Dreadful conditions led to disappointing result at Grange Road
RN Senior XV
The Royal Navy Rugby Union Senior XV travelled to Cambridge University RUFC on a dreary February day. While most sensible people stayed indoors the Senior XV took about 6 hours to travel the 150 miles round the M25. The match kicked off late and in just over an hour the referee blew his whistle - the final score was 0 - 0.
Despite the delay in their arrival, the Royal Navy Senior XV were up for the challenge. This was their second fixture of the season; in contrast for their opponents it was the final match of the season. The Cambridge squad included 11 'Blues' players. Ringing the changes, Marine Pat Coy started as full back in place of Jon Humphrey with Air Engineering Technician Oulton at scrum-half.
It was clear from the outset that the weather conditions were going to have a big impact on the game. The rain was lashing down and although the pitch looked pretty green at the start of the match it wasn't long before it looked more like a mud bath.
Cambridge started the first half stronger, with the majority of the possession, keeping the Navy penned into their own half. A series of attacking plays by the home side put the Navy defence to the test - but it wasn't found wanting. The Cambridge players couldn't break through. Then a loose ball was kicked by Cambridge and made it within 5 metres of the Navy try line but fortunately the Navy players were quickly on top of it, spoiling Cambridge's chances of an early score.
Then it was the turn of the Royal Navy, working through the phases and over the half way line into the Cambridge territory. Several attacks were repelled by the Cambridge defence then Nathan Huntley managed to break through and touch down. However the try was disallowed, the referee ruling that the ball had been knocked on in the melee! Several more attacking moves followed but try as they might, the Royal Navy could not turn the attacks into points. As the half time whistle blew the scoreboard remained 0 - 0.
The Cambridge side returned after the break in a change of shirt, their light blue hoops consigned to the washing machine to be replaced by a claret shirt. From the start the Navy side began to dominate play; definitely having the edge in the scrum and with some great runs, despite the mud, from the likes of Seta Raumakita, Jarrad Hayler and David Fairbrother. The Navy crossed the Cambridge try line a couple of times, but again the referee ruled 'no try'. And it wasn't long before the referee got the two captains together and questioned them about the feasibility of continuing the game. Having travelled so far the Navy side were detrmined to continue and faced up ready for the restart. Cambridge complied but after a few more minutes play, and still no score, the referee blew his whistle for the final time. Sixty three minutes of hard rugby had been played, with some nice set pieces and plenty of determination on display from both sides however there was no beating the weather on this occasion.
For their next outing the Royal Navy Senior XV will travel to Esher RFC on 28 February, kick off 1945. Entry is free and all are welcome.
Team list: 1. K Mason, 2. B Priddey, 3. C Warner, 4. E Pascoe, 5. S Makepeace, 6. R Vakalutukali, 7. J Hayler, 8. D Fairbrother, 9. J Oulton, 10. N Huntley, 11. R Kurusasa, 12. G Loydall, 13. S Raumakita, 14. T Notman, 15. P Coy Replacements 16. H Marsh, 17. K Beasley, 18. C Frogley, 19. J Cheshire, 20. M Harvey, 21. C Moore, 22. M Warrick, 23. J Basher, 24. B Janes, 25. R Dimmock-Williams
Images: Royal Navy Rugby Union © John Walton