New kids on the block
HMS Prince of Wales
The newly formed rugby team in HMS Prince of Wales travelled to South Queensferry RFC to take on Dunfermline RFC representing the Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier.
This was the Prince of Wales (PWLS) second game of rugby ever and many new faces were in the side with most of them playing at the ‘grass roots level’ so the game was played in 4 quarters of 20 minutes to give both sides time to bed-in their newest members.
The fixture was moved very last minute from Dunfermline RFC to South Queensferry RFC 3G pitch due to Dunfermline wanting to save their pitch for their weekend fixture. A big thank you goes out to South Queensferry RFC for the use of their pitch. The stage was set on the mild Wednesday night. Before the kick-off a minute’s silence was held in memory of LA(AH) Kyle Mason who sadly died on 3 February.
PWLS were playing in blue and white hoops with red while Dunfermline wore all white. The first five minutes was very panicky from both sides, yet some good running rugby was played as they found their flow. Dunfermline looked like a good, well drilled side however too many handling errors cost them ground every time they started to look dangerous. PWLS started testing the Dunfermline defence with pick and gos from and round the break down with no joy, however when the ball was pushed wide, PWLS found the crack in the wall through the pace of LET Robbie Elders and AET Greg Ayres on the touch lines. The Dunfermline Wingers couldn’t keep up with these two speedy players, if it wasn’t for the good work of the Dunfermline Full-back both men would have been in for a brace of tries each. Yet this was the story of the first twenty-minute period, with it ending with the score staying how it started, 0-0.
Both sides where keen to make changes and try new players, now the game had a flow to it. Dunfermline also decided to bring on players with a few more games under their belt in key areas to deal with the ever-present threat of PWLS pace out wide.
This was clearly seen by the great battle in the wider channels between both sets of centres and wingers. Dunfermline drew first blood with a well worked set play from a line out inside PWLS 22, spinning the ball wide and scoring in the corner, the kick was missed. 5 - 0
Dunfermline now had their tails up and continued to apply pressure. PWLS set plays in the line-out and scrums were working well, when the naval side had ball in hand they played well, still this was a very new side of players and as the game went on it was the defensive line that broke down, allowing Dunfermline’s forwards to make yards and keep PWLS on the back foot. A strong effort to keep Dunfermline from scoring was always maintained by PWLS yet the civilian side put another three tries down kicking two of them and putting the score to 24 - 0.
There was some joy for the PWLS side just before they went into the last twenty, an explosive run down the left side of the field from AET Greg Ayres put PWLS on the front foot yet he still couldn’t win his battle with the Dunfermline Full-back and was put into touch just five metres from the Dunfermline try line. Dunfermline who had up to this point proven to be a well drilled side, made an error in the line-out resulting in a PWLS free-kick, quick thinking from the PWLS captain LA(AH) Chris Ellor took a quick tap and with a strong charge, pushed himself thought the Dunfermline defence and over for a try. The conversion was put wide. 24 - 5 going into the last twenty-minute period.
The final twenty was very similar to the first, with both sides making mistakes after making good yards. The game now became a lot scrappier and what had been a friendly game started to get less friendly, things were getting heated. The final play of the game saw the only points of the last period. The PWLS line-out that had been going so well earlier in the game had broken down with the many changes and new faces in the final line up. With the ball thrown in from PWLS, confusion hit the players and the jumper never got into the air. The resulting ‘over throw’ was cleaned up quickly by the civilian side and shipped wide where they scored just to the right of the posts. The kick was slotted, and this ended the match.
FT 31 - 5 to Dunfermline RFC.
For the PWLS this was a great training game against a tough team, with half of the PWLS side never having played in an adult game of rugby before, they really showed all the hard work they had put in at training. The real test will be their 1st round home game in the Navy Cup next week against HMNB Clyde.
Man of the match was LET Elders (Backs) / ET Phillips (Forwards)
Team list:HMS PRINCE OF WALES XV - 1. ET Morgan 2. LA Ellor 3. LET Weighell 4. ETWE MacDonald 5. WO1 Ford 6. SC Aziz 7. LET Martin 8. LET Fort 9. LSC White 10. NA Standish 11. AET Ayres 12. LT Clutton 13. LET Elders 14. ET Barlow 15. LET Whittle 16. ET Phillips 17. POET Scott 18. ET Kenny 19. AB Jones 20. LA Bredbere 21. PO Attis 22. ET Lovatt-McIntyre
Head Coach PO Mua, Kit man ETWE Parker.
Words: Chris Ellor
Images: Royal Navy Rugby Union © PO Oswald