Gibraltar Baa Baa's v HMS Bulwark


HMS Bulwark RFC


Gibraltar Baa Baa's

On a hot sunny day in the Med under the shadow of the Rock a match between Gib Baa Baa’s and HMS Bulwark was played out at Devil’s Tower Camp pitch. Due to this being an all-weather pitch and a (dare I say it) football one at that, it was decided not to have conversions. With the delights of Gib and with a 1900 KO, unfortunately Bulwark went with a much reduced squad. This was meant to be the Baa Baa’s first training session with many senior players sidelined due to the forthcoming RM350 match in late September. They only had a bare 15 to start using Lt Cdr “Larry” Holmes (SNR WE) so it was agreed to play a 60 min match in 4 quarters with uncontested scrums.
1st Q.
Bulwark kicked off and despite having only played once in the previous 5 months immediately began to put pressure on the Gib line. Bulwark obviously settled quickly and the ball was driven aggressively forward by the pack with pick and go’s from the base of the rucks once space had been created out wide with the out of practice Gib team being sucked in. LSC “Mr B” Bainitabua forced his way over in the first few minutes to score a try(0-5). Gib kicked off straight to Mne “Atu” Kavula who drove hard down the left wing and with the Gib defence not in place, the ball was spun across field to a grateful Cpl “Clarky” Clark who ran in another score (0-10). Gib again restarted and managed to turn over the ball and started about their own game working up the field however basic handling errors let them down from the scrum and the ball was moved up field by ET (ME) “Jay” Samuel and onto the support play of ET (ME) “Itchy” Ball who crashed over to score (0-15). Again the KO from Gib and using the greater power in the forwards, the ball was moved back up field at close quarters with pick and drives from the base of rucks and mauls, LET (ME) “Stan” Matthews scored and the quarter was over (0-20).
2nd Q.
With Lt Cdr “Larry” Holmes having a chance to wear the Bulwark jersey, LET (ME) “Stan” Matthews stepped across to keep the numbers even.  Bulwark kicked off and used the backs to the get the ball up field with a cheeky chip and chase being cleared by the Baa Baa’s full back to the 10m line inside the Bulwark half. Quick thinking by LET (ME) Taff Arndell (in his last match in the RN) threw the ball in quickly to ET (WE ) Mike Myers.  With the defence in sixes and sevens, the broken field play suited the Bulwark backs who returned the ball creating a score for ET (WE) “Savs” Savage in the far left corner (0-25). The pattern was repeated again and again throughout the rest of the first half with scores by C/SGT “Coombsy” Coombes, LET (ME) “Why” Evans, Mne “Atu” Kevula and POET (ME) “Spewy” Hewins (0-45). Throughout the half Gib never gave up still trying to get there game going and use the time on the pitch.
2nd Half (3rd Q).
With another Baa Baa player down due to injury, CMEM(M) Bruce Walmsley again came out of retirement to play for them.  The Baa Baa’s were looking to cut down the mistakes and to stop kicking possession away to the better Bulwark backs; this slowed the tide of try’s down but could not cut them off. More scores came through better handling and support play to CPL “Fordy” Ford, Mne “Mitch” Young, ET (ME) “Jay” Samuel and ET (WE) “Mike” Myers (0-65), despite the one-way traffic the Baa Baa’s heads never went down and they continued to try to get the score that their attacking play deserved.
4th Q
C/SGT “Coombsy” Coombes stepped across to the tiring Gib side to allow ET (ME) “Burt” Weedon his first appearance on a rugby field the flow of try’s started to dry up as the Bulwark side slowed due to the unaccustomed heat and speed of the play.  Gib now started to make there presence felt and did threaten the Bulwark line on a number of occasions but stubborn defence kept them out and Bulwark still managed a try by ET (ME) “Jan” Jones.  LET (ME) “Taff” Arndell selflessly gifted one to ET (ME) “Burt” Weedon after doing all the hard work and just needed to dot the ball down; not a bad start to Burt’s rugby career in the service. The final whistle came not soon enough for the Gib side and a social was had in the NAAFI bar and Nelsonss in Casement square with Gib promising a better challenge on the return leg of the deployment.

This match is part of the ‘You Play We Pay’ initiative.