Tokyo Gaijin 22 Swift 0

Sunday saw the Gaijin once more fit and ready for action at outer Tokyo?s hard-to-find Kizooch Field. The patter of rain on rice-paddy and the repeated wail of ambulances confirmed the location, and in a new and gleaming white kit an almost unchanged squad was determined to stay in contention for the cup.

PHOTOS

Tokyo Gaijin 22 Swift 0

Sunday saw the Gaijin once more fit and ready for action at outer Tokyo?s hard-to-find Kizooch Field. The patter of rain on rice-paddy and the repeated wail of ambulances confirmed the location, and in a new and gleaming white kit an almost unchanged squad was determined to stay in contention for the cup.

Unfortunately, Swift had much the same idea, and they immediately lived up to their name, stretching the Gaijin left and right as they ran and re-cycled the ball deep into the Gaijin 22. This was a ferocious opening offensive, only halted by some great scrambling defence in which Takeshi Takeda and Steve Bull were prominent. Blake Walker was also pumping back stray kicks with interest, finding long touches with unerring consistency.

After a few deep breaths, the Gaijin played with more composure, Murray Clarke cinching the line-outs and Mark Pearson anchoring the scrums. Joe Fisher reminded the players of the game plan ? keep it close in the drizzle - and after a prolonged siege on the Swift line, it was the captain himself who crashed over from close range for the opening score.

Confidence boosted, the Gaijin took control. Takashi Mutou was an assured presence at half-back, while Chris Lucas on his debut partnered up with Mauro Sauco in the second row to keep the grr in the set-piece grunt. Whenever Swift threatened to break free in the backs, Brian McKiernon and Jyoh Iwasaki were over them like a blustery storm. As the centres cancelled out each other?s attacks, the Gaijin?s superiority in the back row began to tell. Todd Collins scavenged and ripped like a much younger man, while Joffa Harris bossed all-comers at the rucks and mauls.

Deservedly, it was So Nagashima on the end of the second try. Standing in at hooker at late notice, he still managed to get round the field like the non-stop number 7 he is. Beard struck a sweet conversion, and the Gaijin made half-time with a decent platform at 12-0.

However, this game took a long time to win, and it was only Blake?s try in the corner, after an inch-perfect pass from Jyoh, which gave the Gaijin a cushion mid-way through the second-half. Shin and Felix came on as replacements and got involved, and when Joffa rumbled over for a late score the job was finally done.

For the second game in succession, this was an excellent team performance. As we all know, it would be literally impossible to compete in the Tokyo Cup without the designated back-up people. Thanks, yet again, to the Ayako?s, Chuckie, Aaron,
Shino, Niall, Takayuki, Jerry, Mizue, and Brian?s friend.

 

Next up, the semi-final on 23/05/04.

Man of the Match

: So ?Yogi? Nagashima

Jerry of the Match: Jerry Brady

(Administrative note: it has been requested by the kicking staff that in future tries be scored at or near the posts. Many thanks for your consideration.)