2016 Season starts with a big win for the Royal Navy Women


RN Women XV


Yeovil RFC Ladies

RNRU(W) post match alongside the Yeovil RFC Ladies
Rihann Dilmore charges through the Yeovil defence en-route to her second try
Vice Captain Sarah Jenkins attacks the Yeovil defence before going over for her third try of the evening
A strong ruck, set up by Amy Risker-Woods and Kate Collins allowing quick ball by Woman of the match Drew Powell

The RNRU(W) couldn’t have started their 2016 Season any better with an energetic display of running rugby under floodlights against Yeovil RFC Ladies at Yeovil Rugby Club.  A flurry of trys in both halves with some excellent defending meant the RNRU(W) were 53 points to 7 winners.

The team came together for a 2-day training camp ahead of the game.  They welcomed 5 new players into the squad courtesy of the Grass Roots rugby sessions that were run by the Community Rugby team towards the end of 2015.  For a few it was the first time they had played full contact rugby let alone attend a rugby training camp.  Training at RNAS YEOVILTON provided the team with the perfect facilities to allow the Head Coach, George Hillan, to get the ladies focussed on getting the basics right.  Preparations were intense but included whiteboard work, a brief by ESS nutritionist Leanne Hewitt and of course work on the pitch.  The team came together for a final discussion before moving to Yeovil RFC ahead of the game.

The conditions were perfect, with little wind, no rain and a pitch that although sticky in parts would allow the ladies to deliver their game plan.  From the kick off the Navy went on the attack putting pressure on Yeovil at every breakdown.  Once in possession, they were able to move the ball well and punch through the Yeovil defence with strong running from centres Loogle Worsfold and Tara Eileen Tuivaga.  Strong rucking drew in Yeovil’s players to create spaces for Vice Captain Sarah Jenkins to exploit in order to secure the first try of the match, which was subsequently converted (0-7).  This relentless pressure at the breakdown and strong running of the Navy centres resulted in a second try, this time by Loogle Worsfold. Unfortunately she pushed the conversion wide (0-12).  Soon after success continued with another try from Sarah Jenkins with some impressive hand-offs.  In the next attack, Sarah Mitchell drove the ball over the line with assistance from Rihann Dilmore.  Neither try was converted (0-22).  Yeovil had been gathering momentum in the scrum throughout the first half and efficient work by them found the ball in Yeovil hands at the halfway line.  Some slick passing gave the Yeovil winger, Holly Edmunds, a clear run to the line to score under the posts.  The try was successfully converted and Yeovil had points on the board (7-22).  Around 10 minutes from the end of the first half, fullback Collete Simpson-Smith sustained a dislocated shoulder in a tackle and had to be substituted.  However this did not stop the Navy advance with Rihann Dilmore going on another charge from a quick ruck, powering through the Yeovil defence for her first try of the game.  A successful conversion made it 7-29 at half time.

The second half started in much the same manner with the Navy going on the attack from the re-start.  Again a quick ball from the ruck fed Captain Charlotte Fredrickson who, after a strong handoff on the blind side, made a great run for the first try of the half, however the conversion fell short (7-34).  Although Yeovil were now stacking the mid field in an attempt to stem the charge by the Navy centres, gaps were appearing allowing Sarah Jenkins to complete her hat-trick with the subsequent conversion, by Loogle Worsfold, sailing between the posts (7-41).  The slick, quick ball from scrums and rucks by scrum half Drew Powell continued through the game allowing the Navy backs to exploit gaps in the Yeovil defence.  Yeovil did not go down without a fight and began to work hard in the scrum.  From this effort, results materialised when Yeovil’s Jo Norton picked up of the back of a scrum outside the Navy 22m line and exploited a gap in the Navy defence to go over for another try, however, the referee whistled and the try was disallowed.  The Navy, feeling they’d spent too much time in their own half, acted on a rallying call by the Captain and instantly put Yeovil under pressure.  A quick pop ball from Drew Powell to Rihann Dilmore allowed her to power over the line for her second try, which she was unable to convert (7-46).  The game ended with more quick hands from the Navy allowing Megan Lunn to score on her debut appearance.  This was successfully converted by Loogle Worsfold and as the final whistle blew the Navy finished with a clear winning result (7-53).

Overall, it was a strong performance from the Royal Navy who fielded a total of 5 new players, some of which had never played a match before.  Navy scrum half, Drew Powell, was one of these players who has entered rugby through the successful grass roots programme and was nominated Woman of the Match for her outstanding performance.  Navy Captain Charlotte Fredrickson said after the game, “I am really proud of everyone’s performance this evening.  We have trained hard and have bonded well as a team.  Everyone gave 100%, which is all I can ask for.  This was the first and an important milestone in this year’s Inter Services campaign.  Lots of new players and great individual performances show that the competition for shirts is going to be tough.  We’re concentrating on developing from this initial platform, moving forward for our next match.”

The RNRU(W) will play HM Prison Service Ladies at Burnaby Road on 10 February, kick off at 1900.  Come along and support the ladies.

Article by David Martin (RNRU(W) Communications Manager)
Photographs © Martin Edwards