20 June 2010 – YCAC vs Taisei

Match report by Hunter Hemingway and photos by Kyoko Obayashi
Click here to view match photos
YCAC 49, Taisei 19 (HT: 24-14)
Tries: Mike Griffin, Rich Watkins (2), Willie Lapthorn, Sias Potgieter, Rafi Khan, Kats Matsuo, Noah Pflaum
Conversions: Noah Pflaum (3)
Penalty: Noah Pflaum

What is the perfect gift for Father’s Day? A ‘pass’ to play rugby it seems, at least among the YCAC crowd, with no less than thirteen Dads in our squad of twenty two (and that doesn’t even count No. 8 Steve “Big Cuzzy Bro” Gray whose first child is only days away).

And so it was that on a hot and breezy day at Hodogaya (the club’s home away from home) YCAC, temporarily renamed ‘Dad’s Army’, swept away Taisei to claim the Kanagawa League 1st Division title and send out a message that we have no intention to only be making up the numbers in the regional competition we have qualified for this autumn.

Taisei were arguably the favourites for this match, having won the competition in 2008 and 2009 and been in very good form over the last few weeks, and with a strong wind behind them they did take the early lead. However, first half tries to outside centre Mike “Hurricane” Griffin and wingers Rich “Curly” Watkins and “Wee” Willie Lapthorn plus three conversions and a penalty to fullback Noah “The Bottomless Fareweller” Pflaum saw YCAC take a 24-14 lead into the half-time break and with the benefit of a strong tail wind in the second half the match was always going to be YCAC’s to lose.

Losing, however, was something YCAC had no intention of doing and replacement lock Sias “Big Daddy Potheater” Potgieter and replacement hooker Rafi “Ghengis” Khan signalled this by fighting their way through several defenders to score two early tries in the second half. To be fair to Taisei though, they never gave up and spent most of the rest of the match camped near the YCAC line. However, YCAC were not to be denied and when replacement winger Kats “Marathon Man” Matsuo and fullback Pflaum scored length of the field intercept tries Taisei knew this wasn’t to be their day. The opposition did manage a consolation try a couple of minutes before full time but one last piece of trickery from Watkins ensured that YCAC finished with the final score of the match (and Watkins with a well-deserved double).

After such a great performance there was plenty to celebrate and no celebration was more eagerly looked forward to by the club faithful than prop Erich “Freezer” Friess’s date with a bagel. In one of life’s great ironies the man who invented the award for zero tries in a season has now become its most famous recipient and this year went on to claim the prize for a record sixth time. In honour of this momentous achievement Club President Simon “Reno” Ryan had his wife bake a special commemorative bagel for Erich and the big man went on to demolish it (along with two beers) in front of an audience that was both amused (the players) and confused (the wives and children).

Hunter Hemingway

Team Sheet
1. Erich “Freezer” Friess (USA)
2. Dean “Moe” Stallard (Australia) (cv)
3. Leopold “Oz” Visser (South Africa)
4. Stephen “Hang Time” Marcon (England)
5. Aran “Two Inches” Delaney (USA)
6. David “The Goliath” Dix (Australia)
7. “Slow” Joe Fisher (NZ) (c)
8. Steve “Big Cuzzy Bro” Gray (NZ)
9. Dougal “Big Daddy White Serevi” Robertson (NZ)
10. “Big” Ben Patu (Samoa)
11. “Wee” Willie Lapthorn (NZ)
12. Maui “Customer Service” Magele (Samoa)
13. Mike “Hurricane” Griffin (Australia)
14. Rich “Curly” Watkins (England)
15. Noah “The Bottomless Fareweller” Pflaum (Singapore)
16. Rafi “Ghengis” Khan (USA)
17. Yoshio “Nike” Naiki (Japan)
18. Sias “Big Daddy Potheater” Potgieter (South Africa)
19. Conor “Tristan’s Disciple” O’Shea (Ireland)
20. Kats “Marathon Man” Matsuo (Japan)
21. Heihachiro “Ben Affleck” Yamaguchi (Japan)
22. Charlie “Wendy” Caskey (Canada)

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