Following a week of torrential rain and then a few days of Sunshine, the boys headed out to Urawa for what was to be the first of 3 qualifying finals to decide who plays in this years Grand Final. In order to get our Ace, Happy Steve to the game, he was flown down on the Saturday night from Fujisawa on the JR line and put up in the Luxurious Kasuga Court House lodgings and given the best sofa on offer. A night on the slops with the current and former Presidents ensured a good night sleep and we were all keen the next morning to hit the rails and head out to the ground. An egg sandwich, can of coffee and bottle of REGAIN was the perfect preparation and we were ready to fire. A late night call from Jezza (an hour on the mobile, while he listened to us sing at Karaoke) had Happy pumped for the days events knowing that it wouldn’t be long before he and Jezza reunited. Upon arriving at Urawa Station the Pres did a head count but soon found he ran out of fingers and figured we had the required numbers to make a game of it. Just prior to departing for the ground a phone call from Yasu informed us that we could not use the ground and the game may have to be called off. This was not going to hold with the boys so we headed for the ground anyway as Millitary Matt (who went to Minami Urawa) attempted to navigate his way on foot. Arriving at the ground there was a sight I had not seen since joining the club. OUR boys were warming up and the Japanese boys were standing around pouting. A decision was made to approach the ground office and see what could be done, I mean, we had a record turn up of 18 players (I knew this because I took my shoes and socks off) who had made the ultimate sacrifice of giving up their Sunday to play. Heading down to the office, I was prepared to break down and cry in the name football and beg to be allowed to play on the supposedly flooded ground (one puddle). Yasu had other ideas and went in full steam ahead and told them what not and we were given the go ahead. Since there were 18 players Kim and I decided to umpire together (I didn’t like the look of that one puddle) and the game got underway around 1:00pm.
The Goannas had five new faces, Jezza (spuds) Paul (I’ll go to training with ya Chuck) Hidenori (aussie) Jarrod (cut throat) and after years in the wilderness Cameron (give us a lift) returned for a game, so it was looking good for the boys from Oz.
From the first ball up the Goannas took control in the center with Tims precise ruckwork to little Jimmy (who runs all day) down to Chuck for a goal in the first seconds of the game, this set the pattern for the day. It rained goals in the first quarter and it seemed there just weren’t enough guys behind the goals to retrieve the ball from the creek, so reinforcements were bought in. Chuck and Shirai were having a great battle in the square with honors shared and the back line was solid with Cameron and Paul repelling attacks like a can of Mortein. The Goannas went into the first break 40 points up. The bench was busy in the second quarter as the heat started to affect a few of the boys and Callum feeling the pinch from the previous night and not knowing whether he was in the dog house with his missus told on his concentration. Hidenori (Aussie) got a run and was caught throwing the pill as he tried to come to grips with the rules of our great game. At the long break the boys had a comfortable 60 point break and the Gokons were all but waving the white flag. Once again a few positional changes and the Goannas were away again. Jezza absolutely dominated the forward line with 5 goals that quarter and gave away a few as well, however, his good work was being undone at the other end of the ground where his sweetheart, Happy Steve was being destroyed by Slim, who had made a comeback from a stint at a Mcdonalds eating feast it seamed. Never have I seen one of our players so decisively beaten and the coach let him know it by dragging him from the ground. Cameron got a taste of the turf when a Gokon sat on his head, “Play ON” was the call from the men in white to Bag’s disgust. Just before the end of the quarter Millitary Matt attempted to give the ball to Shirai on the boundary however, Shirai didn’t seem to appreciate the gesture, when the ball bounced off his head and there was a slight skirmish but little damage. An 80 point lead into the last quarter and the boys were looking for a 100 point victory, however, to the Gokons credit they fought hard and kept the deficit at 80 points when the final bell rang to signal BBQ time. The best players for the Goannas were Paul, Jezza, Chuck, Tim and Little Jimmy. Rachel and Garry did a great job getting rid of all the snags and the boys then headed back to the onsen. On the way back to the Onsen Jezza and Happy sitting hand in hand on the bus decided to give it a miss and stayed on the bus as we headed for the bath. As the bus departed we were made aware of where all Jezza’s hard earned money had gone as he placed his ample gut
against the window to display his “Fosters Child”. The boys went to the onsen and discovered a guy proudly walking around with a baby’s arm holding an apple (you work it out). It was decreed that Paul must buy a towel next visit. Back to Ikebukuro for the happy hour izakaya and a peek at some silicone accessories had this president waking up with a sore neck.
A great victory for the boys and we hope we can take that form into the GF.