Cole's January Column
As the New Year dawns all thoughts naturally begin to focus on the Inter-Services. The Senior’s campaign has begun in earnest with a trip to Monk’s lane to play Newbury RFC under the Captaincy of Capt Will Pilkington ending in victory by 30-28. It was great to see Marc Roberts back in a Royal Navy shirt after a year out with injury sustained against the Irish Defence force last season. It also saw the return of Les Dennis into a full representative side following his deployment on HMS Endurance and the blooding of a number of U23s at Senior level. Interviewed afterwards Navy Rugby’s DoR, Lt Cdr Geraint Ashton Jones commented “Despite the limited experience in the squad this was a promising performance and it was particularly pleasing to give a number of untried players the chance to stake a claim for later honours.” The Women kick off their post Christmas fixtures with a trip to Paignton looking to build on the heartening performance against Plymouth Albion in November. National recognition has come the way of two the Navy women’s squad, prop Pam Williams, and flanker Sophy Roseaman, both have been selected for the South Squad to play in the RFUW regional tournament beginning in February; Congratulations ladies. The Ancient Mariner’s continued their build up with a highly successful training camp in the monsoon provided by Yeovil. Despite the weather much was achieved and the Head coach, Mike Connolly, continues to refine his plans for April and May. The successful Royal Navy Under 23 team were rewarded with 16 selections into the Combined Services U23 squad for their first fixture; a fitting tribute to the whole squad’s dogged determination and teamwork displayed in winning the Inter-Services in December. There was further good news following is Man of the Match performance against Newbury for Mne Johnny Stevens with his selection as Captain of CS U23s for the upcoming visit of the Irish Colleges on Friday 1 Feb. In the wider field of Navy rugby, Greg Barden continues to develop at Bristol Rugby, but 30 January sees him and his Bristol colleagues take on the DRIU at HMS Raleigh. Photographs to follow but it will be good to see a Royal getting a dunking. February sees a busy fixture list with Seniors taking on Oxford University and then traveling to Paris looking to retain the Babcock Trophy. The Women travel to Taunton and the Ancient Mariners step up a league with matches against the Prison Service and Taunton. So much to look forward to and decisions to be made over selection. Good luck to all.