The Tokyo Gaijin celebrated Christmas 2005 at Wolfgang Puck Express in Harajuku.
64 people attended to cap off a successful year where we won far more than we lost and some of those wins were by big margins (82 v 0 ?). It was good to see so many people getting into the theme with quite a few girls wearing"short" santa suits and Heats Devlin wearing a Bear suit (or something like that?). Shino Iwasaki looked gorgeous in her Kimono.
Captain Blake Walker got us started and then Takeshi Takada stepped up to the microphone. It had to be wrestled off him as he got carried away with the success of 2005. Blake and Takeshi both mentioned retirement as they both have had serious knee injuries in the past month. Takeshi has had a knee operation and Blake is in need of one but only gets a Kindergarten Teachers` salary.
The first awards were given out to our tireless helpers throughout the season and especially those who helped us during the Tokyo Cup where each team must provide 8 helpers on game day (Manager, scorer, linesman, 2 waterboys/girls and 2 ballboys/girls,medic) or risk being kicked out of the competition.
Shino Iwasaki has been at every game if my memory serves me right and has done an outstanding job throughout the year. Thanks Shino!
Ayako Hokyo also was a great help during Tokyo Cup and will be missed next year while she is doing a working holiday in Australia for one year.
Mizue Sauco, Jerry Brady and Paul Williams also received awards for their help throughout the Year. The following people were also thanked for their help through the year: Terumi Harris, Kyoko Yonekowa, Emi Kelver, Melissa Bennett, Kumiko Williams, Stacy Reinebach, Takeno Mizogani, Yuka Roy and Aaron ( I hope I haven`t left anybody off here!).
Dirtiest Player of the Year: Steve Bull? for being the only player sinbinned throughout the year
Incident of the Year? Blake Walker ? for letting guests and staff alike cover his upper body and face with a marker while on a drinking session during our very successful (thankyou Mizue) summer trip to Sugadaira. Blake ended the Christmas party looking like a Maori warrior with a tribal motif on his face.
Play of the Year? Heats Devlin ? for "that" tackle behind his own tryline to save a certain try during the Ichihara 7`s
Most Improved? Jesse Takahashi ? started year on reserve bench and became an integral player as the year wore on and finished the year with a stormin` game against Chiba Barbarians
Team Spirit Award? Dave Kelver ? not only for being a regular at team functions and after game drinks but for his commitment to training and games. Others will miss training because of a sniffle but Dave will come along to training with an ankle injury and limp his way through training.
Captain`s Award ? Mark Pearson ? not for being the oldest guy in the team at 44 but for his efforts on the field, especially his scrummaging. Along with fellow prop Takayuki Kitajima he has given us a solid scrum all year and gets on with the game when others are bitching at the referee. A true team player!
Runner Up MVP ? Rob Reinebach ? has had a tremendous year with some huge barging runs from No. 8. Almost won our last game against the Chiba Barbarians single-handedly
Most Valuable Player ? Ian "Shadow" Roy ? A fantastic year from Ian. A real game-breaker and one of the few genuine speedsters in the team. Unanimously chosen as player of the year. Scored a lot of tries and had a very successful year with the boot with a percentage of around 85%. Like our two previous winners, Mickey Walker in 2003, and Joe Fisher in 2004, Ian fully deserved his award and we hope to see more of the same form next year.
FOOTNOTE: Four Tokyo Gaijin Players represented the Shuto League in the New Zealand Embassy Cup on the 4th of December against the Tama League. There were two teams chosen from both leagues (16 teams in the Shuto League) and the following guys were chosen in the First Team:
Shaunne Hughes (Lock)
Sean O`Donoghue (No.8)
Takashi Mutou (Halfback)
Ian Roy (Standoff)
A few of their team-mates went along to give raucous support even though it was cold and wet: Jesse, Takayuki, Blake, Joffa, Takeshi, Jo, Shino, Terumi & Naoko. As we drank for the entire two games, and then some, I`m not completely certain of the result but I believe they lost 28 v 14. By half-time the Tokyo Gaijin players had scored all the Shuto League points with Ian "Shadow" Roy crossing for the first try and Takashi Mutou scoring the second try and Shadow converting them both. The Tama League Select team went into half-time a try up and never relented. All the Gaijin boys played very well and if some of their team-mates had been of the same standard the result would have been different. Sean O`Donoghue got a few important turn-overs, Hughesy was solid in the scrums and lineouts, Shadow was at his elusive best and Takashi Mutou was absolutely outstanding and should have won the Man-of-the Match Award.
In fact he didn`t even win the Shuto Leagues` Most Valuable Player Award. I think this was revenge for the noisy Gaijin supporters in the grandstand.