Dominant East sink West
They say forwards decide who wins and backs by how many. The RN East pack were not only dominant in the tight, they scored their fair share of tries in a convincing victory over the RN West at the Rectory.
The unofficial man of the match, RN East’s No8 AB (HM) John Kirwin, went over for a couple of tries as did 2 of their front row. The heavy weather played its part and both sides could have scored more points if handling errors had not been such a feature throughout the match. The early exchanges saw both teams with scoring opportunities however, it was RN East that capitalised on a mistake when RN West kicked a penalty long and the subsequent quick drop out, regain and attack resulted in the opening try by Kirwin. The try was converted by ET(ME) Griggs, who had almost a perfect evening, only missing one attempt at goal all night, many from wide out, a great display on a heavy pitch. RN East dominated both possession and territory in the second quarter, often pushing the RN West several metres scrum after scrum but failed to capitalise on this dominance, with Lt Josh James and ET(ME) Richard Ives enjoying their front row dominance. Three tries in fairly quick succession saw RN East turn around at 0-26, surprisingly none were from push over scrums, but quick play and exploiting the gaps that were now appearing in an already tiring RN West defence. The second half started brightly by RN East with 2 tries in the first 5 minutes, however, the RN West team rallied and despite spending long periods under pressure did not lack ambition. Led by AB Rhys Dimmock-Williams, they played their part in an entertaining match. Their endeavours were rewarded by a try after a protracted period of possession and continuity when AB Parker went over in the corner half way through the second half. Not surprisingly, RN East finished the stronger and ran in a couple more tries, the last being just before the final whistle. Griggs’ excellent kicking continued and the final score, 7-54, reflected the forward dominance, territorial superiority and pressure applied by an RN East team that will be hoping scores go their way in the final round so they have the opportunity to play in the final at the end of January.
The results so far have the Royal Marines re-asserting their dominance in the Inverdale Challenge after missing out on the final last year. With three wins from three matches already under their belts they are guaranteed a place in the final, whatever the result in the final round of matches. RN East have played all four of their matches, winning two and losing two but with a points score of 11 they will be closely watching how the RN North v Fleet Air Arm match plays out. If the Fleet Air Arm win then RN East will be through to the final. If RN North win then it will all depend on the points difference. So if you are in Faslane or Lympstone be sure to come along to see the final round play out on Wednesday 16 January.
Words by: Andy Kellett
Images: Royal Navy Rugby Union © Mark Andrews