Army v Navy 2013

Rain held off on a cold morning at Kneller Hall for the annual RN Women and RN Mariners matches against the Army Women and Army Masters respectively on Saturday 27 Apr 13. 

During the course of the first half, the RN W kept the pressure on against a strong Army W team maintaining a strong defence.  Performing well in the scrum, the RN W kept the Army W back in their 22 for much of the first half, but despite this, Cpl Amy Robinson (AGC) managed to break through resulting in a try for the Army early in the first half.  The RN W fought back gaining a penalty and a try from a scrum within the Army 22 thanks to LAET Pam Williams (702 NAS) which brought them level with Army W after 40 mins.  Army W achieved a further try after a breakaway run resulting in a 5-10 score at half time.  Army W continued to push hard at the beginning of the second half and very quickly took control of the pitch.  A late try by LLogs Helen Ing (HMS Nelson), converted by AB Sam Alderson (HMS SCOTT)  gave the RN W their second try of the match; the first time that the RN W have scored twice against the Army W at Kneller Hall.  Despite a continued strong defence by the RN W, the Army W managed to break through the back row eventually winning the match with a final score of 54-12. 

On completion of the match, the Roger Sherratt Trophy was awarded to Lt Charlotte Fredrickson (COMUKTG), as the most valuable player of the season. This match was Charlie's last as Team Captain. Two ladies were also awarded their first caps; NA(AH) Caroline Penrose (RNAS Culdrose) and Lt Caroline Oakes (854 NAS).  Congratulations to all.

Meanwhile on the adjacent pitch, the RN Mariners were also putting up a strong defence against the Army Masters. After a missed Army M penalty 20 mins into the first half, some good attacking play by the Army M resulted in the first try of the Veterans match giving the Army a 5-0 lead.  A fast run down the right wing saw a 2nd try by Army M resulting in a half time lead of 10-0 to Army.  Within 10 mins of second half, RN M quickly took control of play with AB Manoa Satala (RM Poole) scoring a try and conversion bringing the score to 7-10.  Army M pushed hard on the Mariners line, but a good defence prevented the Army from scoring another try, despite the RN M being down to 13 men.  Unfortunately with fewer men and the Army maintaining continued pressure, they eventually scored a third try to bring the score to 7-15.  Last try of the game, including a conversion, brought the final score to 7-22 with an Army Masters win. 

With bright sunshine, and in front of the highest recorded crowd for an amateur fixture at Twickenham, some 72,000 spectators watched the RN Senior XV come out fighting against the Army.  With a strong team quickly making its mark, some great work by the RN backs allowed Mne Jon Marlin (42 Cdo) to make a good line break against Army defence and give ET(ME) Dale Sleeman (HMS Raleigh) the opportunity to achieve the first try of the match after only 8 mins.  Within a further 5 minutes, a strong drive from the Navy lineout led to Sgt Gaz Evans (HMS President) scoring the second try of the match; converted by POAET (Dave) Pascoe (RNAS Culdrose) (who earned his 30th cap for the match) gave the RN a 12-0 lead.  An Army scrum pressured by the Navy back row, led to a box kick from Pascoe, followed up by Mne Jack Foster (40 Cdo) driving the Army into touch, giving the RN a lineout on the Army 10m line. Some fabulous rugby followed resulting in a second try for Sleeman after some fantastic team work by his centre partner Mne Matt Tichias (42 Cdo) giving the RN a 19-0 lead after only 18 mins.  Initially slow to respond, the Army started to gain ground maintaining constant pressure on RN 5 m line. By half time, the Army had equalized to 19 all. 

The second half saw valiant play on both sides, but the Army maintained the advantage; an RN penalty for offside gave the Army the opportunity to take the lead for the first time in the game; after 50 mins the Army took the lead 22-19.  The Army maintain both the pressure and the pace for the rest of the second half, giving LBdr Sam Speight the opportunity for another try as the game entered the last quarter; Army lead 29-19.  From a pile-up on the Navy line, the Army burrowed underneath to score, taking the score to 36-19 with 12 mins of play left.  The Army managed one more try and conversion before some cracking play by the Navy set Foster up to score the last try of the match, converted by Pascoe in the final minutes of the game, to give a final score of 43-26 to the Army. 

The Chairman of the RFU commented that it had been a thrilling match, fantastic crowd and only one streaker at half time (which apparently didn't count), so overall a great day.  The Babcock 'Man of the Match' trophy was awarded to Army SSgt Darren Ball.

The RNRU Award for Proud Heritage Exciting Future 2013 was awarded to Mne Josh Terry (RM Poole) as breakthrough player of the year, whilst the Cossack Sword, which is awarded at the end of each season for Ground Gained/Held (voted as the players player) was present to Mne Dom Taylor (42 Cdo RM) for 2013.  Well done Josh and Dom.