A warm Winter's day provided the backdrop for a spectacular day of rugby and marked the end of the Shuto League season.
There were 3 games played on this day between the Shuto League (the league that we are part of) and the Santama League. Traditionally, the Santama League had always been the stronger and it was well known that the Shuto League "A"s hadn't won this game for 9 long years; in fact, the last time our prop Takasugi played in this event.
As usual, there was a good Gaijin contingent in the stands who got decidedly more vocal as the day wore on with beers aplently being swigged. I personally thought our slightly raucous behaviour played a part in creating an "away" match atmosphere for the opposition, so well done there!
Shuto League Oldies vs Santama Leagues Oldies
Result: Not sure but our oldies won..
TGRFC Representatives: Bati Apasai, Joffa Harris, Toshi Miyano, Yamagen
The first half was an error-prone game stuck in first gear. I quickly realised that "oldies" rugby isn't really a spectator sport and got ready to chaperone the visiting New Zealand Embassy Representative instead (this was my duty for the day..). At the end of the first half, I think there were 3 points between the teams.
The second half was the "Bati & Joffa Show". Our two stalwarts came on and literally ran rings around the opposition. The final outcome wasn't close.
The "BJ Effect" had led to a golden shower of trys and with that a comprehensive win for the Shuto League Pensioners. One-nil to us.
Shuto League B vs Santama Leagues B
Result: Shuto League Bs won 33-17
TGRFC Representatives: Andy Ballard, Jesse Cutler, Simon Palm, Toshi Miyano (again, as a replacement for Al Nimmo)
In the first half, the Shuto League Bs were on the defensive for most of the early part of the game with Jesse and Simon playing their part in withstanding the pressure. In the second half, the resilient defensive effort had told and the Shuto League Bs were able to score some exciting tries through their vertically-challenged, yet pace-wise unchallenged, wingers (one was 156cm, the other was 161cm). A good overall game for our lads and another victory. Two-nil to us.
What a game! Written words probably couldn't do justice to this game, but it was a vigorous and brutal affair from start to finish with the lead changing hands on numerous occasions. Pulsating until the end, Santama thought they had won it with an unconverted try in the corner that made the score 29-24 to them with one play left in regulation time.
The Shuto league managed to somehow reply with a converted try at the death to win 31-24! Three-nil to us.
Victory brought a scene of tears (Yes, tears..) and raptures. Hitoshi had played his part before being forced off with an injury. Takasugi the Great was a rock in the game and by reclaiming the NZ Cup, he will be forever nestled in the bosom of Shuto League folklore..
Thank you to all TGRFC players, representatives and supporters. It was thoroughly entertaining day and a perfect way for us to finish off this season.
I left the after-party early as I'd had enough of Rugger "Ojii-san"s groping me; but BJ, Muzza and Andy amongst others were there 'till the end (I presume). Heck, Satoh-san also won an Eric Clapton T-shirt in the raffle, though I'm not sure how Eric Clapton is related to rugby..