25 Nov 2007 – YCAC 1sts vs Nihon Unisys

YCAC 1sts 29, Nihon Unisys 22 (HT 12-10)
Match Report – Joe Fisher

Tries: Janco Lubbe, Matt Creagh (2), Joe Fisher, Liaghn Moolman
Cons: Tristan Fahy, Ben Duncan

After the loss to the Crusaders the previous weekend this was a ‘must-win’ match for the 1sts. A victory was necessary to boost morale and to get the season back on track. As such, the tension level for this game was definitely a notch above an ordinary Sunday hit-out. Adding to this pressure was the fact that, due to this match falling on a long weekend, the club had to dig deep into its playing resources to even field a team.

The first half was evenly contested with each team scoring two tries apiece. YCAC’s first try went to Janco ‘The Boy Wonder’ Lubbe. In his debut match for the 1sts the fresh-faced schoolboy made the most of the space created by the players inside of him to score a classic winger’s try in the corner. YCAC’s next try went to Matt ‘Matty’ Creagh. Despite the rigors of living in the most over-sexed house in Tokyo (with fellow YCAC Aussies Dominic ‘Dom’ Townsend and Sam ‘Sammy’ Heinrich), Matt still managed enough energy to crash through a strong Unisys tackler and dot down for the team’s second try of the half. Tries aside, the first half followed a familiar pattern where, as is often the case, YCAC looked more physical and individually talented whilst their smaller opponents looked better drilled and more cohesive. With YCAC taking a narrow 12-10 lead into the half-time break, the foundations for another exciting afternoon of rugby at Yamate Oval had been well and truly laid.

The second half did not disappoint. In a match where neither team ever moved more than a converted try ahead of their opponents neither side could afford any drop-off in intensity. In the first 25 minutes of the second stanza the teams remained locked together with another two tries to each side. For YCAC, the try scorers were Matt Creagh and ‘Slow’ Joe Fisher. Both tries were scored in trademark fashion for each player – the lanky Queenslander from the House of Pleasure got his double after a fifty meter jinking run through the opposition. Fisher got his score in his much more prosaic fashion – he dived over from a meter out after some good set-up work from the twin towers Aaron ‘Sideshow Bow’ Lazeo and Chris ‘Tintin’ Mann.

So, with less than 10 minutes on the clock the score was locked up at 22-all. You would usually think this would be the time for the YCAC old heads to take control, but on this occasion the deadlock was broken by another YCAC teenager, Liaghn ‘Sphinx’ Moolman. Ripping the ball from an opposition player on the half-way mark the quiet young South African showed a turn of pace that can’t have come from his father and powered his way to the line for the decisive score. The fact that the pendulum had definitively swung in YCAC’s favor was illustrated when the referee awarded Ben ‘Silver Fox’ Duncan’s conversion despite both touch judges, the Silver Fox himself, and even some bloke out sailing in the harbour seeing that the kick was wide. Such is rugby – some days you get the breaks, some days you don’t.

YCAC closed out the match in clinical fashion and there was real delight (and not a little relief) upon hearing the referee’s final whistle. After the disappointment of the Crusaders match the 1sts had ground out a hard-fought win and regained a little spirit in the process.

Finally, a special mention must go to Man of the Match, Tristan ‘Free Trial Offer’ Fahy. He’s been in Japan for six weeks and has already turned out for three of Tokyo’s foreign teams – All France, the Crusaders, and now YCAC. (The Tokyo Gaijin must be wondering what they did wrong.) Although some would say that such rugby profligacy should be discouraged, we prefer to think that young Mr. Fahy is just shopping around until he finds the right Tokyo rugby fit. After a strong first-half in the number thirteen (or should that be “thurteen”) jersey, we hope that the right fit has now been found.

Joe Fisher

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