HMS LANCASTER’s rugby team, the ‘Lancaster Lions’ kicked off their 06/07 deployment in style this week. The Lions, still roaring, after their successful tour on ‘Agapanthe 06’ went into their first game of the deployment with high expectations. That was until walking into the Club House in Barbados to discover that they were playing the National side! Not only that, they were playing the National Side that had recently had runs out against the USA and Canada whilst trying to qualify for the 07 World Cup. Club captain LOM ‘Max’ Boyce confidently led his side onto the field ready for play. The Barbadian team ran out wearing a strip donated to them by the Australian RFC as they had given the majority of their own shirts away during the World Cup qualifications. The first quarter saw Lancaster dominate whilst keeping the National side in their own half. Well worked play by scrum half OM ‘Chuck’ Berry took the Lions just metres from putting points on the board more than once. Berry, obviously benefiting from playing Navy U23’s, drew praise from the opposition for his diligent and constant work ethic. A handling mistake saw Barbados turn the ball over and score 2 tries in quick succession. At half time the score stood at 10 - 0 to the home side. A rousing team talk at half time by club captain and new cap Lt Cdr Mark Sheldon saw Lancaster take to the pitch for the second half a rejuvenated side. LPT ‘Stevie’ Homer used superior strength to put their flanker into touch, allowing SA ‘Ronnie’ Barker to engineer a superbly thrown line out to PO ‘Steve’ Kirkland. Quick hands fed this through to Sheldon, playing at No 8, who used his Combined Services experience to power over the line to put Lancaster on the score board. LOM ‘Max’ Boyce playing in the No 10 shirt for the first time also inherited the kicking ability that traditionally goes with that position and sent the ball wide of the posts. The Lion’s lost out on a massive weight advantage to the home side who used this to their advantage in the scrum to gain valuable ground. The final score stood at 20 - 5 and was most definitely a score that Lancaster could be proud of. The crowd of over 200 cheered appreciatively as both teams left the field. The Barbadian team picked OM ‘Chuck’ Berry as their MOM and team captain LOM ‘Max’ Boyce was picked as MOM by the Lions. The Lions sadly said goodbye to Lt Cdr Neil Marriott who has provided much needed speed on the flanks for the last 12 months and also to Lt Emma Garey who has been Club Sec for the last 18 months both are off to pastures new in the UK. The home team treated the visitors to a traditional rum and BBQ post match celebration that was appreciated by all present. Lancaster continues to grow and learn from her experiences, not many teams in the RN can say that they have run out against a National side!!!