Corps Birthday Hangover
Naval Air Command
Fleet Air Arm v Royal Marines
During a week where the Royal Marines 350th birthday celebrations have rightly taken pride of place, the Fleet Air Arm showed them scant regard as they opened their 2014 Inverdale Challenge campaign with a convincing win. The Royal Marines could not cope with the intensity of the Fleet Air Arm forward play as they laid down the gauntlet for this season’s competition with a statement that last year’s lacklustre showing is firmly confined to the history books.
Leading by example was the Navy’s most experienced lock forward, Marsh Cormack. Clearly stung by the articles trumpeting the success of the new kids on the block Marsh gave an old school performance, supreme in the lineout, rock solid in the scrum and as abrasive as ever in the maul. It was from the Fleet Air Arm’s mauling game that Marsh bagged a brace of tries. He was matched by ‘Sumo’ Thompson, another player who rampaged through the Royal Marines forwards and also found the way to the goal line, twice, through the dominant Fleet Air Arm maul.
The other two FAA tries came from Stan Mortensen and veteran wing Andy Vance as the home side racked up 40 points and perhaps it should have been more. Using the elements in the first half they reached the break with a comfortable lead 19 – 3. However as if often the case the break broke their rhythm. The second half was a much tighter affair and though the Fleet Air Arm will have been pleased with their further three tries they will have been annoyed to allow a rejuvenated Royal Marines side to cross for three of their own. Perhaps it took the Corps 40 minutes to clear their heads of the birthday celebrations.
A final score of 40-21 did not flatter the Fleet Air Arm but their experiences of last year will ensure they do not rest on their laurels as they look to build on this opening performance. Next up is a trip to Plymouth to play RN West before a December trip to Scotland. If they keep up the level of performance they showed today they will have every chance of once more competing in the final come then end of January.
Library Images by Alligin Photography / © Geraint Ashton Jones and © John Walton