Festive rugby to follow the festive season.
By Paul RalphFevers RFC provided the perfect opposition for the first game after the Christmas/New Years season, in what proved to be a high-scoring, open, good-natured game of rugby. After a little (in some cases obvious) overindulgence during the proceeding few weeks, a large contingent of Cru players arrived at Mitaka Station keen to burn off some Christmas turkey. The objective of the game for the Cru was to develop some new and inexperienced players, and increase the depth of talent that has been a feature of the Cru’s 2013-14 season. The game saw Luis Hernandez, Masaoki Akimoto, and James Payne all making their debuts for the Cru. The good-natured game provided an opportunity for all of those who wanted to get some game time, albeit not always in a position they were familiar with. A few bindings may have gone astray in the early scrums as new combinations packed down, and Marc ‘stop grabbing me there!’ Sherratt’s ability to father children may have been compromised. The forward pack was also notable for the return of Jonas ‘out from behind the camera’ Hult after a lengthy shoulder injury. With a number of the Cru’s more established players starting from the sidelines, Tom ‘follow me lads’ Cocks was given the captain’s role, and proceeded to lead from the front in what proved to be a man-of-the-match effort. ‘Glen Taylor’ also proved to be a rock at hooker, capturing a point in the 3-2-1s. With usual 1st five Travis ‘can’t believe she said yes’ Dixon happy to pull up a chair, open a beer, and observe proceedings from the sidelines, the ball was actually passed out wider than first receiver, and Gavin ‘now I can show you what I can do’ Smith was able to cut a merry caper through the Fever’s defence to earn two 3-2-1 points. The game was off to a quick start with Dylan ‘may have lost a finger to frostbite’ Lee showing his pace to score in the first minute. With a festival feel to the game, and no one willing to put in the effort to put the goal posts up, conversions were dismissed. The game was developing into an exchange of Cru speed versus Fevers experience, and the Fevers began to show the benefits of experience and technique, scoring two well constructed tries including one from a rolling lineout maul. Luke ‘I’m dressed like this for a job interview’ Bradley was soon able to step through the Fevers’ defense however, to even the score. The Cru’s next try came from a bustling, long range run from Brandon ‘couldn’t actually see where he was going without his glasses’ Fought, who despite getting knocked down was able to remember he wasn’t playing the American version of football, and regained his feet to continue the run to the line. Fevers came back to score again, and then Masaoki ‘on debut for the Cru’ Akimoto, was able to score another long-range try, despite a very persistent pursuit. First half score; 20-15 to the Cru. Like Italy during the war, Evan ‘-11 metre kick off’ Hitchman decided to swap sides at halftime (although he had been wearing a Fevers jersey under his tracksuit for much of the first half). After an evenly matched opening to the second half, Tom barged over after ten minutes. This began a period of sustained Cru dominance, with Even Kerr scoring soon afterwards, and Jackie Wilson and Cornelius Smith both showing exceptional speed to also score. The final fifteen minutes of the game saw Fevers come back with two more tries, with the game ending 40-25 to the Cru. The astro-turf of the Mitaka Yokogawa Denki Sports Ground provided an excellent playing surface. And while the game started in late afternoon, all enjoyed the novelty of playing under lights, especially the contingent of photographers on the sidelines, who were able to capture a few blurred shots of Jackie and Cornelius exhibiting the superpowers of the Flash. Credit should also go out to the Fevers’ players, a group of more senior men who inspire and prove that rugby can provide enjoyment no matter what your age (kind of like Tooley, but without the bad jokes). The Fevers’ No. 8 was awarded man-of-the-match by the Cru. After the game, a large mixed contingent of Cru and Fevers players headed to the Fukufukuya Izakaya. Rugby stories were traded, beer was drunk, and Travis was left behind. Not wanting to see the end of a great day, the majority of the group proceeded to another izakaya, for yet another round of nomihodai. Everything after that is a bit hazy. Thanks again to Fevers RFC, hope to do it all again soon. Players’ men-of-the-match. 3. Tom Cocks 2. Gavin Smith 1. ‘Glen Taylor’