Dateline: December 14th, 2013
The Tokyo Gaijin Christmas Party and Annual Awards Night was held at the New Tokyo Beer Hall in Yurakucho on Saturday, 14th December. MC's Liam Ramshaw and Lachlan Ainley did a good job of keeping the audience, all in the Christmas spirit with santa claus hats and other Christmas regalia, entertained as the food and alcohol flowed. Please read on for a list of all the Award winners.
Most Valuable Player for 2013 : Lachlan Ainley
The MVP award is voted on by all team members and staff. Australian Lachie Ainley was a run-away winner of the award after a year where he led from the front - in both the scrum where he props, and in general play where he often left a trail of defenders in his wake. He took home a pewter mug, Japan rugby T-shirt, team towel, team socks and team beer holder.
Runner-Up MVP : Richard O'Shea
Last years winner of the MVP award had another big year and narrowly pipped team mates Hitoshi Chihara & Tomohiro Setoguchi for the MVP runner- up award. The tall Welsh lock and current captain had another storming year and led the forwards by example as he threw his rather slender body into the fray time and time again.
Most Improved : Andy Tindall
Englishman Andy Tindall improved immensely over the year. He started out struggling to get game time but as the year progressed he improved his handling and his fitness and became a regular member of the tight five starting at prop and lock. He was also a regular member of the 'Running group' and members there could see a huge improvement in his fitness as the year went on.
Top Tryscorer(s) : Nik Pavesic / Hitoshi Chihara
Both loose forward Nik Pavesic & centre back Hitoshi Chihara finished the year on 8 tries apiece. What was even more remarkable in Croatian Pavesic's case is that he missed half the games due to injury and commitments to a semi-pro team he began playing for.
Manager's Award : Gorka Gerediaga
Awarded by Manager Joffa Harris to Gorka Gerediaga for his reliability and commitment to the team. The man from the Basque country was rarely missing from training or games. He was also an important cog in keeping the 'running group' (started to provide extra fitness training - on Wednesday & Friday nights) going. He could also be relied upon to take jerseys whenever the team was in a squeeze and do other things that members always left to be done by others. Every team needs members like Gorka.
Captain's Award : Hitoshi Chihara
Awarded by captain Richard O'Shea to Japanese utility back Hitoshi Chihara for all his work in running the team's backs at training and filling in the captaincy and vice-captaincy roles when the incumbents were not available.
Now, onto the more fun (or toingue in cheek) awards.
Dirtiest Player : Paulo de Berriozabal
Awarded to Paulo de Berriozabal for the third year running and quite possibly the fourth. The man from the backwoods of the Basque country takes glee in putting his hands where they shouldn't be - any area of the face is in trouble when he's around and the bottom of rucks is his play-pit.
The Referee's Award : Joffa Harris
Awarded to Australian loose forward Joffa Harrris for being every referee's worst nightmare. The colourful expletives coming from his mouth can be heard whether he is on the pitch or supporting from the sideline. He certainly wears his heart on his sleeve and is always giving the referees (unwanted) help. He was given a whistle and a megaphone.
The Pretty Boy Award : Phillip Ferreira
South African Phillip Ferriera was always hot favorite for this award. He likes to be best dressed at both functions and on game days (when he's not shopping in Ginza which he explains away as 'I have a private matter to attend to'). He is also well known to flash a bicep here and there and likes to strut around his apartment naked, apparently, where there are reportedly 16 full length mirrors. Phil received a beautiful Tiara as his award.
Best Couple Award : Tsunaki 'Don' Tanaka & Tomohiro Setoguchi
Both members of the Gaijin front row, Don & Tomo are very good buddies/partners/mates/lovers? and were a shoo-in for this award. Where you see one you'll usually find the other. When they marry I'm not sure who will be changing his name. They were awarded a pair of handcuffs with pink frills to wear for the rest of the night.
The punctuality Award : Team Fiji
Acccepted by Apisai Bati on behalf of Team Fiji. The team has had 6 or 7 Fijians throughout the year and they are invariably late - or in their minds, just in a different time frame or time zone. They were awarded an alarm clock.
Limp Dick Tackle Award : Yamagen
Does this need explaining. Given to Yamagen, who at times resembles a bull fighter with a cape as he waves attackers through from fullback. He was given a set of boobs - plastic ones!
The following people were also given awards of recognition for services to the team. Shino Iwasaki and Hitomi O'Shea were thanked for their help at games throughout the year, especially the Tokyo Cup. Yamagen & Natsu Kunitomo were also thanked for all their servives to the team which included many hours at Tokyo Cup and Shuto League meetings. Yoshihiro Sato was thanked for all his help on game day with the medical kit and he also invariably does a lot of work with the jerseys after games.