Charities are the winners


RN President's XV


Petersfield RFC

Tris Trehan looks for a way through the Petersfield defence
Leading from the front, team captain Sam Benzie
RNRU referee Simon Aldridge officiates
Cheque presentation to RNRMC

The Royal Navy Rugby Union President's XV paid their annual visit to the home of Petersfield Rugby Club for the third charity fundraiser on Tuesday 12 December.  Unlike the previous years the visibility was not impaired by heavy rain or fog, it was a crisp, clear evening for the first outing of the President's XV this season.  

The format was the same as previous years with Wendy and her clubhouse team cooking up a pre-match feast before the excitement of the 'Heads and Tails' event to raise additional money for the two charities, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines charity and the Mayor of Petersfield's official charity the Rosemary Foundation Hospice at Home.  A total of £2,400 was raised to be split between the two worthy causes.

The main event was of course the rugby match between the two sides, which took place under the spotlights.  The President's XV were sporting their new playing strip, Navy blue shirts adorned with thin yellow, green and red stripes on the sleeves and blue socks with the same three stripes around the top.  These stripes are an acknowledgment of the participation of the Royal Marines, who are an integral part of the Royal Naval Service and have a strong representation in the Navy Rugby sides. 

The home side started strongly, catching the Navy team unawares, scoring a thundering try inside the first two minutes.  This served to wake up the President's XV, who had only come together that morning for their first training session.

It was RNRU 7s player and team captain, Sam Benzie, who broke free to cross over the line to level the score 5 - 5 and his try was converted by fly half Marine Ollie Carter.  This was the start of several tries which came thick and fast, left winger Royal Navy Reservist Rory Penfold speeding past the opposition to dive over the line into the corner, a move which was then mirrored on the right wing by Diver Wood.  Neither try was converted.  Centre, Leading Physical Trainer Warrington, added the fourth Navy try of the evening, and Ollie Carter added two more points with the conversion before Sam Carter made the try tally five just before the half time whistle for the visitors to stretch their lead, 5 - 34.

The second half was very similar to the first half, with the crowd being entertained by some wide expansive rugby.  The President's XV were gelling together with some pleasing results for the guest coach Scott Ashley.  Penfold and Warrington added another try apiece and the scoreboard read 5 - 46 following Benzie's conversion.  However the Petersfield side fought back, attacking the Navy side again and again.  Their persistence was eventually rewarded with a converted try in the final quarter of the game.  Not to be outdone, and keen to have the last action of the game, the Navy side set second row Kirwan up to break through the Petersfield defence for the final time and Carter's conversion ended the match 12 - 51.

Then it was time for Petersfield Secretary Rob Mocatta to present the cheques to the charities, in the presence of Hampshire RFU President, Rick Scott.  Gareth Hughes and Iain Cull gratefully received the cheque on behalf of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.  All that was left was for Stuart Barden, Chairman of the Club, to thank everyone for such a successful evening of great food, great company and great rugby!

Team List: K Beasley, C Oliffe, C Warner, J Kirwan, R Boulton, M Dowds, T Trehan, D Johnson, S Carter, O Carter, R Penfold, S Bezie (team captain), L Warrington, B Wood, A Gallagher. Replacements (all used) M Warwick, M Stevens, Duffy, Conbeer.

Words by DoC
Royal Navy Rugby Union © Keith Woodland