Sunday 2 February

In weather cold enough to freeze Budge Pountney’s one remaining bollock, the Gents’ mountain of a fixture against All Kanagawa Select turned into a veritable Everest. Before kick-off, the Gents hopes were dealt two mortal blows. First, we lost our Zimbabwean flyer Kingdom “Showboat” Mugadze to the insatiable desire of Japanese TV audiences for high quality intellectual stimuli : a camera crew paying him so that they could film a black man on the ski slopes. Second, the boys from the US Navy telephoned to say that they would be late for the kick-off : no surprises there for historians of World War II. Within 60 seconds of kick-off All Kanagawa launched an attack from their own 22 and scored under the posts : a clear case of the 55 year old Ken Dodd being at fault for not keeping up with their 19 year old Olympic class speedster. And then horror of horrors : Scottie “Iron Man” Sizemore went down clutching his ankle. Scott has not acknowledged pain in 50 years since the midwife dispensed with slaps and went for the branding iron. Fortunately, it was no more than a compound fracture so Scottie simply amputated the offending limb and hopped through the rest of the match. Scott and his goatee brother Hoskie were joined in the front row by the man with the voice/ manners of a public schoolboy but as much of the milk of human kindness as the Kray Brothers : yes, TrossYoule was back for his annual propping masterclass. Together they dominated the scrums and it was no surprise that the Gents pack stormed over for two push-over tries : one expertly scored by Eugene Kyim who picked up at No.8 and drove over the line. The other was a debutante try by second row Milo “Honestly, I was just a farmer in Croatia during the War” Lolic. Despite his post-match claims that he had got a hand to the ball, the referee confirmed later that the necessary downward pressure was applied by Milo’s arse. Unfortunately, All Kanagawa scored 7 tries of their own, but these were of distinctly lower quality, involving lots of running and passing and jinking and side-steps which we all know have very little to do with what rugby is all about. Final score : 12-39. Other notable mentions for Roy “anyone’s boots are my kicking boots” Leckie with a masterful display in midfield and Kevin “who’s your Daddy?” Gibson for a tenacious performance at scrum-half.

The All Kanagawa firsts were supremely pumped up after the curtain raiser and were set to sweep the YCAC. Rather than spotting them the five points we usually spot our visitors, we spotted them 10 before Nick “Lefty” Humphries took a short ball from Garlo to cut their lead to 10-5. Our play improved as the game progressed, however in the waning minutes of the first half, an All Kanagawa winger, walking the touch line tight rope, slipped in for a try to raise their lead to 17-5 at the half. After a brief snow storm, George found Zuzu’s petals, and the YCAC found the tigger to get back into the game. Combative locks, Tom “Nice Gloves” Jones and Paddy “Bun in the Oven” Maloney, and stout tight head, Yusuke “The Hammer” Hamoka, fired the team up with some punchy runs. Rob “Bush Pig” Evans, making his long awaited return to the pitch, pummeled his way though All Kangawa’s vaunted backline. Once again, Nick Humphries scored after a short ball from Garlo and the YCAC was back in the game. Yoshi “Malts” Amano and Terry “Banzai” Brink led by example with devastating attacking and tackling. The back row combination of Yoshi and Rob “Roids” Jee clicked as Yoshi scored under the posts. A Rich Freeman conversion knotted the score at 17-17. Arthur “Tough as Teak” G-D-C played a heroic match until the pain was to much to bear (and he reckoned he saw Terry Dixon’s canteen girl on the side line) and limped off in the 27th minute of the second half. The YCAC manhandled the Selects upfront and following a 5m scrum, Garlo sent the ball wide (very wide) to winger Go “Don’t Stop” Ito, who touched down the winning try! Final Score YCAC 22 All Kanagawa 17. The Men of the Match were Nick Humphries and Yoshi Amano, who both played superb games.

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