Six Try Success in Surrey for Senior XV


Royal Navy Senior XV


Esher Cardinals

Left Wing Bowden finds some space
Led by team captain Pascoe, the forwards got the better of Esher
Stephen making his breaking run with Griggs in support
Hughes started at hooker in place of injured Priddey

The conditions at Molesey Road were crisp and clear when the Royal Navy Senior XV travelled to Esher RFC for their third match in preparation for the Inter Service competition in April.  The sides appeared evenly matched at the start but the Navy team got into their groove by the second quarter and when the final whistle blew they had notched up an impressive 3 - 40 victory!

Esher RFC Chair of Long Term Planning and Development, John Inverdale looked on as Royal Marine Musician Edd Pascoe led the Navy side onto the pitch, with team captain Ben Priddey watching from the sidelines with a knee injury.  The first ten minutes were played in the middle of the field, with possession alternating between the visitors in blue and the home side in orange.  It was Esher who made the first break into the opposition 22, working through the phases, but an infringement by the Navy side during the maul gave away a penalty which the home team chose to kick, scoring the first points of the evening, leading 3 - 0 with 15 minutes played.                   

From the re-start the Navy were quick to respond, gaining possession and working their way up the field.    Esher were penalised for handling in the ruck and the Navy quickly capitalised on this kicking to touch.  The safe hands of flankers Ben Fox and Dom Taylor moved the ball forward, closer to the 5 yard line.  Under pressure, Esher conceded another penalty and Navy inside centre, Tom Davies finally found his way through the line to touch down with the first try of the night, which was skilfully converted by Jon Humphrey.  The Navy took the lead 3 - 7.

Now into the second quarter the visitors were in their stride and it wasn't long before some quick handling saw the Navy threatening the home side again.  Unforced errors from Esher resulted in another penalty to the Navy, who kicked to touch.  A driving maul off the back of the lineout made 20 yards and scrum half Cory Moore broke to score the second try of the game and Humphrey kicked his second conversion, extending the Navy lead 3 - 14.  

The remainder of the first half passed without either side getting in a position to add to their score.  The teams were beginning to tire and seemed to lose their discipline; the referee had to penalise both sides for high tackles and the lineouts, which had been text book at the start, weren't thrown straight resulting into several scrums.

After the half time whistle Navy Head Coach, Ash Coates made several changes; the first group on were Collins, Evans and Raumakita, closely followed by Rees, Warner, Stephen and Makepeace, running out for the first time in a Senior XV shirt after a successful season with the U23s.  And before they had a chance to settle down Trehan, Chambers, Dimmock-Williams and Griggs joined them.  With 11 new players on the pitch it was a while before they found their form but it was a form worth waiting for and made for an exciting final quarter of the match.

The Navy began to dominate the Esher side up front, maintaining possession camped out on the 5 yard line.  Under pressure the home side gave away another penalty after repeated infringements and the referee showed the Esher No 8 a yellow card.  A man up, the Navy team drove Esher back over Esher's own try line for a scrum.  Using their advantage, the forwards overpowered Esher to cross the line and touch down.  Rees converted to open up the score 3 - 21.

Esher never let their heads drop and responded well, gaining territory making their way to the Navy 22.  However a penalty quickly taken allowed Stephen to make a startling break, running almost the length of the pitch, supported by Griggs, who touched down in the corner.  The try was converted by Rees and the scoreboard showed 3 - 28.

The crowd wondered if that would be the end of the action for the night with less than ten minutes left to play, but Esher were keen to stay in the game, gaining possession and approaching the Navy 22.  Defending hard Stephen took a knock and struggled to get back on his feet, Corey Moore returned to the pitch.  The next five minutes saw a flurry of action from the Navy side and Esher couldn't respond.  Dimmock-Williams ran in two tries in quick succession, reminiscent of Jack Nowell's performance last weekend against Italy!  Rees made it 3 from 3 with a challenging conversion but failed to get the fourth as the whistle blew for a final score Esher 3 - Navy 40.

The Navy Team Management will be pleased with their team, with several players who recently joined the training camp who seem to have integrated well.  The set pieces were working effectively but they can tighten up on their discipline.  Esher Cardinals should not take the result to heart; the scoreboard did not completely reflect their performance and despite the widening gap in the scoreline they kept on fighting to the final whistle.

Next up for the Senior XV is a trip north of the border to Scotland to renew ties with the Glasgow Hawks who they last played in 2007.  The match will be played at the old Anniesland Ground at the High School of Glasgow, kick off 1930.  All spectators are welcome and entry is free with a charity collection in aid of the Craig Hodgkinson Trust and the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.

Team List: K Mason, Hughes, Robinson, Pascoe (c), O Mason, Fox, Taylor, Cooper, Moore, Loydall, Bowden, Davies, Myers, Welling, Humphrey. Replacements: Collins, Evans, Warner, Trehan, Rees, Dimmock-Williams, Stephen, Raumakita, Makepeace, Griggs, Chambers.

Images Royal Navy Rugby Union © John Walton