Tokyo Crusaders Tokyo Crusaders vs. Doronco RFC 24-12 (W) by Travis Dixon The Cru rocked up to Koiwa station mildly enthusiastic about having a decent run-out ahead of this week’s MacFadyen cup match against the YCAC. After a good run of form lately and an ideal training run last week (or so I recall), we were confident of continuing our good form. Arriving in due time at the ground (which seemed more appropriate for mud wrestling than rugby), we were rather curious where the opposition was when the boots and shorts alarm was sounded and they were nowhere in sight. A 2pm kick off became 2:20pm, which became 2:30pm and eventually fell around 3 o’clock. The game finally got underway and we welcomed the return of big Jason (if only for one week) as he took the kick-off and brushed away a Doronco player like a donkey’s tail flicking off an unwanted advance from Sean “Ginger Navy” Gehrold, whom we also welcomed back from a recent stint in the tropics, no doubt prodding his pecker into every hole he could find in search of that ever-elusive antidote. The forward pack showed an improved cohesion at the breakdown and despite the disruptive play (which our fearless Captain Evan “Romper Stomper” Hitchman I believe commented on once or twice) from the opposition, we had some fluent phases strung together. The backline didn’t quite have the fluency of former weeks from a combination of incredible (if dubious) line speed from the opposition and a (much needed and appreciated) influx of new players (cheers Navy boys) who were picking up the complicated play calls as they went along. No doubt a big factor in the improved forward play was young fella Marcus who thoroughly deserved his man of the match award of a beautiful pair of floral boxers. It was good to see Paddy “Cavan” Reilly back this week as he managed to scamper in a try early in the game (and managed a double for the day). Some weak defense and unforced errors allowed Doronco to strike back but the Cru followed soon after with a scampering run from Frank “the walking Victorian disease museum” Saffrey, who glided gracefully over the try line like a crippled giraffe. By half time it was clear neither side were really putting their hearts and/or souls into the game, so both decided to throw some boots and fists into it instead. The classic cussing cries from “heart-attack Hitchman” stirred it all up and prompted one of the new recruits to question, “but he seemed like such a calm guy before the game?” While they did lie all over the ball and were unnecessarily niggly (the pot and kettle should feature somewhere here), one does have to commend their ferocious tackling. Phong and Paddy were on the receiving end of some brutal tackles, and so could do with a lesson from Yutaka Baggins’ on how to run through people with ferocious fends. A try from Danny “Darker” Brown sealed the game and when Andy “Haymaker” Howard took exception to a retaliation from some fairly legal (in 1893) rucking, the ref decided to call it off early before sundown struck and trouble started a brewing. After a few post-match barks from Sergeant “Disco Stu” Tooley, we managed to end it on good terms with Doronco and hope we can have a run out against them in the future. In general it was an ugly but effective win and we hope to see the likes of Yorkie, Tom and the other regulars back soon (i.e. Saturday) to boost the ranks and lift the team. Now all eyes are turned towards Sunday’s big match-up in the Tokyo Dome – the Cru versus Super Oktoberfest. Who will be the winner? Only time will tell but experience has taught me that beer will be the winner on the day. Oh, and we have a game against YCAC on Saturday too. Player’s Men of the Match: 1 – Marcus 2 – Beau 3 – Jason

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