Crew of HMAS Ballarat, Crew of Japanese Destroyer Shimakaze Play Soccer

Crew of HMAS Ballarat, Crew of Japanese Destroyer Shimakaze Play Soccer

The crew of HMAS Ballarat made some new friends in Japan this week, over a hotly contested game of Soccer.

The Australian crew took on the crew of the Japanese Destroyer Shimakaze, which is acting as host ship to Ballarat’s port visit in Kure, near Hiroshima.

The Anzac Class frigate has travelled to Japan to participate in Exercise NICHI-GOU TRIDENT, a bi-lateral anti-submarine serial aimed at enhancing Defence interoperability between the two nations.

Ballarat and Shimakaze will set sail, from Kure, for the Pacific Ocean on Monday, where they’ll be joined by a Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) Submarine for the exercise.

Until then, the crew of the Shimakaze has taken on the task of introducing their Australian counterparts to Japanese culture. And, in the interest of building new friendships, the two crews took to the soccer field.

The competition was tight, with both sides remaining scoreless for most of the first half. But, the Australian’s broke through before half-time, when ABBM Luke Cunningham connected with a cross and slotted the ball past Shimakaze’s goal-keeper.

The Japanese side came out even more determined in the second half, and both teams made some good attempts on goal. But, the half remained scoreless, giving Ballarat the win.

Cunningham got man-of-the-match for his spectacular goal (and for being the only goal scorer), while mid-fielder LSSN Danielle Williams was given the fighting-spirit award for her fearless tackling on the field.

Ballarat’s Team Captain, Supply Officer LCDR Anthony Green, said the match proved friendships can be formed despite language barriers.

“It was great to see players from both Navies out there on the field today. The sportsmanship shown was first class, and showed the genuine respect the two crews have for each other.’

‘We may not speak the same language, but we’ve certainly developed a bond which will hold us in excellent stead when we participate in Exercise NICHI-GOU TRIDENT together next week,” said LCDR Green.

After NICHI-GOU TRIDENT, the Royal Australian Navy and JMSDF will be joined by the United States Navy to undertake Exercise PACIFIC BOND, another anti-submarine warfare serial.

Ballarat will then sail to Okinawa, Japan, for another good-will visit, before setting course for home.

The Australian Warship will return to her home-port of Sydney in June.

Naval Today Staff , June 4, 2012; Image: Australian Navy