Inverdale Challenge Starts With A Bang
Wednesday saw the first game of this seasons Inverdale Challenge, when Royal Navy West played the Royal Marines at Devonport Services RFC. Due to operational and training commitments, many inter command players from both teams were unavailable. This offered opportunities to previously unseen talent, and those new players didn’t disappoint producing a great game of rugby.
As defending champions the Royal Marines entered the fixture with confidence, knowing they were up against a very experienced and powerful RN West side. From the start the tempo was high with few handling errors which suited the Bootnecks. With Nath Huntley pulling the strings at Fly Half, Royal took control of the game and kept the score board ticking over. At half time it was 35-5 to the Royal Marines.
The second half continued in similar fashion to the first, with Royal doing everything they could to avoid the RN West pack and running the ball from everywhere. After another frantic 40 minutes the final score was 57-10 in Royal’s favour. It’s important to note that the score doesn’t reflect the game, and RN West really played their part in a brilliant display of grassroots rugby. On another night things could have easily gone their way.
“It was great to see so many new faces” said Capt Oli Mason, Royal Marines Head Coach. “We had a great squad last year and we deserved to the win the tournament. This season I have a completely new side with outstanding potential. The score line doesn’t reflect tonight’s game, the Western Region really stuck at it and caused us lots of problems up front. This is always a hard place to come and they’ll do well this season.”
“A new season always presents new faces, and there were a few players that caught my eye tonight” said Dave Pascoe, Navy Rugby Head Coach. “The Fleet and the Corps are really busy at the moment, but the fact both teams put out a side and produced a fixture of that standard is awesome.”
Elsewhere the Women’s Development side played Havant in their first game of the season narrowly loosing 41-28 to an experienced side. “Women’s rugby is developing across the fleet and the establishment of the development side gives newcomers the opportunity to play the game” said Jane West the Navy Women’s, Team Manager.
The Women’s Development XV next fixture is against the Portsmouth Valkyries on Wednesday 6th November at HMS Temeraire, 1930 KO.
On Wednesday night we had over 80 Naval personnel playing grassroots rugby and that’s simply outstanding” said Cdr Beasty Williams, Director of Navy Community Rugby. “Giving people the opportunity to play is so important, and it’s great to see our people playing the game and enjoying it.”
On Wednesday 13th November the Royal Navy U23s will play the Army U23s in there first Inter Services fixture at Devonport Services RFC. If you’re in the area please come and support the lads in what promises to be cracking game.
Words: Oliver Mason
Images: Royal Navy Rugby Union © Mark Andrews