24 Jan 2010 – YCAC Gents vs All Jinjan

Match report by Hunter Hemingway
Photos by Kyoko Obayashi
Gents photos
YCAC Gents 45, All Jinjan 17 (HT 18-12)

All Jin Jan (AJJ) are a very strong opponent and a club on the way up. Last year they were the nemesis of our friends the Tokyo Gaijin. AJJ won promotion to 1st Division of Tokyo Cup during the spring whereas the Gaijin were relegated to the 2nd Division in the same tournament. Then in the autumn AJJ won the 1st Division of the Shuto League with the Gaijin finishing up in 2nd place.

So impressive in fact were AJJ that the YCAC ‘brains trust’ of Steve “The Vicar” Lewis and “Slow” Joe Fisher came up with a three-step Machiavellian plan to ensure victory for the home team:

Step 1: Engender complacency in the build-up
Whilst Slow Joe busily stacked the side with as many 1st XV players as he could get his hands on Vicar spent the week reassuring AJJ that they would be playing our Gents team and probably sending them emails along the following lines:
Dear All Jin Jan,
May I call you Jinny? Well, we are really looking forward to you coming to YCAC this Sunday. You are absolutely our favourite team. I only hope that you take it easy on the useless bunch of old-timers I’m going to put out on the field against you!

Step 2: Create confusion on the day
AJJ thought the kick-off time was 3 pm. They had been sent emails which said this. The YCAC club thought the kick-off time was 3pm. They had a nicely printed sheet out on the ground that said this. However, at 1:55 pm Vicar and Slow Joe approached the opposition on behalf of the rugby section and argued vigorously that the correct kick-off time was in fact 2 pm and that AJJ and YCAC had got it wrong. The two lawyers used every tactic under the sun and eventually pinned the slightly stunned AJJ down to a 2:15 pm kick-off, meaning that their warm-up time was cut down from (the Japanese-standard) 1 hour to a mere 15 minutes.

Step 3: Break the one sacred rule of Japanese rugby – “Thou shalt not kick penalties”
In Japan, kicking penalties is kind of like having sex with your cousin. It may be very tempting in certain situations and there is no law against it but it is a practice which is very heavily frowned upon. So, when YCAC got a penalty handy to the posts early in the first half and Slow Joe pointed to the posts (with a knowing wink to Vicar) the AJJ side looked positively disgusted. Already in a weakened mental state after being fooled about the strength of their opponent and duped into an early kick-off, this final act of YCAC psychological warfare was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Realizing at this point that they were up against an opponent whose cunning knew no bounds, AJJ submitted to the inevitable …

In an interesting post-script to the match, “Big” Luke Raimo amazingly managed to win the Man of the Match drink-off against his opposite number easily even though Fisher (whose mental energy was clearly spent by this point) gave him the ‘away team’ mug to drink out of.

Hunter Hemingway


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