were the ringers).

However, there is absolutely no doubt that New York All Japan will get an invitation back to YCAC next season. Not because it was a good game. Not because the beat us and we want revenge. Not because they were good guys. The reason they will get a “please come again” is because they had by far and away the prettiest female supporters of any team we have played in the last few seasons. They were stunners and it made for a fantastic aftermatch, watching the likes of Stallard desperately trying to think of ways to crack on to these girls with their boyfriends/husbands in the same room.

Finally, I am pleased to report that after my report last week raised the issue of our terrible performance in drink-offs so far this season, a champion has finally been found. King, Richard “The Third” annihilated his opponent in a fine display of beer guzzling and I can foresee many more Man of the Match awards coming his way this season, regardless of his performance on the pitch.

Hunter Hemingway

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