A Tale of Two Halves: A Mariner’s Story

26 April 2023

19:00 @ Dings RFC

Mariners- RN Vets


Avon and Somerset Police

With the Army Masters just a week away, the Mariners planned an additional fixture to keep them fresh and ready and allow them to play on an artificial pitch to replicate the track expected at Rosslyn Park. A strong squad travelled up to Bristol but due to the current situation in Sudan a few could not. They were fortunate to have Avon & Somerset Police providing the opposition for the evening. The conditions at Dings RFC were dry and cool, creating the prospect of running rugby; both sides looked keen to engage.

It was the Police who started quickest; they were first to the breakdown and disrupted the Mariners. Both teams probed and tested trying to find the gaps to score. After 10 minutes the Police were first to score out wide.

The Navy tried to rally but miscommunication enabled the Police once again to slip through and score near the posts with the conversion added after 20 minutes.

Finally finding their rhythm, Saberton broke from a great first phase carry from the forwards to slip the ball to Waryck to score in the corner,

It was another 10 minutes of resolute defence from both sides before Nason charged down a kick for AJ King to score under the sticks 12 - 12. The momentum was starting to build for the Mariners and centre Darnley trucked up the ball to allow Saberton the space to run and score. The tables had turned, and the Navy took a 7-point lead into the clubhouse.

The subsequent 40 minutes was an altogether different game; the Mariners made the changes from the bench, and it was evident the players who were watching in the first half wanted to change the pace of the game- doing just that. The police were in a shocked state: faster ball, faster play, the offload and clear out, all were much quicker and cleaner giving Cox the space to dart over and score 24 - 12.

The set-piece came together and after two very dominant scrums, a quick tap and a tip line from Erne was rewarded for a try 29 - 12. The Navy players were having fun, the kick restarts from the Police were ran back at speed, Naulago finding the pass to a great support line from Johns. Into the last quarter and the game was just as entertaining; Kent from a wide ball hugged the touch line to dot down. Saberton was in for his brace shortly after a kick chase.

Even the forwards were getting some of the ball: the Mariners were playing ‘total rugby’. Heffernan, off a short Kent pass gave the ball the Naulago for another well worked try and just before the full-time whistle, Heffernan ran a perfect line to take the ball crashing over to finish the game 60 - 12. T

The Police tackled well and never gave up, but the Mariners maintained their momentum throughout the second half. As will always be the case there are plenty of areas to focus on ready for the final game of the season against the Army Masters at Rosslyn Park RFC, Friday 12th May, KO 1800.

Team: Kewn, Ellor, Price, Riley, Scovell, Junior, Nason, Manning, Kent, King, Fraser, Waryck, Darnley, Flowers, Saberton (C).

Replacements: Erne, Heffernan, Followell, Carr, Cox, Jones, Naulago, Lamsin, James, Blackburn, Johns.

Words by G Pallet

Images by Callum Sanders