Mariners March Triumphant
31 January 2024
19:00 @ Devonport Services RFC
Mariners- RN Vets82
As they attempt to build on a disappointing end to last season, with a heavy loss to the Army Masters in the Inter-Services championship, the RNRU Mariners (over 35’s) dominated DSRFC from start to finish. This avenged the loss of a year ago.
A healthy but short training camp in HMS RALEIGH the day before saw over 30 attendees put through their paces by an the experienced and consistent TSG from last season. The consistency provided by the dedication and skill of Parsons, Pallet, Lamsin et al is noteworthy.
With numerous returnees and stalwarts in attendance, the Mariners were also bolstered by a dozen new players, either coming of age (35) or recently aware of the exciting opportunity and longevity Mariner’s bring to competitive rugby, health and well-being in the Service.
Taking a while to come to their senses, it took 10 mins for the Mariners’ to open their scoring with Matt Southern capitalising on 2 phases of lacklustre play being overcome by good hands out on the right side.
It was clear that the Mariners were eager to capitalise on their relative ‘youth’ and experience by keeping the ball in hand with very few kicks away (Steve Borthwick take note). This approach did not take long to see back row Bodel going in for a score 5 mins later. After half an hour it was 19 - 0 assisted by some consistent goal kicking by Cadywould at 10, running the show.
By half-time it was 33 - 0 with well worked tries from around the field.
A bench-clearing opportunity at the break saw old and new take to the field, most notably Priddey at blindside, but also Moss at lock for his debut. Captain, Waryck, moved from outside centre to wing after his fleet-footed first half display to give him more space. Turning the screw in the first 10 minutes after half-time the Mariners accelerated away; the returning Hillman at 7 aided and abetted by a strong back row and centre pairing dominated the breakdown, made a line break making DSRFC life a misery. Ten minutes in to the second half it was 54 - 0.
As expected, the experienced DSRFC team were able to rally with some really tight, neat and coordinated forward attacking play; they pressed the Mariners’ line for a good 10 minutes. Some really close calls saw ball ripped over the try line before grounding. This spirited phase of play was a highlight of the contest that gave Services something to be proud of and Mariners some great defensive practice.
The comprehensive lead saw wholesale changes and Southern returning to the fray; his beguiling deft of hand and improbable pace saw tries and conversions from what would be Player of the Match. This phase saw Priddey, recognising the life and energy Mariners’ bring to over-35 rugby, crossing the white-wash in style.
It was soon, 75 - 0 with a tiring and depleted Services squad on a fast surface, the Mariners ended the game with space everywhere; the mercurial Kent, now back on at 9 unselfishly offloaded to Hart to score under the posts.
Final score: 82 - 0 to the Mariners. The score line flattered the Mariners in parts playing a true veterans side in DSRFC. The encouraging thing is the quantity and depth of talent the Mariners have this season. There will be sterner tests to come, so any over-35 players are encouraged to sign up!
The Mariners next play Avon and Somerset Police at Dings RFC, 14 Feb KO 1900.
Mariners: C Carr, C Ellor, C Ottoway; I Scovell, J Addison; A Bodel (VC), S Hillman, P Manning; A Kent, R Cadywould, C Campbell, M Southern, D Waryck (C), D Fraser, D williams.
Replacements: P Kewn, T Blackburn, M Thurston, C Hart, R Cozens, R Cox, A Ainscough, P Price, D Price, J Elliot, S MAhoney, B Priddey, P Flowers, T Moss, A Kubara
Words by A RileyImages by C Sanders