31 Oct 2010 – YCAC vs Kitagami
(East Japan Club Championships Quarter Final)

YCAC Gents vs Kitagami
Match report by Michael Hunt and photos by Kyoko Obayashi

YCAC 41 v Kitagami 15 (Halftime: YCAC 12 v Kitagami 10)
Tries: Rocky Khan(2); Steve Gray; Dean Stallard; Joe Naulu; Joe Fisher
Conversions: Tim Le Nevez (4)

YCAC has booked a place in the semi-final of the East Japan Club Championship with a hard-fought 41-15 victory over Kitagami Yahaba Blaze Rugger at Kumagaya Rugby Stadium on Sunday.

Kitagami, based in northern Honshu(Iwate-ken), had travelled over 5 hours by bus to the game but it was a few of the YCAC players who arrived at the ground looking like they had taken the slow boat from hell. However, despite the early departure time from Tokyo, the prior night’s Halloween parties managed to spit YCAC’s players out of the bowels of Roppongi to ensure that the team had a full squad at the compulsory uniform check 90 minutes prior to kick-off. As the players lined up for the uniform interrogation, it was evident that some were wishing the typhoon that had hit the day before had also washed away the stadium and cancelled the game.

A further concern for YCAC was that it was missing usual halfback, Dougal “Bilbo” Robertson. Robertson has recently signed on to play the lead role in Peter Jackson’s new movie The Hobbit and was required for costume fittings back in his native Shire. Luckily for YCAC, Jackson kindly agreed for the team to borrow two other of his other hobbits who weren’t required in Middle Earth that day: Kane “Frodo” Hancy and Rocky “Samwise” Khan.

After an intense warm-up overseen by Jimmy “Lager Lout[1]” Maher, the large crowd that had gathered to watch YCAC’s new hobbits put on a magic show at halfback and flyhalf were disappointed to see Kitagami determined to spoil any sort of YCAC entertainment. Instead, Kitagami quickly showed that they were willing to slowly build momentum through their big forward pack before unleashing their electric backs. This tactic of starving YCAC of ball proved successful and it was a narrow two point lead that YCAC took into half time.

YCAC’s captain, Dean “o” Stallard, leading the side for his second time since the end of Joe “Saddam” Fisher’s reign of terror, demanded that the team display patience and composure to reduce the penalty count that was proving to be YCAC’s biggest hindrance. Certainly, there were no complaints about YCAC’s dedication on defence with many Kitagami players requiring medical attention after receiving crunching tackles. YCAC also felt the pain and after emerging from one ruck inside centre Tim “Grumps” Le Nevez was immediately overheard asking how many stitches would be required to a scratch sustained above his eye. Much to the amusement of the forwards when the reply was “none”, he went in search of a second opinion from at least three other players but wasn’t even offered a band-aid. Fortunately his kicking eye was not affected.

After the break YCAC galvanized and produced a spirited final 40 minutes. Tries did not come as easily for YCAC as they have in YCAC’s previous East Japan Championship matches but that ensured that each point earned was gratifying. At the 60 minute mark, YCAC were clinging on at 17-15 but finished the match strongly and the end score was not a true reflection of the battle. As a result of this vigorous contest, the team will undoubtedly be in a better position going into November 14’s semi-final against Joso Rugga from Hokkaido.

In the forwards, Fisher, back in YCAC colours for the first time in several weeks since being implicated in the operation of a cockfighting ring (of the human variety), had a tremendous second half in both the set pieces and broken play and sadly for him has surely cemented himself as a prop for the foreseeable future. The cockfighting ring, headed by disgraced ex-YCAC players Dom “Deported” Townsend and Erich “Deported II” Freiss, was uncovered after suspicions were initially raised in late September[2]. Japanese police reportedly found equipment associated with cockfighting, bloodstains on the walls of a room rented by Townsend and a bloodstained rug hidden on the property. They also removed more than 50 cocks from the house.

Finally, the curse of Frodo Hancy once again struck with his fellow hobbit Samwise returning to Middle Earth with a bandaged head after a nasty rip to his pointy ear. So far in this season’s East Japan Championship, three of Frodo’s gang have been injured during the three games and it appears unlikely that any others will be brave enough to tag along with him on his return to Mt “YCAC” Doom (via Jetstar) anytime soon.

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