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by Luke Bradley

It was a greyish Sunday afternoon. The Crusader members assembled at the Musashino Rikujo Kyogijo for what was regarded as a friendly game with the legendary Kichijoji Wild Turkeys RFC. As I had heard earlier in the week that it was a rugby “festival” I envisioned Candy floss, Karage and and chocolate bananas. Wasn’t to be.

With kick-off set for 11:50am we started getting into our warm up at around 11:37am, much to the displeasure of in-form utility Matthew Sparrow. After a few stern words the boys managed to squeeze out a 5 minute intense warm-up including the now famous “opening of the gate”

11:50am rolled around and it was time for kick-off. With a ‘sell-out’ crowd in the stands, it was hard to take this game lightly. Shunsuke Kaneda was the match official for the day and he made his intentions clear early.

The Crusaders took the paddock humbly oozing with confidence after taking out our division in the Tokyo Cup the week before. However, the bubble was soon to be popped as the Wild Turkeys crossed the line for 2 quick tries in the first 15 minutes. With looks of concern and a new found sense of urgency, the Crusaders struck back with a try to the kick-and-chase King, Sebastion Forastiere, which was converted by Mr Sparrow. With 10 minutes left in the first half the Turkeys hit back with an impressive try. Right on the last minute try-scoring phenom Matthew Foster scored a try, taking the Cru into the tunnel with the scores sitting at 14-19 in favour of the home-crowd favourites.

After a somewhat emotional halftime chat from Tooley the boys came out firing. Unfortunately, the opposition scored in the first minute of play. What followed was a sky-blue tidal wave with tries to Reece M, Jerry S, Matthew F, And Sebastian F. The Turkeys fought back valiantly towards the end but the will to hold up the ‘Turkey Trophy’ for 30 minutes was too strong and our defence was able to hold them out, taking the game 36-33.

Luke’s List – memorable moments

– Big Bad Jacob Basiliyos played his last game of 15s for the Cru, what a way to go out.

– The Human Bullet Joe Flagler and Takaaki “The Tank” Onuma played their first games for the Cru

– Jerry “The Silent Assassin” Sysourath crossed the line for his first try for the Crusaders

– Uncle Seth copped a gash to the head even Buck Shelford would be proud of.

– Turkey Trophy presented by Mayor of Musashino city

– Formation of one of the most-feared groups in Kanto “The Crusader Babies Club”

After-match Antics

Beers were indulged from the stands before a solid crew of 18 ventured out for a delicious Shabushabu meal accompanied by the first word I teach any first time Kiwi in Japan ” Nomihoudai ”

It appears 4 individuals later took the party to Akihabara. To a lovely cafe for ‘game/video’ analysis.

Points

5 Points: Sebastian “Smooth Operator” Forastiere
4 points: Reece “Weights Room” Morgan
3 points: Matthew “The Big Rig” Foster
2 points: Matt “The Gate Keeper” Sparrow
1 point: Luke Bradley

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