Dateline: 27th June, 2010
The final match of the 2010 Tokyo Cup, presented the Tokyo Gaijin with a chance to return to the 1st division for next year's campaign. Pitted against Dasewa on an overcast late June day, we all knew that a much more cohesive team effort would be needed following our "mediocre" win over All France the previous week.
Before the start of the game the Gaijin were dealt a blow with the No. 17 jersey missing from the kit bag. The anal nature of the Tokyo Cup meant that we would have to do without one reserve for the game (the jersey was later handed back to us by the management at the nearby clubrooms, having been left there after our previous game). Unfortunately it was Jesse Takahashi who was on the team sheet as No. 17 and it was him who missed out on playing on the day.
With both captain and vice captain out of the match injured, the captaincy duties were handed to former captain and halfback Al Nimmo.
Right from the start, it looked like the Gaijin had learnt their lessons from the previous week as the forwards worked well as a unit and consistently blew the opposition off the ball earning a number of tightheads at scrumtime. The backs too, led capably by Brendon Doherty at standoff, produced some flowing movements and numerous clean breaks. Wing Bryan O'Brien, although not receiving too many chances with the ball in hand, was a standout on defense, making a number of crucial tackles to thwart opposition attacks.
Tries were scored by Doherty (who went over twice) and Joffa Harris with Doherty having a tremendous game with the boot, nailing all three conversions and also a penalty in the second half to give the Gaijin some breathing space.
The man of the match award for the day went to openside flanker Dave Kelver who had a whale of a game tackling everything that moved. Towards the end of the game when the summer heat was starting to take effect on the big Gaijin forwards, Kelver could be heard encouraging his team mates to "fight `til the end". The front-row of Warren Adamson, Rob Poulton, Liam Ramshaw & newcomer Simon Palme (when he came on to replace Adamson) destroyed the opposition and also deserve a mention. Full-Back Mike Ryan was his usual majestic self, and the ever-reliable Joe Iwasaki also played well making one driving break through the centres that ultimately resulted in a try. Welsh Dave (Richards) worked tirelessly in negating opposition attacks.
Final Score: Tokyo Gaijin 24 (B. Doherty 2, Joffa Harris 1 tries, 3/3 conversions, 1/1 penalty) Dasewa 14
Goats of the game went to Blake Walker for his involvement in the "missing jersey mystery" (Walker, along with Rory Brown, were the ones who had counted and packed the jerseys away after the previous game) and also Rich O’Shea who earned his first yellow card for the Gaijin by maliciously (read accidentally) kicking an opposition player in the head.
So ended a successful Tokyo Cup 2010 campaign for the Gaijin which consisted of 3 good wins and one loss to the eventual Division 2 winners Superman. Division 1 next year will be a challenge but the growing depth within the club and the ever present Gaijin spirit, should ensure we hold our own.
1. Warren Adamson (South Africa )
2. Liam Ramshaw ( England )
3. Rob Poulton ( England )
4. Richard O'Shea ( Wales )
5. Mauro Sauco (Argentina)
6. Dave Richards ( Wales )
7. Dave Kelver ( USA )
8. Joffa Harris (Australia )
9. Alaister Nimmo (England)
10. Brendon Doherty ( Australia )
11. Brian O'Brien ( USA )
12. Hitoshi Chihara (Japan )
13. Jo Iwasaki ( Japan )
14. Daisuke Ikegami ( Japan )
15. Mike Ryan (NZ)
16. Simon Palm ( Germany )
18.. Apisai Bati ( Fiji )
19. Andy Ballard ( England )
20. Matt Stride (Aust)
21. Blake Walker (NZ)
22. Ikuo Fukuda ( Japan )