YCAC v Joso Sunday 8th of Jan 2012

Match report by Willie Lapthorn and photos by Kyoko Obayashi.

For those of you who haven’t seen the movie Moneyball, it is the story
of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s successful attempt to put
together a baseball club on a budget by employing statistical analysis
to draft his players. This isn’t quite the same as YCAC general
manager Simon Ryan who has solely relied on drafting a squad through
his players replying “yes” in response to a plea to play, but only by
employing inventive statistical analysis can it be established that
most YCAC players have any value at all. There are those that are too
fat, too skinny, too old, too lazy and too lippy. However, despite the
team being at war with the forces of nature and conventional wisdom,
last Sunday at Kumagaya Rugby Stadium the club qualified for promotion
to the seven-team Kanto Top League through victory (and a bloody
boring game) against Joso Rugby Club.

Considering this momentous occasion of three years of blood, sweat,
tears and promotion through the ranks of Japanese amateur rugby, it is
perhaps apt to briefly reflect on some of the changes that have
happened from the start of that period until now.

The campaign has been tough. So tough, in fact, that the stress caused
ex-YCAC President Simon Ryan to lose his hair and he had to make way
for the quiffed-Fraser Jamieson in mid 2011. Sadly, Fraser immediately
battled in the top job and has never been seen at a single YCAC game
since he took the reins. He has, however, been seen thousands of times
on facebook as his addiction to self-promotion reaches sickening
levels. In between updating photos of himself from his first days at
school for his 873 facebook friends to admire, Fraser learned of
YCAC’s promotion victory.**

The younger leaders have also been affected by the pressure cooker
environment. The yellow fever of Joe Fisher, the first captain to lead
YCAC in the East Japan competition, advanced to a terminal stage and
he made the incomprehensible decision to give up the booze for two of
the most painful years of his life. With that teetotal decision he was
also forced to give up the captaincy and in came bigtalking, slow
walking, but most importantly, alcoholic, Dean Stallard. Only time
will tell if these two best friends with matching tattoos will remain
that way as Fisher was reportedly back on the wagon after Sunday’s
game – Fisher might also have a newly-found thirst to lead YCAC to be
the best amateur team in Japan during the 2012/13 season.

Speaking of big talking, YCAC had no coach in the early years but on
Sunday had the delusional Jimmy Maher calling the shots. When not
barking orders at his troops, Jimmy spent every minute talking up his
future as a ski resort tycoon to anyone that would listen. However,
following the old adage of “money talks and bullshit walks”, Jimmy
only brought 1000 yen and no bank card with him to celebrate at YCAC’s
victory dinner. Far from being apologetic, Jimmy borrowed money off
the poorest guy in the team before announcing that he was going on
holiday for a month to Thailand and then walked off into the night.

Now back to the game.

In the first minutes of the first half, star scrumhalf Willie Lapthorn
was dealt a game-ending knee injury. The team looked in dire straits.
However, they say that cometh the hour cometh the man and it was
reserve back Ben Duncan declaring that he used to play scrumhalf
during his school days as he unsuited ready for action. Unfortunately
this bold announcement from Ben turned out to be effective as his
memory of 6th grade long division and it wasn’t long before he
realized that spending 10mins in the sin-bin would save him 10mins of
choking on the field. Despite his memory loss, Ben certainly
remembered how to wear a blazer and tie as he modeled the YCAC
aftermatch uniform with distinction.

The first half ambled on but at no time did either side look capable
of scoring a try. It was so dull that the grass began dying. What the
game needed was an ecstasy pill and thankfully it arrived in the form
of YCAC’s flagship sponsor, Meitan Tradition’s Adrian “Ado” Bell. Ado,
playing the role of water boy, kicking tee courier and chief barracker
like no other had done before him, came into his own during the second
half and became increasingly animated as the minutes ticked by. The
pill kicked in, the YCAC players lifted off Ado’s gusto and it wasn’t
long before the tries started coming as freely as the comments on
Fraser’s newly-added photos.

The end result was a deserved 25-5 win to YCAC – an event that was
probably the last thing on the players’ minds when they woke up on
Monday morning after a big night of celebrations.

** Considering Fraser’s penchant for technology, this is the most
appropriate forum to publish his 30,000 yen fine (for not attending
the match) handed down at a hastily convened Kangaroo Court at the
YCAC victory dinner under the Ueno train tracks.

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