HMS ARGYLL RFC v KEYWEST RFC
HMS ARGYLL RFC
HMS Argyll took 26 players to Bernstein Park in the Florida Keys for their second game of their current APT(N) deployment, if it wasn’t for a couple of injuries and other duty commitments there would have been more of the ships company chomping at the bit to represent what is rapidly becoming a very well drilled and extremely committed Rugby Team. On the last night of their 3 day visit and with a kick off as late as 1900 the fact that so many people volunteered to play proves the level of commitment and passion this team has to pull on a HMS Argyll jersey and give it their all for the ship, themselves and their team mates. On a day where temperatures were as hot as 99 degrees fahrenheit the HMS Argyll team turned up as eager and committed as ever. The word had spread across the Stock Island community that the Brits were in town again after Argyll had been there not 12 months before and with that knowledge the side line was packed with supporters, some in deck chairs and others there enjoying the game with a cold beer eager to watch what turned out to be a very good game of competitive Rugby.
Because of the heat and the wanting of both teams to give all of their players a game it was decided that it would be played in 20 minute sections with brief water breaks and personnel changes. CPO Simon Mugford relishing in his role as 'Coach' discussed the last minute changes with Captain LET(ME) Gareth Willey and Vice Captain WO1 Graham Bastow and with that the team huddled together for some inspirational and tactical words from the aforementioned trio. After the frustration of Semi-Contested scrums against the Bermuda International U19's the forwards were like caged animals rearing to be released into the wild and to quote one of Bastow's favourite sayings 'The forwards will win this game, the backs will decide by how many' couldn’t have been more true with what was about to pan out. Keywest were eager to avenge their defeat from the previous year, with a team made up of US Coastguards and Military personnel they were rearing to go, Argyll stood tall in front of them before the kick off knowing that they were here to play hard and fast and that they were going to have a battle on their hands.
Keywest kicked off and instantly Argyll reacted with aggression, speed and commitment, the tone for the game had been set there and then in the first 5 minutes. After 10 minutes of the game there had been 5 scrummages and Argyll began to show their dominance, with a combined pack weight of approximately 800 kg (maybe more) and with LAET Dan Carroll driving it from No. 8 the Keywest team were being bullied by this pack who were releasing the previous games frustration all over them and they had no answer to it. Shortly after the start LS(AWW) John Larsson made way for AB(CIS) Chris Wallis at hooker after the reoccurrence of an old elbow injury had flared up and needed treating on the side line, with the change the intensity of the scrumming and the commitment to the cause did not faulter. This game was every forwards dream, the tackles were flying in, Wallis was working hard and winning turn overs for fun, the rucks were fast and furious and the scrummaging was a different class from Argyll. LT Grant Dalgleish was pecking away at scrum half and getting the play going and Argyll really began to find their rhythm. AB(WS) Blake Smith had a field day with his right foot and was spreading the ball all over the park keeping the constant pressure on the Keywest team. However alike the game in Bermuda some silly mistakes were still being made and Argyll lacked that little bit of composure in the final moves of their plays, last passes were being missed, balls were unnecessarily getting dropped and on the occasion play was breaking down too soon, this was mainly down to the outright determination everyone had in playing to their full capacity and with that they did not quite have the killer instinct. CPO Jon Oliver and LT CDR Ian Bailey were ever strong at inside and outside centre's respectively and their strong forward running continuously gave Argyll that attacking edge and with the performance the forwards were putting in Keywest were camped in their own half for the first 15 minutes and it was only a matter of time before their line was broken. Argyll thought that this break had come on more than one occasion and both times through PO(ETME) William Williams (yes that is his real name), with the Argyll pack destroying Keywest at nearly every breakdown Williams found himself picking the ball up and driving over the line only for the Referee to call play back to the bemusement of all of the Argyll players, not once but twice in succession. Needless to say this just spurred the Argyll team on even more as it seemed at times they were playing against 16 men.
Although the inevitable break came in the form of Bailey's first of 2 tries in this game, the Keywest defence were penalised for offside and with the resulting penalty Bailey saw a hole in the line and took it quickly, he stepped inside 2 players and sat the 3rd one down with a big shoulder barge to make his way over the line and touch the ball down. Smith narrowly missed the resulting conversion but Argyll were 0-5 ahead and in total control. From the re-start Argyll did not let up and were soon deep inside the Keywest red zone with the home team penalised and an Argyll scrum on offer the Referee blew his whistle to indicate a quick water break and the chance for both teams to re-group. When play resumed Williams must have thought the referee had something against him, the Argyll scrum bullied Keywest back again in great fashion and with Carroll controlling the ball he went for the line only to be stopped by a sturdy Keywest defence, seeing another opportunity to get over the line Williams did what he does best and scooped the ball up to plough through the defence and touch the ball down only for the referee to blow his whistle and bring play back for a third time, offering little explanation and again confusing this time both teams,
Argyll dusted themselves off to start again. Not to be deterred by the referee's decisions and after another powerful scrum by Argyll they found themselves on the attack again. This time Dalgleish whipped the ball across the line to Smith who charged forward, with Oliver advancing besides him they executed the perfect 'Dummy, Scissors, Pop' with Bailey who caught the ball and found himself running through a gap you could have parked a bus in to touch down for his and Argyll's second try of the game. Smith converted to make the score 0-12 and Argyll were firmly in control. The referee brought the first half to a close after that to the relief of the Keywest team and to the disappointment of the Argyll lads. Argyll came in at half time on a high and each individual that was wearing the Argyll shirt were proud and happy to be doing so, this was made evident when Mugford asked if anyone wanted to come off to which he was answered with 15 abrupt 'NO'S' (or words to that effect), however changes were made and the emphasis from Willey, Bastow and Mugford was to keep doing exactly what they have been but to also cut out the unnecessary mistakes and have that clinical finish and composure in the Keywest red zone. This was the only thing stopping this game from turning into a white wash. Smith kicked the second half off and although changes had been made in the pack the effort and determination had not faultered. ET(ME) Matthew Allatt came on for Williams and was strong in the tackle, ET(ME) James Carmalt replaced ET(WE) Alex Jay after he rolled his ankle going in for a tackle, Carmalt making his first appearance for the ship and his first game since school. The tempo to the game had not changed and the Argyll pack were as hungry as ever to keep dominating, this was apparent 10 minutes into the second half when Argyll scored their third try. With a maul deep into the Keywest red zone the Argyll forwards were driving Keywest further and further back into their own back yard when Willey spotted a gap and under the watchful eye of LT Anthony Kane he spun off the blindside and ran home from 15 yards out making the score 0-17. Smith missed the resulting penalty but again Argyll were firmly in control of this fixture. The majority of the second half was played in Keywest territory, occasionally Keywest would find the Argyll half and force and errors like LAC David Simmons dropping the ball from a high kick, on more than one occasion much to the delight of the home crowd (and his team mates after the game with jibes such as 'At least you caught the bus home Simmo') but the work rate of the Argyll team would prevail and soak up all of what Keywest had to offer. They came close to scoring 10 minutes from the end when AB(SEA) Callum Green dropped the ball and it fell to their full back who from half way ran inside and out of the Argyll defence and looked home and dry but for a last ditch, full stretch tackle from Smith who had tracked his player from the moment he set off allowing Argyll enough time to get back behind the ball and put up their defences again. Keywest finished strong, they were fond of running straight at Argyll trying to break them down but even when nearly all of the forwards had been replaced the line still stayed strong. As in the last game LT CDR Tim Grimley came on and made an instant impact with his tackling, LET(ME) Michael Monnington doing the same still jet lagged from flying out to meet the ship and Kane bringing some aggressive running to the pack too. ET(ME) Adam Townsend stepped into the centre to replace Bailey after he suffered a cut above his eye and did not look out of place, Green made up for his earlier error and done well to gather the ball and drive into the Keywest half towards the end, keeping the pressure on.
The game finished as it had started with Argyll bossing yet another maul, they worked the ball out to Dalgleish who was more than happy to bring the proceedings to an end by finding the roof of one of the cars in the adjacent car park and on that the referee blew his whistle to end what was a very enjoyable game of Rugby, for both the players and spectators on the sidelines. The Argyll team are starting to gel now into a very respectable Rugby team and there was good performances from everyone involved, particularly S/LT Beau Henrickson on the flank, CPO Jon Geofroy is now starting to make big impacts in the game having only taken the sport up last year, Carroll was a driving force at No. 8 as was Dalgleish at scrum half constantly in the ears of all of the Argyll players. All of the replacements that were made came on and stood their ground and earned the right to be playing there that night. This victory takes Argyll to being unbeaten in their last 7 games and although there are still some issues to be ironed out they put on a great display of amateur Rugby against a very good Keywest team and everyone including the spectators walked away from Bersntein Park completely satisfied with the spectacle they had just observed. Argyll's next game comes in Tortola in the British Virgin Islands in a weeks time with Mugford, Bastow and Willey having a very tough job on their hands to pick a team from a list of 30 plus players all of which deserve a chance for their time in an Argyll jersey.
WO1 G Bastow (Rep ET(ME) M Allatt)
LS(AWW) J Larson (Rep AB(CIS) C Wallis)
PO(ETME) W Williams (Rep LT J Cooke)
LCH M Roberts (Rep AB(SEA) M Penney)
CPO J Geofroy (Rep LT CDR T Grimley)
LET(ME) G Willey (Rep LT A Kane)
S/LT B Henrickson (Rep LET(ME) M Monnington)
LAET D Carroll
LT G Dalgleish
AB(WS) B Smith
ET(WE) A Jay (Rep ET(ME) J Carmalt)
CPO(AWW) J Oliver (Rep AB(SEA) S Green)
LT CDR I Bailey (ET(ME) A Townsend)
LPT S Sims
LAC D Simmons (S/LT N Davies)
This match is part of the ‘You Play We Pay’ initiative.