by The Ghost Writer vs. Hurricanes RFC Referee : Mr Hiroshi Taniguchi A reasonable meeting time of 11:30 at the station saw most of the Cru arrive on time. The straglers were met by Eric W and sent by taxi to the Sankei Misato ground asap. Tooley had arrived on his Papachari and had put up the team tent. We had organised our 23 players for the official team roster, and arranged to have the required 9 ?! sideline staff present by the official Prematch meeting time of 80 minutes before kickoff. Names were checked against the roster, gear was checked, including sprigs and fingernails. The ‘rules’ of the day were explained and the staff were told their duties. The first game of our 2015 Tokyo Cup campaign was upon us. and we were ready for it. So were the Hurricanes…. We had come up to the 1st division with these guys last year and this was the first time to actually play them. Their forwards looked a bit bigger this time. Kickoff was scheduled for 13:40 and we had 40 minutes of ‘arm wrestling’. Their forwards were big, strong, and mobile. They were quick on the ball at the breakdown and they also exhibited a few ‘tricks’ at the lineout. We tried, to no avail, to use our power and size in the forwards to try and take it up through the middle…… nothing worked. Losing No. 12, Neil H, after 20 minutes to a knee injury and No. 8, Roy M, at the 36-minute mark was also an unfortunate diversion from our game plan. The scores were 0 – 0 until 2 minutes into 1st half injury time, when the oppoistion ran in for the first points of the game. Half time score 0 – 5. In the second half, the battle continued. Neither team was really taking control, although the Hurricanes were slowly chipping away at our defenses. We were trying to get the ball out wider to our speedy wings but the opposition were blocking that by targeting our centres. Their backs were very good at seeing how far they could push the ‘offside line’. We saw them run in 2 more unconverted tries at the 45 and 37 minute marks. We had lost another player, Philippe, to injury with 15 mins to go. But the Cru never gives up and Dominique, bless him, finally got the ball and made some space for himself, running away to score our only try right on full time to save us from a downtrou’. Travis converted, bringing the final score to 7 – 15 The penalty count was 8 for us and 11 against. The general feeling after the match was that we had done our best but were outplayed by a better team on the day. The Hurricanes RFC advance to the knockout stage and up the ladder, we stay in our group and face a relegation/promotion match. At the aftermatch, and still on good terms, both teams promised to have a friendly match next season. Our vote for their MVP went to their No. 10, Mr Oikawa, and theirs went to our No. 7, Galdric Porta. 321s were Galdric Porta – 5 pts, Travis Dixon – 4 pts, Pat Wheen – 3 pts, Pierre Sims – 2 pts, Alex Herrera – 1 pt The aftermatch function was held in the downstairs Ojisan bar near Matsudo Station with 13 present, including Neil M’s 2 kids.