by Reece Morgan

Arriving at the Misato ground on a rainy day, the Cru were met – once again – by the sight of desolate numbers, players missing from the starting line-up, no Ed Downer, and not so much of a ginger hair from Tom Cocks. At least Frank brought good humour with his four-sizes-too-small tshirt. Still, this was the final: the final game; the final chance to prove ourselves fit to stay in the first division and, for Menno, Foster, Reece and Jon, the final game for the Cru. Giving Foster the armband (his first and last captain game for the Cru) and with a new, stylish 3-man lineout to boot, things looked hopeful, and despite the familiar back-line issues the Cru took to the pitch with passion.

The first few minutes went by largely without note – AllJinJan took the offensive, but the Cru rallied and kept them at bay, until an unfortunate missed tackle allowed them through. Yuuta was soon put in the blood bin with Brendan entering the field, making a big impact in the first scrum by pointing out the ladybug beneath. Some slick play by the opposition earned them another try, and Menno was brought in from the cold to replace the injured Frank. Big runs by Foster and Tavis pushed further up the pitch, and with Gen brought in to replace Yuuta for a second time, the forwards made ground play-by-play. A head clash took Reece off with a bit of claret, and Corey took to the flank until the half, showing some great support play that allowed Tomo to jink past the opposition for the Cru’s first try. Unfortunately, Menno then decided to get himself binned, taking the Cru down to 14 shortly before an opposition try.

The restart brought much of the same – Foster and Reece battling for season MVP, the former with big charges up the pitch and the latter pressing the back-line hard; Tavis nowhere near any rucks, and Rob Galbraith getting really cold at centre. Tomo, pulling off another ‘I’m actually a 120kg linebacker, not a Krillin cosplayer’ swept through the opposition line for a second try, soon compounded by the eternally impossible to understand Gsup. Taking the lead for the first time in the game, and with bad boy Menno back in action, things were looking up for the Cru: unfortunately, we lost the ref, and with penalty after penalty coming our way and going nowhere near AJJ’s plays, it soon became a monumental task. Full-back Brett played phenomenally in his new position, and brought run after run from depth to keep play in the middle half of the field. The opposition quickly made ground and scored, however, and despite Gen rolling on the floor for eight minutes to slow them down, they were soon back in the Cru half. As Owen practiced his golf swing in the corner – twat – the Cru made a great defensive effort, Foster sacking lineouts to keep the boys on the 5m line. After some dirty moves from the opposition 12, which of course went unnoticed, AJJ scored again, and Frank called some bad news: only one minute left.

Looking for blood in that last minute, Sparrow sent the ball soaring high, landing just in front of the AJJ hooker – who was immediately bulldozed in the kidneys by Reece, refusing to bow out in this most important of finals. It turned out, however, that there were six minutes left to play. The aforementioned injury softened the AJJ scrum, and the Cru were able to make much-needed ground. After one tiny slip, though, and AJJ were through for the last try of the game, and a disappointed squad heard the final whistle blow.

It’s never enjoyable to lose a game, particularly one as important as this, but the Cru did well in spreading their strength and had plenty of solid plays to show for it. Above all, no-one was too upset: after all, the final game was over, and although it was bittersweet for the Four Horsemen to lose their last game, the call of ringo-hai from Matsudo ojisan bar was the sweetest end to the day.

MVPs were:
5 – Tomo
4 – Brett
3 – Foster
2 – Reece
1 – Tavis

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