Godfathers hit back in North Dorset
North Dorset Sevens Competition
With the Sharks’ season now in full swing they travelled to North Dorset at the end of July as defending champions, with the aim to retain the trophy for a third year. Placed in a group with the Lonely Goats, the Toucans and the North Dorset All Stars this event was undoubtedly going to be a tough encounter for the Sharks.
The squad saw several changes since their last outing and first up in opposition were the Lonely Goats. After a slow start the Sharks found themselves behind 5-0, and with neither side making much progress, mistakes and good defence were the only chance of a turn over. The second half started much better for the Sharks with a score from the kick off from John Bola, with the Sharks taking the lead 7-5. Building on the momentum the Sharks scored another try, this time by Rhys Williams, to extend their lead 14-5. The Sharks kept up the pressure with Jack Power and Connor O’Connell but solid defence from the Lonely Goats prevented further scores so the game finished 14-5 to the Sharks.
After a short break the next opposition were the Toucans. The Sharks put together some excellent plays of the ball and got close to the Toucans try line however a mistake at the break down allowed a turn over ball which let the Toucans score first. From the restart the Toucans scored again before the Sharks were able to react. This was the shock that the Sharks needed, with responding tries from James Sutton and Luke Cooper before half time to finish 12-14. After a quick break the second half started as fast as the first, but both defences held firm until a long spell of possession from the Sharks allowed Rhys Williams to score the winner to finish the game 19-14.
The final game in the group stage was against the hosts’ select team - the North Dorset All Stars. The Sharks were using their squad to full effect and ensuring players had enough game time through the event, so a fresh Ben Jeacock was able to burst through and score under the posts, converting his own try. But the Sharks were unable to regain from the restart and the NDAS hit back with a converted try of their own to finish the half 7-7. The NDAS started as they finished with a unconverted try taking the lead 12-7. Again the Sharks responded to the pressure with tries from the team captain for the day, Seva Naulago, and Rhys Williams to finish the game victorious 12-19. They were placed top of their group, ready for the quarter final knockout stage of the event.
Their quarter final opponents were a tough Royal Logistic Corps side who had finished second in their group. The RLC started the strongest, exposing the Sharks through the midfield with some powerful running lines to score first 0-7. From the restart the RLC scored again but good defence from Gavin Elsam and Semi Tabanivesi ensured no further scores 0-12. With some rapid changes to the team, the Sharks managed to create space early in the second half for James Sutton to score, and the restart was collected in-flight and some quick play allowed Seta Raumakita to cross the line to level the score 12-12. The Sharks were now playing the better rugby and taking advantage of the tired legs of the RLC. Then Rhys Williams found himself on the end of another great attack and scored out wide to finish the game 19-12.
The semi-final saw the Sharks up against the Godfathers. With the Sharks full of confidence after their win over the RLC they started at a fast pace. A try from the off by Seta Raumakita was converted 7-0 and enabled the Sharks to settle. From the restart possession was regained by Tristan Trehan who shipped the ball wide and Luke Cooper found space to burst through and score to increase the lead to 14-0. Once again Trehan rose the highest and tapped the ball back for John Bola to collect before bursting up midfield. A neat pop pass to Ben Jeacock allowed him to score out wide and by half time the Sharks had an impressive 19-0 lead. The Sharks rotated the squad but after a dominant first half the second half was the toughest they had encountered. Determined to get back in the game the Godfathers scored from the kick off leaving the Sharks a little stunned, and from the restart they gathered and scored again 19-14. The Sharks struggled to respond to the energized Godfathers who were able to score out wide, levelling the scoreboard 19-19. With the clock counting down the Sharks attacked again but the half belonged to the Godfathers who were able to score a final time to win 24-19. They progressed to the final, but ended the competition as the runners up to the winners the Shredded Ducks!
The disappointment for the Sharks after a tough day of rugby at North Dorset RFC was clear, they had shown grit and determination to come back from behind in nearly every game but when they took the lead they were unable to close the game out and allowed the opposition back in. Despite this it was enjoyable day of rugby and the Sharks would like to thank all those players, family and friends who attended and cheered them on.
The next event for the Navy Sharks will be Abingdon 7s on the 13th August. The tournament starts at 11am at Abingdon RFC, Lambrick Way, Abingdon OX14 5TJ.
Seva Naulago (captain), Semi Tabanivesi, Conner O’Connell, Ben Jeacock, Jack Power, John Bola, Tristan Trehan, Gavin Elsam, James Sutton, Luke Cooper, Rhys Dimmock-Williams, Seta Raumakita.