YCAC Over 35s Tournament 2014

YCAC Over 35s Tournament
SCORES: Beat Hakuhodo (by default), Beat Phoenix 26-0, Beat Waseda Club 27-0 (semi-final), Beat Acorn 19-0 (final) – Coach: Simon Ryan – Photos: Kyoko Obayashi

Short of players just a few days before the game, it all came together on the day, a blend of (relative) youth and experience to which the opposition had few answers. The forward display was characterised by supremacy in the line-out, where JK and Yoshi Amano took every ball, thrown with unerring accuracy by new hooker Baba Tatekawa, and mostly solid scrums. And the backs, perhaps aware that they could not depend on forward numbers in support at the breakdown, played with flair, aggression and control, keeping the ball in hand, running at the opposition from everywhere, and rarely turning the ball over. The half-backs, Kats and Cherry, led the attack, and the centre combination of Uchiyama and Bill Baker formed the perfect combination of speed and strength to punch through the opposition defence and score themselves or release to the wings and full-back, always in support, to finish off the movement.

On seeing the draw our first opponents, Hakuhodo, decided that they had better things to do and scratched, so our first actual game was against Phoenix, who were dispatched with minimal difficulty by a YC&AC team still finding first gear. Waseda Club were expected to provide stiffer opposition, and so it proved, but they could not get enough of the ball to threaten. When they did get near the YC&AC try line, the defence was resolute and effective, and the backs, getting into their stride, proved lethal in counter-attack. So we moved smoothly into the final against Acorn, but they could not resist the remorseless blue waves of YC&AC’s offensive play, and succumbed relatively meekly to concede the prize to the home team for the fourth year in a row.

Uchiyama was crowned Player of the Tournament, for a dominant attacking display, by the former title holder Simon Ryan. Uchiyama’s was the outstanding performance among several strong candidates among the younger players, but mention must also be made of solid performances from the older generation: the reunited lock pairing of club historian Mike Galbraith and Glenn Page (combined age 130) revived monochrome memories of their imperious heyday in the 1980s, while the senior front five (combined age 301) creaked only once or twice and held firm in the tight, although content to leave dominance of the loose play to the more mobile and youthful back row of JK, Yoshi Amano and Yuji Kitano.

While, sadly, it seems that the time has come for O’Driscoll to hang up his boots, it seems that for a number of the YC&AC players, to misquote Mark Twain, rumours of their retirement have been greatly exaggerated. Who would bet against yet another “last hurrah” in 2015?

Squad:
1 Simon Tross Youle (captain)
2 “Baba” Tatekawa/Scott Sizemore
3 Yoshi Nike/Pete Davison
4 Glenn Page
5 Mike “Ken Dodd” Galbraith
6 Junji “JK” Kikkawa
7 Yuji Kitano
8 Yoshi Amano
9 Katsumi Matsuo
10 “Cherry” Katakura
11 “Caviar Ken” Noguchi
12 Uchiyama
13 Bill Baker
14 Masa Nozaki
15 Kenji Yoshioka

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    W96 – 0 Sat Dec 6th
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