HMS Ocean v Dubai Hurricanes

This was Ocean RFC’s second game of their ‘tour’ of the Gulf, and many players wanted to put in a solid performance to secure a place in the side. With the Ship’s Christmas party the day before and many of the Ship’s Company just starting their operational stand down, spirits were high. The team were ready, many of the Ship’s Company had come along to enjoy the game from the open bar, the transport was on time and all the kit had been remembered, what could go wrong…

As the sun set over Sevens Stadium, at the time of kick-off, the referee informed Ocean that the Hurricanes only had eight players turn up.  Not the start Ocean had hoped for but in great rugby sprit we agreed to give the Hurricanes the whole of the Ocean bench and play a game of 10s for two 30 minute periods, as most players would say “Let’s have a run out, and make a game of it”.

Ocean was in charge from the kick off, drawing in men from the mixed Hurricanes side with their strong running lines and off loads before the ball was going to ground.  It wasn’t long before Corporal “Shrimp” Haywood went over for the first of his five tries that night and followed up with the first of three conversions.  More great play from the Ocean side led to two more tries in quick succession, from Marine Joe Staniforth and Leading Airman “Cinders” Ellor, who also converted from under the posts.  The scoreline stood in Ocean’s favour 0- 19.

With the game being played at a high tempo and over ten men on each side, the referee was happy that rolling subs could be used, which both sides agreed to.  No one welcomed this more than Ocean’s substitute scrum half Naval Airman Jack Standish who, with his first play of the game, picked up from the base of a Hurricanes’ scrum that Ocean had won.  After side stepping the Hurricanes’ fly-half and then the full back he still had enough gas in the tank to run in from sixty metres out and successfully slot the conversion too, extending Ocean’s lead 0-26.

Another try for Shrimp soon followed and the game was all but won, however Ocean RFC didn’t have it all their own way.  The Hurricanes never gave up and had some very close chances of their own.  Just before half time the Hurricanes’ scrum half spotted a gap in Ocean’s back line and went in under the posts from Ocean’s 22 metre line, but missed the kick.  The half time score was Hurricanes 5 – Ocean 31.

In the second half Ocean swapped all the players that had volunteered to play for the Hurricanes in the first half, for most of Ocean’s starting line up from the first half, which proved to even things up a little more.  However no one on the pitch had the speed to match Shrimp and, in a repeat of the first half, he opened the scoring in the second.  After catching the kick off in the centre of Ocean’s 22 line, he ran through every player on the pitch untouched to further open up the lead Ocean had, again making the easy conversion. Hurricanes 5 – Ocean 38.

Another two Shrimp tries and one conversion followed shortly afterwards and the speedy winger took his leave from the field for Ocean and joined the Hurricanes’ bench.  With Ocean’s “go to” man off the field the naval side took a small dip in form, and Hurricanes used this spell well.  With some great running rugby the side tore through Ocean’s back line and after showing some great hand work themselves and a monstrous hand off from Marine Ian Roberts on Petty Officer “Bill” Baillie, (who is hasn’t got back up yet) the strong marine went over for the Hurricanes. 10 – 50.

This seemed to be the start of the come back for the Hurricanes and it wasn’t long before they got another try, again coming from some hot handling, with the Hurricanes’ wing touching down in the corner, yet the Hurricanes still couldn’t find the inside of the posts with the conversion. 15 – 50. Ocean regrouped after this short spell from the Hurricanes and found they still had pace on their wings.  This time Leading Airman Tom Scott darted down in the corner, 15-55.  The final Ocean try came from Leading Airman “Barny” Barnaschone who went over from close range, his kick is still being looked at by the TMO but the referee judged not. 15 - 60.

With the final play of the game the Hurricanes wanted one more try and pushed Ocean’s defence very hard in search of it however, in what looked to be a strong build up, in their final push for the line the Hurricanes’ scrum-half took a strong tackle which resulted in a possible broken ankle and the game ended there.  The final score was Dubai Hurricanes 15 – HMS Ocean RFC 60.

Man of the match was Marine “Shrimp” Haywood.

HMS Ocean would like to thank the Dubai Hurricanes for the very warm welcome and wish a speedy recovery to their injured player.

Ocean’s Director of Rugby  “Barny” had this to say, “It was a shame that we didn’t get to play their full team today, as it could have been a great game to watch, but for us (Ocean) it just proves we can still enjoy a game, and put in a good team performance wherever we go.”

Ocean’s Team Captain Marcus Christian said “It was a good chance to see a few lesser known players on the pitch and develop Ocean’s team further”

Team; Mason, Barnaschone, Baillie, Ellor, Staniforth, Cristains, Curtis, Coughlin, Haywood, Barker.
Subs; Barlow, Jones, Lawrence, Scott, Standish, Waters, Sperry, Argent, Roberts, Reed.

Words by Cinders Ellor.