HMNB Clyde victorious in Navy Cup!


HMNB Clyde


40 Cdo RM

HMNB Clyde team captain receives the Navy Cup from RNRU Chairman Brigadier Ewen Murchison
Centre Benzie on the run
HMNB Clyde dominate the lineout
Chasing the ball - 40 Commando and HMNB Clyde
Looking for a gap between the 40 Cdo defence
The victorious HMNB Clyde team

HMNB Clyde arrived at the final of the Navy Cup without much game time, having received a walk over in both their first round and quarter final matches against HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Heron respectively.  HMNB Portsmouth put up more of a fight in the semi-final.  40 Commando by contrast had seen off BRNC, HMNB Devonport and HMS Seahawk on their way to the final at HMS Temeraire.  The odds were stacked against the team from North of the border and an exciting game lay ahead.  

This was set to be a highly competitive Cup Final.  HMNB Clyde had convincingly defeated HMNB Portsmouth in the first of the two semi-finals, following which the team from 40 Commando displayed the same dominance over the team from HMS Seahawk.  The clear weather and 3G pitch meant that everyone was expecting a fast paced competition between the two teams.

The first fifteen minutes saw the majority of play in the centre of the pitch with both teams probing the opposition defence for weak points.  HMNB Clyde mounted an attack which resulted in the ball being secured at the back of a ruck on the 40 Cdo's 22, Dawson popped the ball into the hands of Matt Storey who bulldozed through the opposition defensive line and fed the ball to the supporting Price; the Clyde pack swarmed in and drove the ball over the try line under the control of the number 8 for the first score of the game.  A simple conversion well executed by Benzie.  HMNB Clyde took the lead 7 – 0.

The following passage of play saw both teams test the back three under clearance kicks.  Duncan produced a long kick to clear the Clyde half which was then returned to Benzie by the Marines' clearance kick.  Benzie darted through a gap in the defence and handed off his opposite number allowing him to make easy yardage; a wide pass to Duncan let him loop around the last defensive man to score in the corner in the 22nd minute.  Benzie made a light work of this difficult conversion to extend the Clyde lead 14 – 0.

With their confidence building Clyde started to stretch their legs in attack, putting the Marines under constant pressure.  With supporting runners too far back, the Clyde ball was turned over by the Marines number 7.  40 Cdo attempted to clear, but Tindle made a successful charge down and collected the ball deep in the opposition half.  Seeing the supporting runner on his shoulder, Tindle pulled the ball back into the hands of Benzie to allow him to make an easy score in the left corner.  Against a stiff breeze, the kick was just short, score HMNB Clyde 19 – 40 Cdo 0.

Throughout the first half, Dawson was making his opposite number’s job a misery as he chased, agitated and punished him in the tackle when he was going on his own.  As the half was coming to a close, the Royals scrum was dominated by Clyde which was putting the 9 under immense pressure to escape their own 22.  The clearance kick just missed touch at the half way line, which gave the dominating Clyde side a great opportunity to counter-attack. Dawson collected the ball and charged at the Marines' defence before popping the ball to Benzie just short of the 22; Benzie then threw a miss pass in front of Simkins to Leadley who put the gas on to score in the right corner.  Benzie once again converted with another challenging kick.  As the half time whistle blew HMNB Clyde led 26 – 0 over 40 Cdo.

The Marines started the second half with a reaffirmed defence which managed to keep Clyde at bay for the first 10 minutes of the half.  Both teams were maintaining their discipline and there were few penalties subsequently given.  By the 54th minute the Marines were on the attack, a half way line scrum sent the ball to the outside centre who found a gap in the Clyde defensive line, with no man between him and the line, it was an easy try for the No 13 which was much needed and the try was converted to narrow the gap HMNB Clyde 26 – 40 Cdo 7

The restart landed the ball straight into Benzie's hands and he made a break at the Marines defensive line.  As he crossed the half, his footwork got him around his opposite number and he offloaded to the supporting Duncan who skilfully drew his man and sent Simkins around the side of the Marines, touching down in the left corner.  A textbook try which put Clyde in a commanding position, especially once Benzie converted HMNB Clyde 33 – 40 Cdo 7.

Now comfortably in the lead, the backs were looking very useful on the firm surface and to their credit they did not let white line fever affect them.   Clyde was playing confident attacking rugby however, the Marines continued to press the attack on the Clyde defence.  Placing the ball deep in the Marines half to pressurise the back three led to a scuffed clearance kick, Benzie again claimed the ball and zipped it back to a charging Parsons who cut straight through the defensive line to score under the posts.  The 68 th minute saw Benzie slot the ball neatly between the posts to stretch the lead still further HMNB Clyde 40 – 40 Cdo 7.

As expected, the Marines' fitness levels allowed them to continue attacking the Clyde defensive.  Inside the Clyde 22, they were looking confident of a second score, but a knock on ended their hope.  The score remained the same for the final ten minutes of the game.  

The Full Time score was HMNB Clyde 40 – 40 Cdo 7.  A well drilled and technically capable HMNB Clyde proficiently dominated this game and proved too much for the 40 Cdo.  For the first time in 41 years, HMNB Clyde were able to call themselves the Navy Rugby Cup Champions.

Notable performances included fly half and team captain Jez Parsons, flanker Jack Tindle who was the pack leader, full back Craig Duncan, Sam Benzie who converted 5 of 6 tries and scrum half Wayne 'Dizzie' Dawson, declared Man of the Match.

Team list - HMNB CLYDE:
1    CPO Oberholzer
2    AB Storey
3    LS Larson
4    CAPT Berry RM
5    AB Gourlie
6    AB Hughan
7    LT Tindle RN
8    AB Price
9    POPT Dawson
10    MNE Parsons (Team Captain)
11    MNE Leadley
12    ET Benzie
13    MNE Simkins
14    LCPL Slader
15    MNE Duncan
16    LT Gell RN
17    MNE Mullen
18    MNE Bush
19    MNE Wilson
20    MNE McCauley
21    AB Treveil
22    MNE Bathgate

Team Manager:  CPO Thomas
Coaches:  CPO Mardell

1          MNE Robinson
2    LT Lythgoe RM
3    MNE Wilson
4    CSGT Lowe
5    MNE Gwillim
6    CAPT Cox RM
7    LCPL Brown
8    SGT Thomas
9    MNE Billam
10    CAPT Smith RM
11    CAPT Lawson RM
12    MNE Greaves
13    MNE Gould
14    CAPT Rogers RM
15    MNE Millar
16     CPL Stridgeon
17    MNE Holbrook-Sanderson
18    MNE Bale
19    MNE Parker
20    MNE Gilbert
21    MNE Owen-Brown
22    MNE Denny

Team Manager:  WO2 Taylor RM

Referee:  CPL N O’Donnel
AR1:  Ian Farrell
AR2:  Rich Smith
AR4:  Jonathon Craig
AR5:  John McCallum

Words: M Jacques
Images: Royal Navy Rugby Union © Keith Woodland