Cole's Column

November has been an unusually busy month with fixtures as diverse as the Naval Air Command (NAC) and RN Ladies against the Maritime Atlantique to the Combined Services Annual Remembrance fixture against the Barbarians with the Command Championships sandwiched in between and then to end the month the U23s Inter-Services match against the Army . A thoroughly enjoyable day at RNAS Yeovilton saw the RN Ladies and NAC both victorious over our allies from northern Europe; and despite the biting cold and wind the general standard of play belied the conditions. The Combined Services fixture saw 6 of last years RN squad take the field during the 80 minutes under the Captaincy of Dave Pascoe (RFANSU). Josh Drauniniu (CTCRM) was again the stand out with 2 well taken tries; but all who played did credit to the jersey and those who have fallen in conflict. The Inter Command championships are now complete with the NAC again coming out top of the pile after finally wearing down the Royals in closely fought 18-11 victory at a typically sunny and warm Rectory in November. In the battle of the sea going commands Plymouth came out victorious over Portsmouth. The Championships have allowed the Senior XV selectors to gauge what unknown talent there is and pick a blend of this and experience to face the AA Wooden Spooners at Birkenhead Park on 5 Dec 07. The planned Ancient mariners and Ladies fixtures both unfortunately fell foul of mid November downpours. So to end on a twofold high note. On a blustery and cold November day the U23s came out victorious over the Army, 9-3, in the opening fixture of the Youth Inter-Services. All those who witnessed this victory cannot have been anything but impressed by the shear dogged determination of Doc Cox’s chosen 22. Despite immense Army pressure at times captain, Wayne John, continually extolled his charges to greater efforts. With the kicking of Wayne Duggan at 100% for the day the boys brought home the result. In the more balmier climes of Dubai (Hot – Ed!), the Sharks regained the trophy won in 2005 against Pyrenees in the final of the International Overseas element on the Dubai 7s. This was fitting finale to Coach Billy May’s tenure as coach before he embarks on HMS ILLUSTIOUS in the NewYear. So by the time the next column goes to print the Senior XV season will have gotten underway and fingers crossed the U23s will have won the Inter-Services, at RAF Halton, on 8 Dec and the Vets will have started their season in earnest.