The Battle of the Mariners

08 February 2023

19:30 @ Havant RFC

Mariners- RN Vets


Havant Veterans

On a cold February evening the RN Mariners travelled up the road to play the Havant Mariners, an exciting encounter which has always pulled a big supporting crowd looking forward to an entertaining evening.

The game started fast and furious with both sides trying to get a feel for the opposition and work out their patterns of play and processes. For the Navy side the players had to take time to work out how each other played. Havant had the advantage of local players who play together week in and week out. It took 15 mins before the first score was recorded as Havant slipped the Mariners tackle and coasted over the try line 7-0. Both teams had plenty of breaks, but last-ditch tackles and mistimed passes ensured that the game intially was stop start. Just 5 mins later the Mariners Scrum Half Kent, took a tap and go and a well timed pass allowed Manning to score 7-5.

The Havant side were able to gel better and were making yards on the pitch indicating that at some juncture the Mariners would be caught out which inevitably happened. The close support from each other caught out the Navy and having broken through some mistimed tackles, Havant we able to rack up the points before HT, 35 - 5.

In the second half all the players were fired up, the blood was pumping, the tackles were fierce. The Referee managed to keep control of the game...just. It was the Navy who struck first with Naulago running a good support line to score just to the right of the posts, Saberton converting 35-12. Havant rallied each other and they scored after the Navy was penalised for not releasing the ball in a tackle quickly repeated by another this time outside of the Mariners 22.

In the last 10 minutes with their pride and seat on the Inter Services bus, the Mariners picked themselves up and kept probing the Havant fringes. A quick penalty gave Naulago his second; Havant fired back with another try before a well-timed interception from James gave the Mariners more points. The Last play of the game saw Havant Mariners increase their lead which stayed the same until the final whistle. Full Time 61-22.

This fast-paced game was enjoyed by all despite the score, this time it was the Havant Mariners who dominated the game, but the Navy Mariners are building, experimenting, finding combinations to see who players link up better with. It was another development game for the squad of players. Tough? Yes, but well worth it!

The Mariners next fixture see them on the road to play the Defence Academy, Wed 22nd Feb, KO 1830.

Mariners Squad: Price, Erne, Kewn, Heffernan, Scovell, Junior, Hart, Valemei, Kent, Parsons, Campbell, Waryck, Naulago, Fraser, Saberton ©, James, Lamsin, Manning, Bodel, Johns, Tabanivesi, Soulayrac, Flowers, Darnley, Ede.

Words by G Pallet

Images by K Woodland