Navy Sharks make first appearance on 7s circuit this season

The Navy Sharks made their first appearance this season at the West Country 7s at Keynsham RFC. They were entered in the Men's Open and the draw put them in the same group as the RAF ‘Spitfires.'

Their first  match was against ‘Classroom Crusaders' and they had a convincing win by 50 points to 0. The Sharks were straight into the game from the kick off, with LPT Gareth Cadmore (HMS Raleigh) making the first break, followed by good inter-play that resulted in the first try scored by AET Gareth Jones (RNAS Yeovilton). This opening score gave the Sharks the confidence to play some good 7s rugby with superb breaks from skipper NA(AH) Ben Priddey (RNAS Culdrose), LOGS ‘B' Buinimasi (RNAS Culdrose) and Marine Johnny Stephen (CTCRM), resulting in further tries. Their strength, fitness and guile paid off in the second half against a tiring opposition, and the Sharks further increased their lead to run out confident winners.

The second match was a much closer affair, with the RAF defending well, showing good pace and awareness.  Johnny Stephen opened the scoring with a runaway try, beating 2 RAF defenders on the way. The Sharks scored again soon after, but came under continued pressure from a well-organised light blue defence. Not giving in at all, the Spitfires were strong at the breakdown and turned over Sharks' ball to score a well-deserved try. But the Sharks had the last word in the first half with a try by Marine Owen Glastonbury (45 Cdo RM). The Spitfires took the game to the Sharks in the second half and scored 2 well-worked tries that put the Navy team under pressure. An impressive 80 metre break from Owen Glastonbury provided a convincing response and he fed the ball to his brother Marine Guy Glastonbury (RMCDT) who scored between the posts. The Sharks then scored another 2 tries to secure a well-deserved victory by 35 points to 19; as winners of their  group they earned a place in the quarter finals of the Cup.

The Sharks went into their quarter final cup clash against ‘Black Stallions' with confidence resulting  from good performances in their pool games. From the kick off they attacked their opponents who were big and powerful. However, the Sharks were turned over and quick ball saw the Stallions score. This was a sign of things to come and the rest of the half saw the Sharks struggle for continuity, with mistakes leading to 2 further tries for the Stallions. The second half kicked off and the Sharks looked a different side as they attacked well against tiring opposition who slowed the game down at every opportunity. AET Jon Humphries (848 NAS) found some space in midfield and the Navy speedster ran in from the halfway line. The Sharks continued to pressurise and a lovely late switch pass saw SLt Niall Copeland (MWS Collingwood) score between the posts. Again the Sharks attacked but one more mistake saw a breakaway try for the Stallions to finish the game.

Sharks coach POAET Owen Salmon (CHF) was satisfied with the tournament display 'this was an encouraging start as it's our first tournament of the year', he said, ‘it's always difficult to integrate guys who've never played 7s before so there's still work to do. They must realise that, in this game,  if mistakes are made then it usually results in points being conceded.'

Sharks: Mne Johnny Stephen (CTCRM); LOGS ‘B' Buinimasi (RNAS Culdrose); Mne Owen Glastonbury (45 Cdo RM); AET Gareth Jones (RNAS Yeovilton); NA(AH) Ben Priddey (Capt) (RNAS Culdrose); AET Aran Benton (857 NAS); SLt Niall Copeland (MWS Collingwood); SLt Ed Gaught (HMS Sultan); LPT Gareth Cadmore (HMS Raleigh); AET Jon Humphries (848 NAS); Mne Guy Glastonbury (RMCDT).

Coach: POAET Owen Slamon (CHF). Team Manager: CSgt Jan Hicklin (CTCRM).

The Navy Sharks will be in action again on Sat 3 Jul in Manchester.