The passionate rivalry that is evident at all meetings of the Y.C.A.C. and Tokyo Gaijin football teams was clear for all to view. Whether it be etched on the faces of veterans in the pre-game team talk, displayed in the witty banter back and forth between supporters, or displayed intensely on players faces as the game ebbs and flows. Everyone present knows that victory in this all important of games should come at all costs. At least that`s how it should have been....
The Tokyo Gaijin have had mixed performances in this years Shuto League, victory has been mixed with defeat and unfortunately many close defeats! Tentoumushi came into the match as the only undefeated team left in the Shuto League, meaning the Gaijin knew they were in for a tough match.
The day started well with a great turn out at Yanokuchi station, with our contingent of Air Force boys managing to bring out big Wade from duty in Iraq! Also making returns were Joffa Harris, finally putting his boots back on after being on the sidelines since early March. Also joining the team from today was the Scandinavian sensation Christian and Ajen Birmingham, joining the team after many years of persuasion by yours truly.
I`ll let you finish the ACDC song – perhaps replacing “rock & roll’’ with “ruck & maul’’ ..For all those that have climbed Mt Fuji, the TGRFC were hoping that the rugby team that gets their name from the world famous peak were not as difficult to get over the top of.
Things were not looking good though with a raft of experienced players out injured or out of the country. The forward pack was looking particularly green. Jesse Takahashi was given the job of leading the forwards but he`s a quiet man at the best of times.
The Tokyo Gaijin RFC made the long trek out to bushwack Chiba (actually Yawatajuku) on the 8th of October to play a ‘friendly’ game against Akanegahama while there was a break in the Shuto League Competition.
We had only ever played them in Tens and they seemed to be a good outfit. The day started off with us trudging to the wrong field from Yawatajuku Station. Man of the world, Steve Bull, hadn`t thought to ask his contacts for the name of the field. After being shuttled to the field by those with cars (Thanks Noriko & Kitahara) the next problem was to find a few reserves. Due to the Public Holiday weekend, Rob Poulton doing his usual no-show, business commitments among the Japanese members of the squad (Yes, on a public holiday weekend!) and a raft of injuries the Gaijin had only just managed to assemble the bare 15 players. Luckily a few players from the Ichihara Club, who had just finished a game, promised to stand by.