Living On The Razor's Edge

Freshly Shaven Parker Helps Jets Complete Vital Sweep Of East Rival Alvark

Michael Parker score for Chiba Jets— Chris Pfaff, Inside Sport: Japan, April 16, 2017
Michael Parker score for Chiba Jets— Chris Pfaff, Inside Sport: Japan, April 16, 2017

For his fifth wedding anniversary, veteran forward Michael Parker acceded to his wife’s wishes and shaved off the bushy facial hair that had been his trademark this season. It seemed appropriate given the close shaves that the Chiba Jets had over the weekend in a quest to improve their playoff situation.

Holding on for an 84-78 victory on Sunday at Tokyo's Yoyogi No. 2 Gym, the Jets completed a sweep of the two-game series with the Tokyo Alvark, the team they are trying to chase down for all-important second place in the East Division. With seven games left, the Jets are now just one game behind the Alvark.


Fighters Pull Away In Fourth Quarter To Win Season-Opener

Kwansei Gakuin Fighters LB Kinoshita (53) lays the wood on a Keio Unicorns ballcarrier — Rube Redfield, Inside Sport: Japan, April 15, 2017
Kwansei Gakuin Fighters LB Kinoshita (53) lays the wood on a Keio Unicorns ballcarrier — Rube Redfield, Inside Sport: Japan, April 15, 2017

Reigning National Champions Kwansei Gakuin met perennial Kanto powerhouse Keio today in the kick-off (for KG) of the Spring College football season. Although spring games have no affect on actual league standings, they are hard fought contests for both regional and school pride.

 


Difficult Second Season Continues For Sunwolves

Only six days after their dramatic win against the Bulls, the Sunwolves were brought back down to earth with a crushing 50 - 3 defeat against the Crusaders in Christchurch

Most bookmakers had written off the away side's chances before a ball was kicked but the manner in which the Sunwolves surrendered possession and leaked tries meant the match was done and dusted by half time.

 


Experience, Emotion Help Sunwolves To First Win Of Season

Yu Tamura kicks the game-winner — John Gunning, Inside Sport: Japan, April 8, 2017
Yu Tamura kicks the game-winner — John Gunning, Inside Sport: Japan, April 8, 2017

The Sunwolves won their first match of the season on Saturday, in a tight encounter against the Bulls at Chichibunomiya Stadium. The return of senior Japanese players, including Fumiaki Tanaka, Kotaro Matsushima, Yu Tamura, Shunsuke Nunomaki and Keita Inagaki, added composure to the team and galvanised the home fans.

Hayden Cripps got things rolling with a clever chip for captain Timothy Lafaele to chase. The ball was then swept out to the left wing, with debutant Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco racing to the corner to score the first try of the match.


Kisenosato Wins Title After Dramatic Playoff 

New Yokozuna Downs Ozeki Terunofuji Twice on Final Day Despite Serious Injury

Kisenosato performs his first honbasho yokozuna ring entering ceremony — John Gunning, Inside Sport: Japan, March 12th, 2017
Kisenosato performs his first honbasho yokozuna ring entering ceremony — John Gunning, Inside Sport: Japan, March 12th, 2017

Kisenosato’s January promotion to yokozuna in January made this year’s Osaka basho one of the most highly anticipated tournaments in recent times.

In a incredible display that will be remembered for years to come, Kisenosato powered his way through injury to claim a valiant come-from-behind yusho.

The Ibaraki native’s campaign began with 12 consecutive wins. With fellow yokozuna Hakuho pulling out injured and Harumafuji and Kakuryu suffering early defeats, Kisenosato looked a sure bet to take back-to-back titles.

However, the dream looked to have been derailed on day 13, when a determined Harumafuji blasted Kisenosato out of the dohyo and onto his shoulder. The 30-year old winced in pain and took a long time to get up as the crowd fell silent.


A Season Like No Other

JX-Eneos Rolls Over Toyota In WJBL Finals To Complete Historic Span Of Perfection

Sunflowers celebrate their historic achievement. — Chris Pfaff, Inside Sport: Japan, March 12, 2017
Sunflowers celebrate their historic achievement. — Chris Pfaff, Inside Sport: Japan, March 12, 2017

With the exception of losing the opening tipoff and his star player early in the second half - the latter being much more serious, but in the end, also not much of a factor--there was little that concerned JX-Eneos Sunflowers head coach Tom Hovasse as his team finished off the most dominant season in the history of the Women’s Japan Basketball League.  JX-Eneos capped a perfect season by routing the overmatched Toyota Antelopes 75-51 on Sunday at Tokyo's Yoyogi No. 2 Gym, completing a three-game sweep of the best-of-five WJBL championship finals for their ninth consecutive crown.


2017 Pearl Bowl Matchups Set

The schedule for the 39th edition of the Pearl Bowl was released at last weeks Xleague awards ceremony in Tokyo.

The spring tournament kicks off at 2pm on April 22nd at Fujitsu Stadium with defending champion IBM Big Blue taking on Bulls Football Club. Lixil Deers against newly promoted Fuji Xerox Minerva AFC will follow that game at 5pm.The twelve teams are divided into four groups of three with the winner of each group advancing to the semi final.

All games are in Kawasaki with the exception of the final which will be played at Tokyo Dome.


2016 All-XLeague Awards

2016 All-XLeague Team Members Pose at a Tokyo Hotel on Jan 28th 2017 - John Gunning (Inside Sport: Japan)
2016 All-XLeague Team Members Pose at a Tokyo Hotel on Jan 28th 2017 - John Gunning (Inside Sport: Japan)

Japan’s National Football Association held its annual awards show at a central Tokyo hotel on Jan 28th

National champions Fujitsu Frontiers led the way with nine players selected to the All X-League team. Runner-up Obic Seagulls had six and Semi-finalists Panasonic had four apiece.