President's XV out-played by the Police
RN President's XV
It was an overcast night in East London when the Royal Navy President's XV travelled to West Ham to take on the British Police. With soft conditions underfoot, the Police made the most of their home advantage running in 5 tries (plus a penalty try), to win the match 39 - 14. However the scoreboard did not accurately reflect the competitiveness of the game.
It was the Police who made the first score, with a try in the opening five minutes, but the kick was wide. The Navy team responded immediately with a try of their own, scored by Royal Marine Pat Coy, which was successfully converted by Slader, 5 - 7. The next twenty minutes saw possession go first one way and then the other. Despite some quick ball and running rugby, neither side could break through the defence of the other.
Then the Police side finally found a gap and scored their second try of the evening, which was successfully converted, to take the lead 12 - 7. This was followed with another 3 points after the Navy team conceded a penalty, 15 - 7. However the President's team responded again, this time it was outside centre, Slader, who ran over the line to touch down, converting his own try to close the gap, 15 - 14. With only a minute left of the first half, it looked as if the scoreboard would stay the same into the break, but a strong run from the Police added their third try of the night, to extend their lead into half time, 20 - 14.
There were a number of changes after the break, with both teams keen to take advantage of their bench and get some fresh legs onto the pitch, as well as to ensure all the players got their chance for a run out. The second half started in a similar vein to the first, with the Police scoring their fourth try after 9 minutes of play. The successful conversion stretched the home side lead to 27 - 14.
Determined to get back into the game, the President's side worked hard to play their own style of rugby. During the next ten minutes they did just that, working through the phases, looking for space, but try as they might, they couldn't break through the strong Police defence The pressure and frustration were building, and in the space of 5 minutes the referee had to show his yellow card twice to Navy players, firstly to flanker McDonald, and then to prop Warner.
With the Navy side down to 13 men and fifteen minutes left to play, it was going to be critical for the visitors to maintain their discipline, however the pressure being exerted by the Police, and the gaps opening up in the defensive line, were not going to make that easy. A penalty try was awarded to the Police, and with the successful conversion another 7 points were added to the home side's tally, 34 - 14. To add insult to injury, the Police scored another try before the Navy players could return from the sin bin, 39 - 14.
The last quarter, getting back up to full strength, the Navy side were able to show their capabilities, and prevented any further score by the Police. However try as they might to break through for their own score, they couldn't find a gap. To their credit, they kept their heads up and determinedly kept fighting, but it was to no avail. The final score British Police 39 - 14 Royal Navy President's XV.
The next outing for the President's XV will be against the RAF Hawks, on 22 March 2017, at RAF Halton, kick off 1400.
President's XV Team List: Warner, Carver, Fowler, Staniforth, Kirwan, McDonald, Mason, Mitchell-Heggs, Tyrrell, Coy, Kurusasa, Benzie (c), Slader, Heard, Acreman. Replacements: Rees, Kerry, Heffernan, Wakefield, Wood, Mills.
Images Royal Navy Rugby Union © John Walton