Seniors Shine Bright at Brickfields

22 February 2023

19:30 @ Plymouth Albion RFC

Senior Men XV


Plymouth Albion

On the first of four consecutive matches to be played in the West Country (see fixture list for details) the Senior Men took to the field at Plymouth Albion’s Brickfields ground in their third post-Christmas fixture of the season after winning the Commonwealth Navies Cup back in September. The opposition on the night was a Plymouth Albion RFC Club XV made up from both the host club’s playing roster and a number of guest players from the likes of Saltash RFC.

A very good crowd was treated to full blooded display from both sides on a night when those in blue were looking to impress the coaching staff before the squad is trimmed down in preparation for the capped fixtures that lie ahead. The RN carried 10 players on the bench itiching to get on. Those that started got into their work in double-quick time. The first try of the game was on the board for the RN at the 4-minute mark with scrum half Carter diving over after a missed tackle led to an RN break. Jake Hanley added the extras with the first of several great kicks from the fly half who had an excellent all-round game.

For the majority of the first half the RN were on the front foot, dominating not only possession and territory but also the scrummage where the pack got on top early and kept the pressure on for the entire game.

The team went through their repertoire of hard forward carries with the back line moving the ball well both into the midfield but particularly to the edges where wingers Rudder and Gliddon saw plenty of early ball. Although a few chances went begging, the enterprise and enthusiasm from the team was a pleasure to watch and they ran in two long range tries before the half hour mark scored by Gliddon and a second for Carter. Both were converted by Hanley including one from wideout from the left touchline. He repeated the trick on the 33rd minute after some multi-phase play created an overlap try for Rudder to score in the corner.

Halftime score Plymouth Albion XV 0 – 28 RN

Soon after the break Head Coach Dave Pascoe began to ring the changes and numerous players were given an opportunity for a run out including the evergreen Gaz Evans who is playing as well as he ever did.

It took a while for the new players to get into the flow and some determined defence by the Albion XV kept the RN at bay until the 61st minute. The team play was back on track and some disciplined phase play from the Navy saw Belgian International, Jordan Gott go over for the try, with the conversion just wide.

The RN forward domination continued with this period’s second try following a few minutes after the first; a powerful catch and drive was followed with some strong carries from the pack and the stadium announcer letting the crowd know that it was the RN skipper Toby Papp that had scored. The conversion was drilled through by Gott who had now taken over kicking duties. A mention must go to second row Ryan Boulton who the Albion fly half repeatedly picked out with his restarts, the Navy man didn’t let his team down and took all the high balls with aplomb and set the attacking platform.

With 10 minutes to go on the clock Albion finally got over the line for a score which their endeavour richly deserved. Despite the RN charging down the Albion scrum half’s kick the ball made its way into the hands of their right wing who raced into the corner for his side’s consolation score.

The RN finished with a flourish and two further scores from Gaz Evans and Dom Cleverley, both expertly converted by Gott saw the game end with a final score of Plymouth Albion XV 5 – 54 Royal Navy.

After the whistle, RN Head Coach Pascoe said, “It was a great hit out for the lads and will make the decisions, I and the coaching team have to make in reducing the squad at the end of this week even more difficult.”

Once those decisions have been made the squad will move on to Sandy Park next Wednesday to take on an Exeter Chiefs XV in what is sure to be a tough game before the first of the seasons capped games against the Marine Nationale back at Brickfields on Wednesday March 15. On the day the Senior Women’s game will kick off at 1600 with the Senior Men at 1900. See you all there!

Words by P Clark

Images by NavyFit/ Lee Crabb and Jarrad Hulm