What started out as a bet between PO(AWW) Guest and LS(CIS) Moore over a number of beers in the Cape Verde Islands became a reality, when on Thu 19 March 09, 40 sailors from HMS MANCHESTER came together to play a charity Rugby Match in front of over 150 spectators from the Ship’s Company. The game was played to raise money for the Ship’s affiliated charities, St Ann’s Hospice and Redwood Park School. With a ‘three line whip’ for those not on watch as spectators, sponsoring took place for each player and betting was organised on the first try, Man of the Match, first sin bin and first red card. Luckily, for the referee, LPT Lou Clarke, the cards stayed in her pocket; just about!!! The two 20 man squads were split down the line of Over or Under 35 years old and the game was split into four 15 minute quarters to allow some of the older players time to re-group! The match served to fulfil 2 important aims. Firstly, to raise a significant amount of money for the Ship’s Charity – St Ann’s Hospice; a Manchester based charity established to assist with the care of terminally ill patients, and Redwood Park; a school which caters for a cross section of pupils from those with learning difficulties, including Downs Syndrome, Chromosome disorders right through to behavioural problems. Secondly, the match provided an opportunity for the Ship’s Company to pay their condolences to Logs Luisiano Varea. He flew back to Fiji three days before the match, following the sudden death of his 2 year old daughter. A 2 minute silence was held before the game to pay respect to Luisiano and his family at this extremely difficult time. It was decided that the money raised from the kind donation of 4 Sale Sharks ‘executive day out’ tickets from the Commercial Team at Sale Sharks, would be allocated to a charity of Logs Varea’s choice. The match was doomed to end in injury from the first whistle with arms and legs flying in every direction, closely followed by elbows, head butts and the occasional fist! There is no rank on the Rugby Field! The first blood injury came after about 9 minutes; which surprised the crowd, who had hoped it would have been sooner! It was a bloody and fierce battle, and to top things off, it was LPT Lou Clarke’s first official game as a newly qualified referee; and quite possibly her last! The score at half-time was 5-5. The final 20 minutes brought the games only serious injury, when CPO (M) Brian Scullion was trapped at the bottom of a maul. He was helped off the pitch by the Ship’s Medical Team to a rapturous round of applause and although in considerable pain he showed true grit and determination to make it to the bar later in the evening! With time running out the Under 35s needed to get a try to level the game however the old sea dogs kept the young guns at bay with the game finishing 10-5 to the Over 35s. The game was followed by a whole ship prize giving ceremony with Leading Seaman ‘Pony’ Moore being awarded the accolade of Man of the Match. Food and beer finished off a fun day for the Ships’ Company, and was a great celebration to end such an occasion for HMS MANCHESTER’S Rugby Team. In all, the event rose over £1400 for the Ship’s charities and the 4 Sale Sharks executive day out tickets raised £600.00. Team line up – OVER’S - PO GUEST (C), CPO CULLEN, WO PARRY, CPO WORTLEY, PO WEBSTER, CPO JACQUES, CPO ROBERTS, CPO SCULLION, ET MULAULAU, PO MORGAN, LWEM BLOXHAM, WO2 LEEMING, CPO PATERSON, CPO FOWLER, CPO TULLET, LT CDR RICHARDS, LLOGS WESTON, CPO THOMAS, LET HUTCHINSON, PO DAVID. UNDER’S - LET HORNCASTLE, AB MOFFATT, LET HARRISON, LOGS ROBERTS, LT THOMSON, ET RICHARDS, LET PAXTON, LET HOPKINS, LT JACKSON, LS MOORE (C), LS KILGOUR, AB MOSSOP, ET AHTACK, AB SMITH H.A, LT ELDRIDGE, AB LOVICK, ET BRADLEY, LT BARHAM, LET WILSON, LET CHAPMAN, LAET LAMB, LS HUGHES. Report by LPT Lou Clarke, Coach and Referee for MANCHESTER’S RUGBY TEAM