The “Lancaster Lions” enjoyed their first victory of the deployment in their second match, this time against the French Combined Forces team in Martinique. Having given Lt Emma Garey RN, the Club Secretary, a rousing send off in St Thomas, the Lions geared themselves for their second game without their number one fan and cheerleader. The Team were playing at dawn to avoid the searing temperature in the Caribbean. Despite superior numbers and the French team being members of the local league team, Captain OM “Chuck” Berry led his team out undaunted. A number of tactical and positional changes had been made since the last game which saw the veteran Combined Services Flanker, Lt Cdr Mark Sheldon RN, playing at 10! This turned out to be an inspired decision by club manger PO George Logan as it allowed this “old head” time to control the game, although his kicking was a little rusty! The first quarter was utterly dominated by the Lions tight five with some strong work in the set piece from the front row PO George Greening, POSTD “Smokey” Coles and LET (ME) “Shep” Woollard. This enabled the Lions’ backs plenty of space and ball; an incisive run from ET (ME) Jules Farebrother strongly supported by WO2 Mick Hawkes saw the Lions earn a penalty close to the line. Berry, playing with his usual verve, tapped quickly and fed Sheldon who crashed through two players to touch down: 5-0 Lions! It all seemed too easy and it was no surprise to see the French come storming back to try to control the game. The Lions were on the back foot but once again some fierce forward defence from LPT Steve Homer and Lt Matt Longman RN kept the French at bay. Despite a valiant effort from numbers1 to 15, some clever footwork and quick passing in the French backline saw them even the score: 5-5. From the kick off the French countered again and once more the Lions were in a corner, only some desperate tackling and a sound set piece play kept them out. The Lions continued fighting and a strong run from “Man of the Match” Jules Farebrother saw the team penetrate deep into the French half; however the ball was turned over and the clearance kick saw LET (ME) Kris Sabin pick it up and get slammed by the French forwards. The ball was lost and the Lions were again on the back foot. Only a frantic act resulting in a penalty stopped the French from scoring. The Lions repelled three forward surges, but finally the mighty wall was breeched after another quick penalty. The try was converted resulting in a score line of: 12-5. Half time came and a few changes were made, the Lions became a truly Barbarian side as we fielded some colleagues from the US coastguard. The “man mountain” “Troy” from our embarked LEDET and Scott and Jeff from the US Cutter “Dallas” that was also in Martinique stepped onto the pitch. With the second half underway the French continued as they had left off with some incisive attacking play, but the Lions again put up a stern defence and held fast against a determined side. Eventually the Lions tight five regained control and some slick back work saw Sabin dash for the corner, only to be pulled down with a shocking high tackle. The ensuing penalty was taken quickly by Berry and, with a miss pass to Sheldon, the fly half crashed over the line to score a second try: 10 -12. With the clock running down and the Lions dominating, the French were struggling to hold on and continued to show ill discipline. After yet another penalty, the experience of Sheldon came to the fore electing to kick for goal instead of running at the strong French defence. With a large slice of luck, his “Jonny Wilkinson style” attempt hit one post, then the other and went over: 13-12! With only 2 minutes to play the French mounted their final onslaught, but the Lions held their composure for a well deserved victory. More photopgraphs in Gallery