History Made, But This is Just the Beginning
"This is Just the Beginning" said Royal Navy Senior Women's Captain Rose Dixon as she summed up her team's first appearance at Twickenham where the Navy were on the wrong side of a large scoreline.
In sunny South-West London in front of a healthy crowd the Army were dominant from the start. Full-back Louise Dodd set the tone as she tapped and went from inside her own 22, gliding through the Navy defence with ease, making meters at will. It was from this break that Player of the Match Sally Scott scored the first try of the afternoon just six minutes in. She bundled over from close, driving over two Navy defenders who could do little to stop her. Winger Cortney Pursglove converted to deservedly put the Army 7-0 up.
The Navy had some decent possession but found it hard to string together more than a few phases so had to kick to release pressure put onto them by the army. Army fly-half Jade Mullen made some excellent tackles in midfield early on, flashing up in defence and shutting down any Navy attacks before they had the chance to grow. Less than ten minutes after the Army’s first, Dodd scored a try of her own. She hit a great line through the midfield and stepped the covering fullback Chloe Sopp to dot down under the posts.
The one-way traffic continued as the Navy found it difficult to live with the Army’s rush defence, led by Scott who was tremendous all game. A try from Dainton and a second from Scott put the Army even further ahead. Just before halftime, Pursglove scored her first try of the afternoon. Some great hands from the Army backs gave Dodd the ball in a two v one situation. She drew the last defender, giving Pursglove an easy finish. Pursglove then converted her own try with a great kick to giver side a 33-0 lead at halftime.
It was much of the same in the second half, the Army continued their dominant performance. Just two minutes in, prop Sarah Batley bundled over from close following another strong carry from Scott. Try of the afternoon came in the 57th minute. From a scrum on halfway on the left-hand side of the pitch, the Army shipped the ball wide excellently, creating space for the speedy Pursglove, who pinned her ears back and ran in from 40 meters. Pursglove’s fine day was completed when she scored her hattrick try just eight minutes later. She was once again put through by Dodd. Pursglove converted her own try to take her points tally to over 20 for the day.
The Navy must be commended for their effort which did not waver all game despite the ever-increasing score-line. Their determination and bravery, both in defence and with ball in hand were commendable and each player gave a superb account of themselves. In the final play of the game, the Army’s Bethan Dainton showed incredible pace and stamina as she sprinted past four Navy defenders to score her second try of the afternoon. Dodd stepped up to nail the conversion from the
touchline to complete a historic 68-0 victory for the Army.
1 Mid Rosie Staples (HMS King Alfred)
2 SLt Rebecca Addis (HMS Westminster)
3 AET Lucy Honeybell (HMS Queen Elizabeth)
4 PO Anne-Marie McIntyre (FOST)
5 LAET Abi Sondack (NCHQ)
6 ET Elona Bythell (HMS Prince of Wales)
7 MA Megan Musgrave (PSG Portsmouth)
8 NA Jessica Bryan (RNAS Yeovilton)
9 SLt Rhian Perry (HMS Seahawk)
10 PO Sam Alderson (HMS Raleigh)
11 ET Sian McLaughlin (HMS Prince of Wales)
12 LPT Suz Badger (HMS Sultan)
13 LH Rose Dixon (Imjin Barracks) (C)
14 Lt Emma Morley (HMS Richmond)
15 AET Chloe Sopp (RNAS Yeovilton)
16 Lt Cdr Katie Ives (MOD Abbey Wood)
17 ET Heather Addison-Prout (HMS Sultan)
18 PO Emily Park (PSG Plymouth)
19 Lt Sammi Smale RN (HMS Smiter)
20 SLt Emily Howard (HMS Diamond)
21 Lt Olivia Critchley-Peddle RN (Wildcat DT)
22 CPO Billi Staite (RCDM Birmingham)
23 Lt Abi Ashby RN (846 NAS)
Match Report By Tom Sansom and Piers Dunham