Saturday 8 December 2001

We posted two excellent wins, leaving the first XV with a P7, W7 record for the first half of the season and the Gents P6 W5.

The Gents beat All France 34-17 in a very rugged contest. Andy Martyr showed speed, skill & style as well as the handy upper cut that earned him 10 minutes in the sin bin. Garlo sparkled for the half he played and scored 2 tries, Mike Benner was outstanding in the lineout and Kuri-chan made some great hits at fullback.
Scottie Sizemore, Richard Hoskin and Mike Benner all took knocks that will keep them out for a few weeks, but they and they rest of the team deserve congratulations for a very committed display. Try scorers were Rob Keay, Kuri-chan, Garlo (2) and Rich Corner. Rob kicked 2 conversions and a penalty and Andy Martyr got one.
The first team, featuring 4 guests from Tokyo Crusaders as so many of the YCAC squad were injured or away, faced Keio University 3rd XV, who had beaten us in the centenary game last year. We didn’t expect it to be easy, and the half-dozen random penalties the ref gave them in the first five minutes combined with their determination to run everything confirmed that it would be a hard, hard game. Our tackling was outstanding, though, the pack disrupted their first phase possession (Arthur was absolutely brilliant against their short lineout), and our backs constantly knocked theirs onto the back foot. With 5 minutes to go in the first half, Nick Bartleot made the first breakthrough to score under the posts. He converted to leave us 7-0 up at half-time.
It was more of the same in the second half (although with 7 fresh pairs of legs on their side!) but our forward pressure really began to tell. Arthur scored from a short penalty, Rob Keay from a pushover scrum, and Sam Jeffries touched down too. Nick added another try with a scintillating burst down the blind side from a scrum and kicked 2 more conversions. Keio never made it easy, though. As we added points, so did they with 3 second half tries. At the final whistle, it was 31-15 – beers for us and tears for them (literally in some cases). Well done to everyone for a great performance, and many thanks to Ceders, Rob, Sam & Shin for their efforts. A big welcome too, to Yusuke, Erich’s colleague at work and in the front row union.

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