Low, dark clouds, a hint of rain, a steady and cold breeze; think Scotland on a good day. Further, heavy rain throughout Saturday and overnight meant a muddy pitch with large pools of water so the conditions set the tone for the Sunday`s match.
Baku & Clover (B & C) made a ferocious start and hammered away at the TGRFC line but solid defense kept them at bay. This was truly character-building stuff for had the Gaijin conceded early points it might have been difficult for them to chase the game. The Gaijin task became more difficult after Chris Fearon had to leave the pitch with a suspected dislocated shoulder but Takayuki Kitajima stepped in manfully and the scrum held firm.
“I never played in a team which beat them and Ive never wanted to beat a team so badly!”-Shaunne Hughes celebrates the twice-yearly YCAC fixture with his twice-yearly sensible comment.
Sundays match was, for those who hold historical fixtures more important than league battles, one of the most important matches of the year. An enthusiastic squad turned out to Yamate station, holding hope that the unbeaten run would continue to include a victory against old rivals of the Yokohama Cricket and Athletic Club. Arriving well in time, there was plenty of time to practice drills whilst watching the All France play the YCAC Gents. As the Gaijin lumbered up, there was motivation boiling up through everyone, and confidence as well that this would finally be the team to topple the Yokohama side. At the kickoff, a sturdy catch and drive forward was rapidly halted by the large YCAC pack, indications of the forwards clashes to come. Eventually, after shipping out and being tackled only 10m out from our line a scrum was given to the YCAC. This went easily their way, and led to a good cross-discipline play, as their wide receiver played intercept for the quarterback, enabling to score a touchdown after only 3 minutes on the clock. In reality, the ref was so wrapped up in the American Football that he refused to recognise that blocking is not strictly legal, and awarded a try.
Fuji Club (with their friends and family), obviously not ready for the awe-inspiring whipping they were about to receive at the hands of the Gaijin, came prepared to give their best effort; unfortunately for them their best effort wasn't good enough, as the Tokyo Gaijin rolled for a 54-5 annihilation of yet another Shuto League opponent.
First blood was drawn by the Gaijin when, from a line-out, mauled five-meters with Chris Fearon going over for the try. Matt Downer, proving the notion that it helps to have someone on the pitch that can actually kick, converted the try: score 7-0 to the Gaijin.