Navy Cup Final 2013 – Preview

The Navy Cup competition was first competed for back in 1972 when the former HMS Ark Royal became the only ship to ever win the Navy Cup. This year, the 42nd Royal Navy Rugby Cup final, will take place on Wednesday 4 December 2013 in Devonport, Plymouth. Due to strong support for the competition this year, it has also been possible to run a Plate competition concurrently.

The Plate Final this year will be a contest between the ‘Men of Devon’ from HMNB Devonport and the ‘Men of Air’ from Cornwall’s HMS Seahawk.  It is notable that the Plate Final this year is a repeat of last season's Navy Cup semi final; no doubt HMNB Devonport will be looking to avenge their previous 29-10 loss to HMS Seahawk. The historic Wardroom of HMS Drake will provide the backdrop for this match kicking off at 1400. It is expected to attracted large numbers of supporters from both HMS Drake and the dockyard lining the field of play.

HMNB Devonport narrowly lost their first round match to finalists 45 Commando 24-29. Next round of the competition found the ‘Men of Devon’ against HMS SCOTT, the only ship to successfully enter this year’s competition and play all their matches. HMS SCOTT demonstrated their total commitment to the competition but was unable to match the strength of the Naval Base. The Plate 1 semi final was a competition of North verses West as the two Naval Bases came together, HMNB Devonport took control of the match resulting in a win 34-6.

HMS Seahawk lost their first round to the other finalists Commando Logistics 8-15. The Cornwall team having gone to the Plate side of the competition found themselves against their fellow Air Station, HMS Heron. During this clash HMS Heron went under and out of the competition to the might of the Cornwall Air Station losing 7-40.

Having successfully won their first round, Commando Logistics went on to play HMS Collingwood, then through to play their local rivals Command Training Centre. After an evenly balanced match Commando Logistics crossed the white wash in the final minutes of the game resulting in a 10-7 win to Commando Logistics.

The top half of the competition saw 45 Commando win their first match against HMNB Devonport. The Arbroath side then travelled down to the West Country again for the second time within a short period, to take on HMS TRENCHANT, the only submarine to enter the competition this year. With HMS TRENCHANT winning their first match 70-3 the submariner’s confidence was soaring. Unfortunately the Arbroath machine trampled their confidence winning 63-3.

Therefore, challenging the title of Navy Cup champions this year will witness a turf war between 45 Commando and Commando Logistics.  This will be the first time in 25 years that a Navy cup final has produced two finalists from the Royal Marines commencing a battle on the field of play, although both finalists have previously won the competition; Commando Logistics in 1999 and 45 Commando in 1989.  The final will be played at the Rectory, home to Royal Navy West and Devonport Services RFC. Gates open at 1745 with kick off at 1900, admission is free with bar and refreshments facilities available. Please note access to parking facilities is very limited; see you there.

Images by Alligin Photography / © Geraint Ashton Jones