Fleet Air Arm back on top!
Fleet Air Arm
The teams from the Fleet Air Arm and Royal Navy Western Region met in the final of the 2017/18 Inverdale Challenge competition, playing at Burnaby Road, in front of John Inverdale, the son of the Surgeon Captain in whose memory the completion is named. Final score Fleet Air Arm 29 - RN West 7
Starting as they meant to go on the Fleet Air Arm team in green and blue opened the scoring in the first five minutes of the game. The ball was caught from the line out and a strong driving maul resulted in the ball being driven over the line, Royal Navy Rugby Union Senior XV team captain Ben Priddey, claiming the try. Greg Lloydall stepped up for the conversion to make the score 7 - 0 to the Fleet Air Arm.
The Aviators dominated the next 30 minutes but the RN West side defended hard. Over-powered in the scrum, they struggled to take the advantage and remained on the back foot throughout the first half. Lloydall added to his points total with a penalty kick and then another try, very similar to the first, was scored by No. 8 Beasley. With his third successful kick Lloydall ensured the Fleet Air Arm had a decisive lead, 17 - 0.
With ten minutes of the first half remaining the Fleet Air Arm scored their third try, another for Beasley, and with Lloydall's successful conversion the match seemed to be running away from RN West, 24 - 0. However with seconds remaining on the clock they were galvanised into action, the ball was passed swiftly between the players and the Western region team found themselves deep in Fleet Air Arm territory for the first time in the match. Winfield was rewarded with the try and the conversion, by fly-half Croft, put the team from the West Country back in the game as the half time whistle blew, 24 - 7.
RN West Team Manager POPT Kern made some changes at half time which included Royal Navy Rugby Union Senior XV prop, Kyle Mason. This went some way to addressing the over-match in the scrum and the RN West team were much more competitive in the second half; the running rugby was a pleasure to watch. However they still failed to break through the solid Fleet Air Arm defence. By the time the Senior XV capped players 'B' Buinimasi and Rhys Dimmock-Williams were called off the bench it was too late to change the tide of the game.
The only points of the second half were scored by Fleet Air Arm, taking their total to 29 - 7. And this is how the match ended.
The crowd watching included the Senior XV team management and coaching staff who were watching with interest, taking notes on the players ahead of the Senior XV training camp starting this week. There were several strong individual performances but on the night the best team won, led by Air Engineering Technician Chris Warner. He stepped up proudly to collect the trophy, presented by John Inverdale, RNRU trustee and son of the Surgeon Captain who the completion is played in memory of.
Fleet Air Arm
AET Love, LAET Olliffe, AET Warner, AET Makepeace, CPO Mortensen, LET Nichol, LPT Priddey, LAET Beasley, AET Oulten, AET Rutter, AET Clarke, AET Lloydall, AET Janes, AET Notman, LAET Chambers, AET Yeomans, LA Barnschone, AET Wilkinson, LAET Followel, LAET Saberton, AET Horton, AET McGinley, AET Campbell. Team Manager Lt Vance, Assistant Team Manager CPO Thompson
LH Marsh, Lt Gill, LH Winfield, SLt Holt, O/C Spencer, O/C Penderich, AB Bartlett, NA Moore, LH Croft, AB Kurusasa, SLt Burrows, LH Jones, WO2 McCrohan, Mid Hood, LA Mason, AB Grannum, SLt Bentley Mne Williams, PO Hillman, AB Davies, AB Buinimasi, AB Dimmock-Williams, LH Collins. Team Manager POPT Kern, POPT Sims
Images: Royal Navy Rugby Union © John Walton and Keith Woodland