Brighter Days Ahead for the Mariners




HMS Queen Elizabeth

Saberton leads out the Mariners.
Kev has almost gone viral on instagram for this!
Blackburn forces would be tacklers to go low.
Strong defence was required to stem QNLZ creativity
Mariners and QNLZ congregate
Mariners Coaching Team: Olly James, Jez Parsons and Chris Thompson.

On Wednesday night in Portsmouth, Navy Rugby saw their first representative fixture of the year take place. After the deluge, the thunder, the lightening, and a training session on Temeraire’s 4G the Mariners took on the HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH on the grass of Burnaby Road. It was a tough game on the legs and by the end the players were having the cramp stretched out all over the field. The stormy conditions and a bog-like pitch put the stresses on the teams and on a couple of occasions the blustery wind took the box kicks a good five metres behind the kicker.

The first half saw QNLZ take the lead, but the Mariners’ determination snatched a draw from the mouth of defeat. The match concluded 12 apiece.

QNLZ was first to make inroads into the oppositions territory and Junior benefited from the referee’s leftover Christmas cheer when he brought down QNLZ’s 10 late after a cleverly placed grubber. Kewn and Richardson were the Mariners main ball carriers both were difficult to stop but the wet ball had a vote and inevitably it was spilt.

It wasn’t a game for the highlights reel, but a huge driving hit from Waryck in midfield distracted the crowd with the ball almost at the other end. Saberton won the footrace, scampering back to touch it down to earn his team a defensive drop out.

The game’s first points came from an awry clearance kick. QNLZ seized the opportunity as the Mariners struggled to reorganise in defence. Micky Welsh scored in the corner and neatly converted for a 7 nil lead.

Even the man in the middle was feeling the cold. Typically, it is a missing ball that slows down the restart but this time it was the referee who was errant as both teams looked around wondering why they hadn’t kicked off.

The break in play clearly gave the Mariners time to address their game plan. Some dominant forward play and a scrum against the head in QNLZ’s 22 meant the flankers were discombobulated giving Saberton acres of space to scuttle under the posts. Like Welsh he converted his own try.

QE took advantage of a needless yellow card for flanker Hart. Calum Roche ignored the overlap to score 10 yards in from the touchline. The wind did not aid the kicker. To win the game the Mariners would need to score in a kickable position. Blackburn was working hard as first receiver; hurling would be tacklers off him. The space was created and an near perfect pass given the conditions from Saberton found Ryan Wotton unmarked to score in the corner making the kick nigh on impossible.

The newly appointed Mariners’ Head Coach Olly James said after the game, “As coaches this game was a perfect opportunity to identify our new players for the ever-growing Mariners family, the 9 new members and 15 returning players had 2 days of intense training understanding both new and old playing systems. With the extreme conditions it made the game hard, but it was very positive to see our new combinations work together to achieve the aim we set at the start of Tuesday’s session. In particular our second try emphasised the way we believe will make us successful in both IS games in the coming months.”

“Next up its Devonport Services, our second fixture of the IS23 campaign. The aim will be to improve our defensive patterns, allowing us to execute our attacking systems more effectively and take that step to becoming IS23 winners in May.”

Mariners: Carr, Erne, Price; Richardson, Kewn; Bodel, Hart, Junior; Saberton, Lewis, Campbell, Waryck, Ede, Wotton, Fraser.

Replacements: John, Scovell, Ellor, Lister, Bodel, Blackburn, Darnley, Flowers, Nanson, Plant.

Images Navyfit/ Lee Crabb