20 Mar 2010 – YCAC vs Tokyo Crusaders

Match report by Hunter Hemingway
Match photos by Kyoko Obayashi
Match photos
YCAC 42, Tokyo Crusaders 17 (HT: 15-10)

Changing the pitch from grass to artificial pitch was supposed to take Mother Nature out of play. However, poets warn of the dangers of a woman scorned and Gaia has certainly wreaked her revenge this season by ensuring weather conditions heavily influenced several of our bigger fixtures. For example:

* Our game against the Nagoya Barbarians was plagued by such a freak storm that we were reduced to offering up a shirtless Vicar holding an aluminum touch flag as a lightening rod sacrifice.

* The Tokyo Gaijin match was so cold that the entire YCAC team were seen sticking their hands down their pants at every break in some kind of pagan fertility ritual.

* Finally, this match was saw a wind so strong that a five point difference at half-time led to the strange sight of the winning team despondent and the trailing team buoyant.

(Interestingly enough, all of these matches were against foreign teams. This makes me doubly suspicious that there was some kind of divine intervention involved. Maybe the Japanese rugby gods have decided this is the season to start punishing the gaijin teams for our sacrilegious ways – no training sessions, pre-match warm-ups of less than one hour, no lengthy post-match debriefs, no tears in either joy or victory, occasional trimming of the hair which grows in our nether regions, etc.)

As alluded to above, after playing the first half with the wind at our backs we took a five point lead but also a general feeling of disappointment into the half-time break. This may have been partly because we were feeling the absence of our talismans (Rhino, Vicar, Buffalo Butt, SS) on the sidelines. However, much of the credit for YCAC’s lackluster first half must go to the Cru. They turned up with a large squad (reinforced by a few Navy players) and for the first time in a couple of years we got the sense that they really believed they could win this match. Luckily YCAC shook off their lethargy during the break and came out firing in the second half with a couple of quick tries to put the result beyond doubt.

In terms of individual performances, the two cuzzy bros (No. 8 Steve Gray and winger Eps Tuibenau) were both in fine form, each bagging a brace of tries. However, it must be recorded that Eps did blot his copybook after the match by losing the MVP drink-off to the Cru prop Pete Bruin and in so doing breaking YCAC’s amazing run of 10 consecutive drink-off victories.

In terms of individual moments, none was bigger than the second-half try scored by veteran lock Stephen “Hang Time” Marcon. Although this try was important in the context of the match its real value was that it removed Marcon from the list of Golden Bagel recipients, which is quickly shrinking to feature only one man, the inventor of the award (oh, the irony), Erich “Freezer” Friess. Freezer’s growing desperation can be seen through his claim that as he personally did not witness Marcon’s try (he was at the bottom of a ruck at the time) he needs Marcon to produce pictorial or videographic evidence of the actual act of scoring before he can be officially removed from the list.

Hunter Hemingway

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