Koganei Green 5 Tokyo Gaijin 40
Sunday the 2nd of October was the Tokyo Gaijin Club`s turn to arrive at Akigase Field out near Urawa, Saitama, early ? in order to chalk the field. When T & T (Takeshi and Takashi) finally arrived with the chalk it was time to get a move on. The long grass on the side of the field next to the bush made chalking the sideline very difficult. Some parts had to be gone over a few times. In the end we ran out of chalk with no dead ball lines and only dashed quarter lines and ten metres lines. Good enough the Ref said and our opposition, Koganei Green, didn`t seem too concerned. So with 5 minutes to go the Chalk Gang was able to join the rest of the squad for a very quick warm-up.
This was not the best preparation and it took us a while to settle into a pattern. Koganei Green took advantage of this with a sweeping movement and quick hands to put their winger over in the corner for a shock 5 v0 lead inside the first 5 minutes. With this wake-up call the shell-shocked Gaijin were finally ready to play.
Heats Devlin got the scoreboard rolling for Tokyo Gaijin after a clever switch of play and a 20 metre burst put him over just to the left of the posts which made Shaunne Hughes` conversion easy work. The Gaijin hit the lead 7v5.
The next try can be put down to a good run from big Rob Reinebach. A quick tap from a penalty and a criss-cross with Joffa Harris tricking some of the defense, Reinebach went straight up a hole in the middle, fended a few would-be tacklers off, and only had the Fullback to beat. The poor fullback looked like he wanted to disappear into a hole but he did manage to dive at Rob`s ankles and hold on for dear life and the momentum brought the big fella down.
Chris Lucas was first to the breakdown but was interrupted by one of the Koganei players coming into the ruck from an off-side position.
Lucas took a quick tap from the ensuing penalty, off-loaded to Takeshi Takada, who then off-loaded it back inside to Joffa who was taken down just short of the line. Takada was Johnny-on-the-Spot to pick up the dregs and dive over to score. Hughes made it 14v5 with a successful conversion.
The next try came from a big mistake. The wall in our secret move ?Pyscho? (the mastermind of ex-captain Joe Fisher) was very disorganized. The big forwards that manned the wall didn`t really know what they were doing, with muffled, unclear calls being the excuse ? yeah, whatever?!.
Joffa, who was supposed to receive the ball up the middle, was left standing behind the wall after almost colliding with half-back Alistair Nimmo (we could have all held hands and done the Hokey-pokey). One of the forwards finally decided to pass it to someone. Joffa, who did eventually receive the ball took off around the wall and found a big hole opening up down the middle. Our ?Psuedo Psycho? had not only confused us but had also confused the opposition. With the last line of defense closing fast Joffa found the ever-present Jo Iwasaki in support and the ball managed to reach him in heavy traffic and he had the momentum to finish the job. Another successful conversion to Hughes made the score 21v5 which was to be the half-time score.
Shaunne Hughes scored early in the second half to create a comfortable lead after a barreling run up the middle by Niall Conlon who drew the fullback a gave Hughes an easy run to the line. He made sure he touched down under the black dot to give himself an easy shot at goal and extended the score to 28v5.
Not long after that, the Gaijin received a penalty just outside the opposition quarter line. Devlin surprised them with a quick tap and stormed at the less defended side of the field and drew Koganei`s defender, gave a quick ball to Reinebach, who swatted away any remaining defenders, and went over under the posts. Hughes converted to make to make it 35v5.
There followed a relatively quiet spell with play parked between the two quarters for ages. The Gaijin would get close to their quarter and then make a silly mistake and end up on the other side of half-way. It was during this quiet spell that frustrations began to boil over with Steve Bull viciously attacking the head of a Koganei back and being sent from the field.
Heats Devlin, who had switched to flanker in the second half, exploded soon after, claiming that he had been held in a headlock during a maul and had his head-gear tugged and pulled by a few opposition players. He came out swinging and foaming at the mouth and was looking decidedly rabid. It was quickly decided that the best thing to do would be to pull him from the field before he connected with his fists of fury and left us with only 13 players.
Play resumed after a chat from the Ref and Devlin cooling himself down on the sideline ? though if looks could kill a couple of their forwards would be dead. The Gaijin finally resorted to one of their recent strengths and got a rolling maul going ? perhaps the first of the half. This sucked in Koganei`s forwards and had their backs on the back foot and once the ball was given to the TGRFC`s backs and spun out wide, Captain Bunter (Blake Walker), chiming into the line from Fullback, was able to create the overlap and score near the corner. The conversion was missed leaving the final score at 40 v 5.
Angie Gordon (Harris) visiting from Newcastle, Australia enjoyed the Rugby ?Japanese style? and enjoyed the biffo late in the second half and joined the boys in a Japanese Izakaya after the game to celebrate the third big win on the trot in the Shuto League. Before hitting the Izakaya she was surprised to see a prop, the epitome of toughness in rugby, have a chunder after the Man-of-the-Match scull outside Urawa station. Shame on you Chris Lucas.
SCORE: TGRFC 40 (Heats Devlin 1, Takeshi Takada 1, Jo Iwasaki 1, Shaunne Hughes 1, Ron Reinebach 1, Blake Walker 1, Goals 5 from 6) Koganei Green 5.
MEN OF THE MATCH: Our tireless props: Chris Lucas and Takayuki Kitajima
GOAT OF THE MATCH: Steve Bull
1. Chris Lucas (Australia)
2. Yukio Suyama (Japan)
3. Takayuki Kitajima (Japan)
4. Shaunne Hughes (Australia)
5. Jesse Takahashi (USA)
6. Joffa Harris (Australia)
7. Dave Kelver (USA)
8. Rob Reinebach (USA)
9. Alistair Nimmo (England)
10. Takashi Mutou (Japan)
11. Takeshi Takada (Japan)
12. Niall Conlon (England)]
13. Jo Iwasaki (Japan)
14. Heats Devlin (Australia)
15. Blake Walker (New Zealand)
16. Steve Bull (England)
17. Jonathan Dean (Canada)
18. Arno Van den Bossche (France)
19. Ryoichi Matsumura (Japan)