31 Oct 2009 – YCAC Gents vs Tottori | YCAC 1sts vs Tokyo Crusaders

2nd’s match report by Steve Lewis
1st’s match report by Joe Fisher
Photos by Kyoko Obayashi
Gents photos
1sts photos
Aftermatch
YCAC Gents 31, Tottori 17

1st Team 41, Tokyo Crusaders 17 (HT: 22 – 10)

YCAC 2nd Team
As a cow-pat attracts flies, so the Bledisloe Cup in Tokyo attracted the foul-smelling Wild Men of Tottori and a horde of overseas Kiwis/Aussies who were desperate to pollute the purity of the Yamate Field. Indeed, the evening before the game both Nick “If you Think Fraser Has Put on a Bit of Weight, Take a Look at me” Garling and Steve “I Was So Drunk All Weekend I Couldn’t Even Hit the Wall With My Pizza From 3 Paces” Smith made themselves available for selection. But, of course, none of the Aussies turned up (as usual!) so it was Kiwis who bolstered the ranks of the YCAC Gents.

Sadly, two of our number were playing their final games for YCAC before heading for life overseas. Fittingly, both Graeme Creighton (South Africa) and Sandy Rose (Spain) scored fine individual tries. Both have a liking for heights with Sandy being a world-renowned co-pilot and Graeme having recently married a pole vaulter.

As in our previous encounters, the Wildmen of Tottori have improved year after year under the expert coaching of Neil “Teflon” Smith. Fortunately for YCAC, scoring tries has never been Teflon’s strong point and so the Wildmen were unable to convert all their pressure into points. And so at half-time the scores were evenly balanced at 12-5 to YCAC.

In the second half, YCAC brought on its Big Gun in the shape of Scott “Four and a Half Bellies” Sizemore who had clearly been stung into a fitness regime by last week’s match report. The shedding of half a belly was not enough to save the Wildmen from the Scrummage Squeeze and Shove that Scott has perfected. Kenji Watermelon profited from the dominance of the front row by scoring two tries around the fringes.

To cap a wonderful afterrnoon, the Legend of Yamate himself (Simon “El Presidente” Ryan) trotted off the bench but sprinted through the opposition to score close to the posts. What a tactic : the opposition fall for it ever time. Bring on a guy who looks to be in his eighties and then see him sprint to the line. Maybe the Aussies should have tried that rather than relying on a bunch of school-kids in the Bledisloe.

On being asked to comment on the performances of Referee Vicar and Assistant Referee Partyman, the watching Paddy O’Brien guffawed in a manner which suggests that neither are likely to receive the international call-up they both think they deserve.

Vicar

YCAC 1st Team
On a sunny day in Yamate the YCAC 1sts triumphed over a competitive Tokyo Crusaders side to retain the GM Cup and extend their lead in the total tally to 6-4.

In the week leading up to the match there had been murmurs that the Cru would be making use of several “guest players” and these rumours proved to be accurate with a couple of our friends from the Nagoya Barbarians bolstering the Cru front row and some other players coming in from a little further abroad (including the eventual Man of the Match from the Cru, a current Hong Kong international).

The Cru were clearly very ‘up’ for this match and the writer was impressed to see them already stretching as a team when he arrived at YCAC at 10:30 am (an hour and a half before kick-off). However, once the match kicked off it was the home team who started stronger with the phenom, 19 year old fullback Noah “The New Crowbar” Pflaum, getting YCAC on the board with a penalty early on and then going on to score the first try of the match.

Down 10-0 after only a few minutes it would have been easy for Cru heads to drop but that didn’t happen and it was obvious that this encounter was going to be far more keenly contested than the blowout one year ago when the Cru hit back with a try to veteran halfback Tom Summersall.

It is sometimes difficult to pinpoint exactly when the turning point of a match is. Some would point to the series of 3 quick tries for YCAC midway through the second half but for the writer there were two incidents in the first half which were more telling – a YCAC push-over try and a miracle tackle by Noah Pflaum to deny the Cru what looked like a certain score. The combination of these events gave YCAC a feeling that they had the winning of the game as long as they stuck to their strategy.

The first half closed out with each team getting one more try, YCAC’s score coming after a good run from impressive openside flanker Brimman “Brutus” Frazer. The message at half-time was just to keep it up and the second half started well with lock Sias “Big Daddy Potheater” Potgieter scoring from a driving maul. At this point YCAC had the luxury of bolstering their forward pack by bringing on four players who had all represented their country at various levels – lock David “Dixie” Dix (Wallabies), lock Brendon “Cheese” Timmins (NZ Universities, Highlanders Super 12), flanker Tony “The Original Big Daddy” Baildon (Australian Schoolboys) and No. 8 Steve “Big Cuzzy Bro” Gray (NZ Schoolboys) – and the win was sealed with a couple of tries from the writer who exploited well the age-old technique of following more talented players around and waiting for passes from them when they get tackled just short of the line.

Within minutes of the final whistle the Cup was filled with beer and passed around for all to drink out of, including Rochelle MacFadyen (Gareth’s sister) and Paddy O’Brien (Head of the IRB Referee’s Board). Paddy says he was very impressed with the standard of the match and would like to come back next year to referee it. Here’s hoping – after 10 fixtures competing for the Cup it is clear that both clubs remain extremely passionate about this match so it would be great to have such a distinguished referee controlling the game next year.

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