Royal Marines Win the Akrotiri 10s Cup 2011

Arriving in Cyprus 5 days before the Akrotiri 10s started allowed the new and old members of the Royal Marines rugby team to acclimatisation. The first couple of days saw all 18 members getting to know each other and Akrotiri itself, with the characters highlighting themselves straight away.

Wednesday was the first morning of rugby training, and everyone finally found out how much you sweat with hard work for 2 hours. After training we where back onto team building at the water park, and after breaking nearly every rule on most slides you could see the team forming into a close body of men.  

Thursday started with a 2 hour training session and a lot more sweat, the afternoon took us to the beach on camp.  Whilst sat on the beach we could see HMS Albion, HMS Ocean and other Naval Ships just off the coast, typical Royal spotted a LCU off one of the ships anchored up roughly 700m away, and in true Bootneck tradition, proceeded to swim as a group in order to jump off said LCU.  To round off the day the team split down into forwards and backs for a gentle 1 hour training session.

Friday started with a good 2 hour training session and a competition which meant that the losing team would have to cook and serve a BBQ to the winners that night (it got very competitive). The rest of the day saw the Royal Marines Sunbathing team appear in numbers with the obligatory baby oil being passed around. 

Sunday evening was the Competition Meet and Greet at the Rugby Club, with the RM RFC arriving 30mins early to be first to take advantage of the hospitality.  

Monday was day 1 of the competition seeing the Royal Marines placed into a very tough Group against the Cyprus Barbarians, ‘Epi Eagles‘, Cyprus Joint Police Unit and REME UK.  The first game was against the Cyprus Barbarians, which was a game the lads had to wake up for and up their game against the cast of ‘300', all the tackles where hard and took the wind out of each recipient. Nonetheless, the superior fitness of the Royal Marines took over and led to a 19 - 7 win.  The second game that night was against the Epi Eagles which was a very hard fought game against team Fiji. The RM RFC looked tiny compared to the opposition but that didn't mean that we hit soft has the Eagles found out very quickly.  A tough game played by both teams with the RM winning 10 - 7.

Tuesday was set to be a decider in the group against REME UK and the RM fighting for top position, but firstly we had to take on the police and give them a lesson in trying to catch a Bootneck.  The game was a very one sided game with all the lads taking turns in scoring with the final score set at 53 - 9.  The final league game was one that we had to win against tournament favourites, a big crowd had turned up with 90% showing support for the Royal Marines.  It started slowly and then the tempo rose into a game of big hits and the Army turning dirty in every ruck. Nevertheless, Royal kept their discipline and run out to win by 20 - 5.

Thursday was the Qtr final day with the semi final to follow the same evening, the first team we had to meet was the Royal Marines Barbarians (Stonehouse) which made it a hard, fast and enjoyable game for the players and the crowd. Having beaten the RM Barbarians 17 - 0, the semi finals where against the 2 Yorks, the Army 7s champions, who had topped their group and were one of the pre tournament favourites for the Cup.  It was to be one of the hardest tackling games so far in the tournament with the Royal Marines skipper, LCpl Calum Macrae getting stretchered of with a nasty knee injury (he will be out for 6 months).  The players needed to up the tempo and play fast fancy rugby which in the end saw us win 10 - 5.  The final was set - Royal Marines RFC v REME UK.

Friday was Final Day with all players focused on the task ahead with a very calm and relaxed morning together outside the accommodation topping up the tan and reflecting on the past couple of days knowing that REME UK had a score to settle.  The afternoon was a light training session going through team tactics and moves, then a quiet 2 hours back at the accom. 1 1/2 hours before the game we got kitted up and you could feel the nerves build up within the squad as they pulled on their RM RFC shirts with pride with one more hurdle to negotiate.  Once at the stadium pitch, we warmed up on the far end of the pitch. Whilst walking there all the RAF, Bootnecks and the local crowd were cheering for the Royal Marines which helped build up the lads for the game. 

The time had come for kick off with a boosting team talk reminding the lads who and what they were playing for. RM RFC started the game off at a high tempo and were rewarded with a try within 3 mins by Mne Scott Llewellyn. The game was hard, fast and one of those that you didn't want to take your eyes off. As expected, REME (UK) came back at us and with 5 minutes to go we where down 12 - 7. Whilst there was a break in play for an injury Sgt ‘Taff' Williams ran on to give the lads a very calm morale boosting talk.  Play started up again which saw Mne Guy Glastonbury break on the outside and score a 15 metre individual try to level the scores at 12-12. That was the boost the team needed and 1 minute later saw Mne Setareki Raumakita score a hard earned try with the score now 17 - 12 to the Royal Marines. We couldn't take our minds off the game which saw us camped on our own 5 metre line, and with excellent committed defence we held off the REME (UK) until the final whistle. 

The members of the team who all need to bementioned are: 

WO2 ‘BD' Stevens, Sgt ‘Taff' Williams, Cpl Dom Maton, L/Cpl Calum Macrae (Team Captain), Mne Scott Llewellyn, Mne ‘Guy' Glastonbury (Man of the Match), Mne ‘Omah' Raumakita, Mne Will McClaren, Mne Josh Blackburn, Mne ‘Tich' Tichias, Mne ‘Do one' Du-oit, Mne ‘Arj' Keshavarz, Mne ‘Scran' Taylor, Mne Toby Hancock, Mne Kev Crump, Mne Tom Worboys, Mne ‘Gooders' Goodwin, Mne ‘Aggers' Agnew and CSgt ‘Daz' Davey.

We all know we are custodians of the Corps and these men have left their small part of the Corps legacy for others to follow, and these men achieved the ‘unachievable' and their collective aim was to win it for their mates serving abroad, a focus they never let slip.

We won more than a trophy on that final night; the proudest moment was seeing other sides from the RAF and Army with whom we have made lifelong friendships stream on to the pitch to mob the lads.  With very little experience and small in size but huge in stature we realised at that moment that these young men were not only the future of the RM RFC but of the Royal Marines.  They displayed all of the things we as a Royal Marines family hold dear displaying our ethos and beliefs in bucket loads - courage, unity, determination, fortitude and professional standards throughout our stay. The Royal Marines RFC are the current Inter Command Champions and had 7 players in this year's Army v Navy. All this as the vast majority of Bde were away or preparing for Op HERRICK 14, or deployed in the Med in anticipation of potential contingencies