The first game of the Tokyo Cup in 2010, held on April the 4th, pitted the Gaijin against Doronco RFC, a team we had beaten comfortably in a friendly game a month or so earlier. Given our propensity to start the Tokyo Cup with a whimper rather than a bang, and the fact that Doronco had only 15 players on board when we had beaten them recently, the senior members of the team had endevoured to expel any complacency that might have existed prior to the game. Sure enough, Doronco looked like a different unit during the dress check, with a number of muscular specimens in attendance that hadn't been there for the game earlier in the season.
Sunday the 7th of March dawned frigid and wet, and with no sign of improvement forecast, the Gaijin realized that later in the day, they would not only be battling one of their toughest rivals in YCAC, but in all likelihood, be battling the elements as well.
Given all the rain of the previous 24 hours, any grass field would surely have been submerged and been cause for a cancellation, but arriving at the ground around 12pm, we found YCAC's astro turf surface to be still in good nick despite the persistent precipitation.
The battle commenced at 1:45pm, with 30 minute halves being announced at the toss by the YCAC captain just prior to kickoff. What ensued was a hard-fought, fair fight, which was ultimately won by the might of the YCAC forward pack. Playing perfect 10 man, wet weather rugby, the YCAC forwards ground down the Gaijin and made good use of the booming boot of their number 10. The YCAC, with the wind at their backs, took an early lead converting two of their three early penalties for ruck infringements. Although the Gaijin took the lead briefly after scoring a converted try to make the score 7-6, chances to attack were as rare as hen's teeth, and most of the game was spent trying to halt the YCAC forward rumbles. YCAC crashed over from a forward rumble to take the lead back before halftime (11-7).
The Tokyo Gaijin gathered out at Shin Shibamata Rugby Ground (a.k.a Edogawa No.3) to play Doronco RFC in a 'friendly' game and to seek atonement for the shellacking they received the week before at the hands of the All France Rugby Club. Two new members in Stephen Dods and Alan Haines, both in their mid 40's were to increase the average age of the club quite markedly.