18 Jan 2009 – YCAC 1sts vs Tokyo Gaijin | YCAC Gents vs Shinjuku Jacks

YCAC 1sts 19, Tokyo Gaijin 14 (HT 12-8)
Steve Gray, Maui Magele, Will Whetstone
Cons: Tristan Fahy, Grant Thompson
Yellow Cards: YCAC 4 (Ryan Rogers, Steve Gray, Dai Okada, Dean Stallard), Tokyo Gaijin 1
Red Cards: YCAC 1 (Ryan Rogers), Tokyo Gaijin 0

YCAC Gents 35, Shinjuku Jacks 12 (HT 14-12)
Kenji, Rafi (2), Masa, Will Whetstone
Cons: Fraser (5)

YCAC 1sts
With the YCAC 1st XV achieving a record victory over the Tokyo Crusaders in the GM Cup match last November and the Tokyo Gaijin going through the autumn season unbeaten this match was clearly the decider for bragging rights amongst Tokyo’s foreign amateur community. And what a decider it turned out to be …

Despite a slightly disrupted build-up YCAC started the stronger of the two teams. The Tokyo Gaijin took an early penalty kick but YCAC got the first score of the match, exploiting our dominance in the scrum through a push-over try after the Tokyo Gaijin were penalized five meters from their line. A second YCAC try, exploiting an overlap out wide, followed soon afterwards. Unfortunately, as this try was being scored a fight developed off-the-ball. The end result of this scuffle was that three players were yellow-carded, two from YCAC and one from the Tokyo Gaijin. A further YCAC player was yellow-carded a few minutes later (for stomping) and the Tokyo Gaijin were able to exploit their two-man advantage and score a try to go into half-time trailing by only four points.

The Tokyo Gaijin opened the scoring in the second half with another penalty. They then took the lead with another penalty when yet another YCAC player was yellow-carded for killing the ball close to the YCAC line. A few minutes later YCAC’s embarrassing run of binnings continued when one of the YCAC players who had earlier been given a yellow-card was red-carded for a second binnable offence (shoulder charge off the ball). [As a subsequent development the YCAC Committee has stood this player down for the next two weeks.]

With YCAC reduced to 14 men and behind on the scoreboard heading into the final two minutes of the match it looked almost certain that the Tokyo Gaijin were finally about to achieve the victory over YCAC which they so desperately want and which has eluded them for so many years. However, as the score sheet indicates, that is not how it played out. YCAC managed to dig deep when they needed it most and score the winning try in the final play of the match – a solid YCAC scrum on the Tokyo Gaijin 22 meter line to allow the No. 8 to set up a ruck on the short-side before swinging the ball openside through the hands of the backline and finally finding a gap to crash through. After the conversion went over the referee blew his whistle for full time. The YCAC sideline and players erupted in celebration of the victory.


YCAC Gents
This match was the proverbial “game of two halves” (unfortunately no longer in the physical sense given that Sushi has returned to the Land of the Hobbits leaving Mike The Dwarf to battle it out alone in the second row). The first half was a titanic battle with the game constantly swinging like a pendulum. Kenji “No Red Gloves” continued his fine try scoring form and burst from the halfway line to run 50 metres before scoring underneath the posts. Let’s hope that those form-depleting red gloves remain permanently at the bottom of his rubbish bin. Shinjuku Jacks are known for the element of surprise and they sneakily dressed their best player in Arsenal football kit. Thinking that the guy was a novice to rugby, our cover defence sauntered across for a cover tackle only to find that the little speedster had a pacey outside break which left our boys standing and resulted in a try under the posts to level the scores.

The YCAC Boys are nothing if not resilient and Rafi powered over to restore the lead only for Shinjuku Jacks to hit back with another try. Our talismanic hooker, Scott Sizemore, then fell victim to the new plastic pitch when his studs caught in the turf and he ripped his calf muscle (a similar injury occuring to an opposition winger in the 1st Team game later in the day). Those of us who were Prophets of Doom when the plastic pitch was first mooted are taking no satisfaction whatsoever in the toll of injuries that are mounting up at YCAC this season.

It is at times like this that momentum can swing in an instance and Men need to stand up and be counted. Just such an incident occurred when the biggest Shinjuku Jack forward took a tap penalty and charged towards our line. The YCAC forwards were bracing themselves in trepidation when Fraser “Buffalo Butt” Jamieson darted in front of them and flattened the forward with aplomb. We know that the shoulder charge tackle is banned in rugby, but should the referee have penalised Fraser for his newly invented Belly Flop tackle?

The second half started with triumph and disaster rolled into one as Simon Ryan made a marvellous 40 metre break only to pull up just short of the line with yet another torn hamstring. How many times has Simon now torn his hammy? One has to wonder whether he has been cursed by the Shinto Goddess of Teenage Girls who is getting her revenge by tearing Simon’s hamstring as many times as he has torn maidenheads…

Fortunately, when Simon departed he left the YCAC in good field position from which Rafi barged over to score. The game was still in the balance until Masa scored the killer blow and banished the Golden Bagel for another season. Will Whetstone added the icing on the cake to make this the best YCAC victory against Shinjuku Jacks in the history of the fixture.

Nike won the Man of the Match award both for his performance on the pitch and his close affinity with the bath houses of Shinjuku.



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