A cracking night out - the second Royal Navy Rugby Union Annual Dinner and Ball

Royal Navy Rugby Union Director of Operations, Alan Church, with members of the Women's team
Royal Navy Rugby Union Mariners players and team manager at the Annual Dinner 2017
The guests enjoyed dinner in the splendid marquee at Fort Blockhouse
Royal Navy Rugby Union Chairman, Col Ewen Murchison welcomed guests
Royal Navy Rugby Union Director of Marketing, Mike Burningham, presented a thank you to Mick Hickman for ESS

The Royal Navy Rugby Union held their second Annual Dinner and Ball on 23 June 2017.  The event, now in its second year, was held at Fort Blockhouse and was attended by representatives from across all areas of the RNRU including the President Vice Admiral Ben Key, the Chairman Colonel Ewen Murchison, members of the Executive Committee, players, referees, coaches, officials, life members, supporters, sponsors, staff and volunteers.

The inaugural event, held in July 2016, was decided upon by the Executive Committee as a superb opportunity to bring together all of the diverse elements of the Royal Navy Rugby Union in one place, at a slightly quieter time in the Navy Rugby calendar, to reflect on the achievements of the season, to thank everyone for their participation and support, and to enjoy good food, good wine and good company!  Following on from the success of the inaugural dinner it was decided that it should become an annual event.

Fort Blockhouse is the ideal venue for the event.  Home of the Royal Navy Rugby Union Senior XV training camp that runs from February until May each year, the staff are very professional and make every effort to look after our individual requirements.  Formerly HMS Dolphin, once the home of the submarine school, situated on the waterfront, guests can see fantastic views of the harbour while they enjoy their canapés and prosecco on the terrace and be photographed with the Spinnaker Tower in the background.

Approximately 150 guests were welcomed by the Chairman, Colonel Ewen Murchison, before they sat down to a delicious five course meal.  Interspersed between the courses were some short speeches.  Vice Admiral Ben Key, in his new role as President of the Royal Navy Rugby Union, took a few moments to remind everyone what the RNRU meant to him, and how it facilitates the playing of rugby by sailors and Royal Marines all around the world.  Then the RNRU's most recently elected Life Member, former Chairman, Captain Chris Alcock RN (now retired) took to the floor to delight the audience with his spirited description of the recipient of the Chris Alcock trophy (details to follow).  The Director of Marketing, Mike Burningham, was the last to speak, taking the opportunity to present the attending sponsors with a token of our appreciation for their continued support - a replica centennial cap (which was presented to each of the Army and Navy players who played in the 100th Army v Navy match in April this year).

The evening continued into the early hours with dancing in the main marquee, while other guests reflected upon the highs and lows of the rugby season and began to make predictions for the year to come.

Images Royal Navy Rugby Union © Mark Giles