4 Apr 2009 ROW vs Europe

ROW 17 – Europe 12
Tries:
Kane Hancy, Ryan Rogers & Stevey Gray
Conversions: Dean Stallard
Tries: Will Whetstone & Rich Watkins
Conversions: Rafi
Match report by Dean Stallard

With a lead up of banter that will be hard to supersede the scene was firmly set for an epic battle, Harry Potter would have been proud of the trickery that was conjured up between the two teams. Yokohama turned on beautiful weather and Epic Battle is definitely the right two words. After months of mainly playing against Japanese teams the step up in defense was firmly felt by all – talking during the week there was a complete reversal on the comments coming out of both sides. It was mentioned that the Europe was under the impression we would dominate them in the forwards and they would match us in the backs – them matching us in the backs was totally reliant on a superstar player known as Tim (Erich Friess) Catlin. The reputation of the player and the confidence the Europe backs spoke with when simply mentioning his name was astounding Tim had been touted as a future England centre but little did they know that Erich Friess had set up a fake email account pretending to be the superstar.

Now one would say that this would be classed as a dirty tactic and slightly unfair but that would only come out of a European mouth with the underlying message they are dirty they didn’t think of it themselves! With Tim firmly in the plans of Europe and Erich feeding the ROW team emails with their trash talk and defensive strategies the ROW team felt they already had one hand on the prized Panty Shield. From the first kick off the tempo was intense and the arm wrestle started to unfold defense was strong but the slick footwork in broken play saw the Kane touch down under the posts. As quick as Kane had scored and Erich missed the conversion the Euro’s hit back straight off the kick off, a misjudged take saw the ball find its way to Will (Crowbar) Whetstone who managed to step through the broken defense and touch down under the posts and continue his amazing try scoring run. Will was later awarded YCAC’s MVP which I think everyone would agree 100% deserved, Will is back to England next month and will be missed but we all hope he can manage to find his way back to the land of the rising sun and YCAC one day.

With two further tries including an amazing intercept by Rich Watkins and try scoring machine Ryan Rogers the score at half time was all locked up. The real highlight of the first half didn’t come from any of the players but the referees ability and creativity to award Europe with a penalty count that had hit double figures within the first ten minutes then finishing off with a ROW disallowed try that only the gods will know if Maui did put his foot on the deadball line or not! The second half resumed an even tougher and gritty match was played due to what felt like 500 scrums within the ROW 22, both sides defended like it was the last match and both lines didn’t look like cracking until big Stevey Gray wound up on the back of some good lead up play to put a big fend on Steve Marcom and crash his way over the line. The penalty count continued to grow and with a penalty try mentioned the ROW scrum fought off repeated attempts for a push over try. With the last ten minutes spent in the ROW 22 and the Euro’s trying everything they could to break the line unsuccessfully time wound down and even with an alleged 3 minutes of extra time the Euro’s finally succumbed for the 2nd year in a ROW (Pardon the pun).

Celebrations between the teams kicked off including the end of year presentation the bagels were done as well as the speeches – overall the day was brilliant, the banter superb and a hard fought match between mates. Now with the standard set this game is definitely going to grow to one of the biggest fixtures of the year, well done to all and for another 363 days the Euro’s are the ROW’s Bitches once again……

Kind Regards

Dean Stallard

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