by Matthew Foster Sunday 3rd July will go down as probably one of the hottest days any of us have ever played rugby in. However, the impending doom of inevitable sunburn did not deter our spirits, as we all had some Factor 50 and we were too busy trying to stay awake, given that the day started at 08.30 in the morning. The boys mostly made their own way to the Edogawa rugby field, being led by a sea of soon-to-be-extremely-sweaty rugby players all donning their game faces and going to for pre-match fags. It wasn’t a day to be taken lightly, and we all knew that. Game 1: Doronco RFC After an intense warm up, consisting of the opening and closing of many gates by Matthew ‘Captain-ish’ Sparrow, we took to the field against an unknown opposition. Right at kick off, Reece ‘Power Dwarf’ Morgan put the fear of God into the opposition and caused a retreat to their own line and an eventual turn over, leading to Jacob ‘The Bavarian’ Basileyos going over the line for the Cru’s first try of the day. Within the next minute, Reece ‘I went to Cambridge’ Morgan made a break and was through, but had drawn a blank on where to put the ball down. Luckily for him, the referee was nice enough to show him. Other highlights of the match include Matthew ‘Sledgehammer’ Foster and Jacob ‘The Machine’ Baseliyos going over for two more tries, and Luke ‘Fred Rogers’ Bradley being too nice to kill his opposite number. It should also be noted that Sean ‘The Sheep’ Edwards made his first start for the Cru. The management decided that the natural-born centre should scrum-half, and he had a fine day setting down the marker with a monstrous first hit in Cru colours. It should be noted that none of us realised that the games were only 6 minutes long until the final whistle. Score: 20-0 to the Cru Game 2: Cabs After a strong first match, we were looking to repeat the fortunes of earlier. After a tight first minute, Jackie ‘The Professional’ made a sprint for the line, giving the opposition no chance of catching him. A couple of minutes later, Joe ‘Wannabe Prop (for some reason)’ Flagler touched down for his first try for the Cru. In the last minute, the Cabs got a last minute try thanks to a break from their fullback. Other highlights include a front-peel line-out being called and ACTUALLY WORKING and Genta ‘Sea Lion Tamer’ Tanabe pulling off one of the best clearance kicks any of us have seen in a long time, easily making 60m in the process. Finally, it must be noted that Jon ‘,’ Ball made a very unorthodox covering tackle, whereby he put one hand on the speeding opposition and dragged him into touch. Fine stuff. Score: 10-5 to the Cru Game 3: Tokyo Gaijin South The game started off tightly with neither team giving nor letting up. But then, during a Cru attack inside the Gaijin 22, Luke ‘SBW’ Bradley produced a beautiful offload to set up Matthew ‘BoJo Hoffman’ Foster for the try. What followed was a serious defensive display from the boys. The Gaijin were pushing hard, but we stayed strong. An extremely enthusiastic Travis ‘One Can Down’ Dixon, Luke ‘Who is Fred Rogers?’ Bradley, Reece ‘Quadzilla’ Morgan and Joe ‘Lion’s Mane’ Flagler put in a particularly strong defensive effort, even saying hello to some familiar faces among the Gaijin ranks. Score: 5-0 to the Cru Game 4: Nerima It was a tight game from the start. Sean ‘The Only Welsh in the Village’ went over for his first try for the Cru. However, it was quickly followed by a Nerima try caused by Reece ‘Butterfingers’ Morgan gifting the opposition an interception. The game got extremely tight but superstar Robert ‘Rob, Robbie, Bobby? I Never Know Which One It is’ Galbraith secured a last minute try to secure the victory. There were many notable moments here. Firstly, at kick off, Hirokatsu ‘Ramenator’ Mori got smashed, but held onto possession. After the intercept try, Reece ‘Roid Rage’ Morgan got a bit upset after his successful music career – and burgeoning modelling career – were put under threat by a small boo-boo on his cheek. The last play of the game was very interesting. After the last-minute try, there was still some time left. Nerima were putting the pressure on and Joe ‘The Professor of Pain’ Flagler put in a huge hit to eventually force the turnover. All that was left to do was to put the ball into touch. That task was left to the very capable Jon’ny Wilkinson’ Ball who proceeded to miss the ball in an effort to kick it. The referee, thankfully, deemed the ball to be dead in the middle of the pitch, and the final whistle was blown. Score: 10-5 to the Cru Game 5: Aoyama This, too, was another tight match. The game could have gone either way if it wasn’t for a stunning break by Tsukasa ‘Speed Demon’ scoring the only try of the match. The highlight reel includes Anders ‘That Makes Two Swedes’ Heiles and Takaaki ‘The Monster’ Onuma making their firsts starts for the Cru. Mr. Onuma made a dazzling break, taking the hit like a champ, only to have the magic taken away by Seth ‘Canonball’ Robson flying off his feet in the ruck earning himself a yellow card. The incredibly fast and tight game was ended by a somewhat confusing dance by Travis ‘He’s a Father Now’ Dixon to take the ball into touch. It should be noted that dance is the closest word I can think to describe what it looked like. Think of the ‘sideways skips’ in slo-mo and that should give you a better picture. Score: 5-0 to the Cru *Intermission* After five games, we had topped our group and we were looking strong. At about midday, we had a short break and the opportunity to enjoy a unique rugby match. It saw all the club’s presidents going up against a team of props, one from each club. We had offered up Stuart ‘El Legando’ Henwood for the presidents’ side and Jacob ‘Mr Versatility’ Baseliyos for the props side. The crunching match saw a close game between the two sides and an unprecedented 15-a-side 15 minute match. For anyone who was present that day, fifteen minutes in that heat takes a special effort. We saw some big hits and turnovers from Tooley and we saw Mr Versatility plying his trade at prop, hooker and number 8. No-one was paying close attention so the score is lost to history. Game 6: Kawagoe Fighters After two minutes, Reece ‘Prop Life’ Morgan went over the line putting us ahead, but the match was far from over. The Fighters continued their push for our line, but then completely against the run of play Matthew ‘Shemale Slayer’ Foster made a break for the line. His surprising turn of speed caused the winger chasing him down to become confused and start doing cartwheels. He couldn’t catch him. The last two minutes saw a huge defensive effort from the Cru, who at this point were beginning to look a little worn by the heat, and they kept the sheet clean. Score: 10-0 to the Cru Game 7: Ashitaka Before the game kicked off it should be noted that Travis ‘Lost Count’ Dixon was having some very one-sided banter with the referee and the opposition, taking several practice kick offs before we were officially meant to begin…but finally, we got underway. The match was at deadlock as soon as the whistle went. Early on Seth ‘No! Seth Wait!’ Robson put in a monster of a tackle, much to the pleasure of the crowd, but much to the horror of his lovely wife. This was emulated by fellow Kiwi, Luke ‘Bosh Merchant’ Bradley, literally murdering the opposition with tackles and fends. However, our strong defense could not be translated into a strong attack and the match ended at 0-0. Much to the confusion of everyone present – and especially our captain, Tom ‘That’s his Real Name’ Cocks – the match ended on a penalty to the other team. After much deliberation, it was decided that the winner would be decided on which team could kick the ball out into touch the furthest. After selflessly allowing the other team to go first, Matthew ‘Scholes’ Sparrow stepped up to the mark. Ashitaka had put in a good effort which would take some beating. Sparrow’s kick was a good one, but it fell short by a couple of meters. We were knocked out. The final score was 0-0 (0-1 on penalties…kind of…) Epilogue After the loss, we all went for a swim in the river, holding our heads high in the knowledge that we were unbeaten all day and only let in two tries against us. It was a tough way to go, but we can be proud of ourselves. Following the formalities of the tournament, we made the weekly pilgrimage to the chippy where we sang many songs, including – courtesy of Sean ‘Sensei’ Gibson – a very NSFW rendition of ‘The Candy Man’. We also made a new very friendly friend; broke the beer machine (from ordering too much beer…it was inevitable really); witnessed a grown-ass man eat a bowl of mayonnaise without using his hands; gave Basi a makeover, and had such good craic that everyone else in the bar put earphones in! The 321s are as follows: 5 – Sean ‘The Diplomat’ Edwards 4 – Joe ‘Opposition’s Worst Nightmare’ Flagler 3 – Luke ‘Not Guilty’ Bradley 2 – Matthew ‘Majin Buu’ Foster 1 – Reece ‘Football Manager’ Morgan We would like to thank everyone who played and supported the lads at the tournament. It was a long day, but it was good fun for everyone. We would also like to announce that Luke Bradley is on trial for manslaughter next week, and needs everyone’s support.