Bahrain too hot for Manchester

by LPT Lou Clarke, HMS Manchester Bahrain RFC 30 - HMS Manchester 10 HMS Manchester arrived in Bahrain on the 17th Dec 07 for an operational stand down pre Christmas. The rugby team was offered a game against Bahrain RFC on the 21st Dec, so off we went with a team strength of 30 players all ready for a tough game. As we have only played two games since reforming Sep 07, enthusiasm was high, but cohesiveness cetainly fell into the 'developing' category. Manchester kicked off the game and attacked from the whistle, causing Bahrain to give away a penalty to which LS(CIS) Pony Moore sent a long kick up field into touch inside Bahrain's 22. This resulted in a lineout which fell to the hands of POET (ME) Spud Whittaker, this prompted a bombastic drive from LET (WE) Horny Horncastle and PO (AWW) Stu Guest, enabling Manchester to gain a further 5m before sending the ball out and down the line allowing the backs to utilise one of the many moves practised prior to the game, resulting in a try by Pony Moore who then went on and converted the try. Having scored first, the team was buoyed up by success, however this early pressure fired up Bahrain who quickly realised we had not turned up for a practice, and they responded by upping their tempo by a huge margin. The effect was that we found ourselves on the back foot and had to defend our line for most of the 1st half . Manchester started the 2nd half with just as much grit and enthusiasm as the first half, with some big hits from POET(ME) Yappie Yapp, enabling ET(ME) Zak Maulaumalua at No9 to spin the ball out wide to LOGS 'twinkle toes' Lucy Varea to try and work his magic. However, Manchester could not break through the home side's defence, and we were severely punished after a few missed tackles and some slick moves from Bahrain's well drilled three quarter line. Both sides were trading some hard tackling, one receipient of note was WO2WEA Jan Leeming, who found himeslf eating dust and getting tackled by Bahrain's honourary member and outside centre............Gemma, a student from England, currently taking a break in the U.A .E; she apparently used him as a good opportunity for tackle practise!!! The game was played in a very good, competitive spirit, and with Gemma on the field for Bahrain, we were able to play our own ladies Combined Service's player LPT Lou Clarke, our Club Swinger. The Medical Officer advised that only 5 minutes would be suitable, but due to Clubz's poor time keeping (no change there !), she managed to stay on for 20 minutes. In a sporting gesture, Bahrain played Gemma opposite Clubz at inside centre. All in all it was an excellent effort from all that played, we arrived with a big, enthusiastic squad and were able to field lots of changes, which was good for the individuals but slightly hindered our ability to gain some momentum. Nevertheless, it was great to have so many people turning up and the result didn't matter (too much !), even if the score didn't really reflect the game. Our Man of the Match was POET(ME) Cuz Cullen, who had an exceptional game at hooker and WO2WEA Jan Leeming won a brand new award for "Ex Fieldgunner tackled by a girl award" ! Earlier on their deployment HMS Manchester had beaten the American Eagles (NAS Sigonella) 36 - 14