Dateline 29th May 2016
 
At the familiar Tokyo Cup backdrop of Edogawa’s Rinkai Kyugijo ground Tokyo Gaijin RFC managed to see off Dasewa RFC in a high scoring game that looked at times like a close call for the Gaijin.
 
The match can reasonably be described as a scrappy affair.  However there were plenty of tries and a deal of excitement as the fortunes of both teams rose and fell with the twists of the match.
The first five minutes was all Dasewa who opened the scoring with an unconverted try while the gaijin were almost without a touch.  However on the 15 minute mark Nik Pavesic scored the first of three tries after a series of gaijin hit ups that finally brought us into the match. 
 
The rest of the first half offered little to celebrate.  Of most importance, enterprising centre Alex Moule was forced off the pitch and later taken to hospital with an injured knee that may keep him out for a number of months.  (Here is the place to wish him a speedy and safe recovery.)  Yuta Oba came on at this point to replace him through a reshuffle.  Also Takashi Tanikawa received a yellow card before Dasewa created a 15 – 5 lead at the 30 minute mark.  Two tries from inspirational captain Apisai Bati were the only thing keeping the Gaijin heads up at the break as the teams went in at 15 all. 
 
Stern words were exchanged at the half, and Ryosuke Suehisa came on for Paul Bertier, but other than that there were no real changes at the break.  Due to poor record keeping, it is not easy to write up the exact events as the second half opened.  However the essential points to note are that Bati and Nik continued their scoring habits with another try each, and that the Gaijin started stringing some phases together despite failing to get any control over the game as Dasewa too continued scoring.  Takuya Ichizono took over the kicking duties at this point, but initially did little better than Paddy Watson who had not been at his efficient best.
 
However as the second half continued the Gaijin began to edge ahead and a solo charge from the scrum base by Takashi Tanikawa put the score at 30 – 22.  Takuya then got his sole conversion, but even when the Gaijin went ten points up, Dasewa would go on to score a try from a robust pushed over maul.  I am unclear on the exact order of following events, but the final minutes of the match would see Mojee Rarasea in the eight spot, and his rhino charge at the try line, though inches short, would give Nik Pavesic the space he needed for a pick and try that sealed a team victory as well as his place as man of the match.  Mojee missed the conversion attempt, but it was one of those unlucky days as far as the kickers were concerned. 
  
Man of the match: voted by Dasewa / confirmed by the Gaijin as Nik Pavesic 
Goat: Paddy Watson for a place kicking performance he’d rather forget.
 
Final score:  Tokyo Gaijin RFC 37 – Dasewa RFC 29
 
Scorers: TGRFC . Tries: Apisai Bati 3, Nikola Pavesic 3, Takashi Tanikawa 1.
Conversions: Takuya Ichizono 1/2.
 
Starting lineups:
  1. Joseph Vanualailai (Fiji)
  2. Tomohiro Setoguchi (vice.) (Japan)
  3. Gorka Gerediaga (Basque)
  4. John Simpson (United States)
  5. Paul Bertier (France)
  6. Apisai Bati (Capt.) (Fiji)
  7. Nikola Pavesic (Croatia)
  8. Takashi Tanikawa (Japan)
  9. Sota Kaneko (Japan)
  10. Paddy Watson (Canada)
  11. Ryo Takahashi (Japan)
  12. Taku Eguchi (South Africa)
  13. Alex Moule (England)
  14. Takuya Ichizono (Japan)
  15. Toshinori Minamidate (Japan)
Bench: 16. Tommy Nasuno (Japan), 17. Thomas Abberton (Australia), 18. Mojee Rarasea (Fiji), 19. Joffa Harris (Australia), 20. Dan Barnett (England), 21. Yuta Oba (Japan), 22. Ryosuke Suehisa (Japan), 23. Jo Iwasaki (Japan)
 
Tokyo Cup Helpers: Yoshihiro Sato, Akira Yamagen, Natsuhiko Kunitomo, Warren Adamson, Terumi, Ayako, Priscilla, Satoko, Shino-san and Suzu-chan.