Pulsating Twickenham Return as Navy Pipped
RN Senior XV
Army Senior XV
The Navy were pipped in a pulsating Army V Navy Fixture that saw end to end action from minute 1 to 80.
The Army and Royal Navy Men’s teams kicked off the hotly contested afternoon of action at Twickenham Stadium.
Both sides fought valiantly for the prestigious Babcock Trophy, in a back and forth contest which could truly have
gone either way.
In the end, it was the Army who won on the day. Two tries within the final 10 minutes secured an astonishing
comeback for the men in red, with the final score reading 35-27. Michael McDonald and Viliame Kotobalavu’s late
scores won the day for the Army, yet full credit must go to the determined and resilient Navy.
After a ten minute opening battle of attrition in the London sun, the Navy were the first to get points on the board.
Foul play at the breakdown lined up for fly half Jordan Gott to successfully slot his penalty attempt, after missing his
previous two attempts at goal. The ball sailed through the posts for a three point lead.
The Navy followed this up with the opening try of the match. Full back Craig Duncan broke effectively into space, and
shipped the ball wide to Henry Hughes. The right winger exploded along his flank, before offloading the ball back in
field to hooker Ben Priddey, who crashed over the line to score. Gott added the extras for a ten point lead.
The Army responded in full force after half an hour’s play. A textbook lineout move set up a powerful rolling maul,
yet the strong Navy defence halted its momentum. The Army changed tactics, and began to push through the Navy
blue wall with short drives. Flanker Matt Dawson crashed over after the Navy’s defence was worn down. However,
fly half Jack Johnson failed to convert.
The Army followed this up with an equalising score, as hooker Peter Austin grounded another impressive rolling
maul, just seven minutes later. Another missed conversion from Johnson sent the two sets of servicemen off for half
time, with the sides leaving the pitch at a 10-10 halftime stalemate.
Johnson’s penalty kicked the Army into the lead for the first time, shortly after the re-start. Yet this lead was only
short lived, as was the theme of this ever-changing, end-to-end contest. Duncan responded with a try for the Navy,
once again neatly linking up with Hughes. The 14 and 15 combined to effectively exploit an overlap, and Gott’s
conversion added extra breathing space to the 13-17 lead.
The Army’s replacement number eight Senitiki Nayalo took matters into his own hands, as he took a quick tap
penalty and charged through the Navy defence. From Fijian charged over the defenders from five metres out, and
regained the lead for the Army, with Johnson adding the conversion. Johnson then followed this up with a penalty
just past the hour mark, to extend the Army’s lead to 23-17.
Gott’s accuracy from the tee narrowed the match once again, with an impressive penalty, struck from just inside the
Army half. The battle continued with navy number eight Sam Matavesi powering over from close range. as the Navy
regained the lead with only 10 minutes remaining.
Yet the Army fought valiantly to comeback, with two tries to close off the contest. Replacement scrum half Michael
McDonald caught the Navy defence off guard to run in unopposed, before Viliame Kotobalavu drove over from close
range to secure the Army’s victory.
1 LAET Kye Beasley (HMS Sultan)
2 LPT Ben Priddey (RNAS Culdrose)
3 LA(AH) Ben Watson (1700 NAS)
4 LS(HM) John Kirwan (MIXG)
5 Cpl Ed Pascoe (RM Band, CTCRM)
6 Lt Mitchell Spencer RN (MOD Abbey Wood)
7 Lt Jarrard Hayler RM (CTCRM) (C)
8 Logs(SC) Sam Matavesi (RNAS Culdrose)
9 AB Gar Rees (Swansea AFCO)
10 AET Jordan Gott (846 NAS)
11 POAET Ben Chambers (846 NAS)
12 MNE Seta Raumakita (42 Cdo)
13 AB(SEA) Jesse Lowe (HMNB Devonport)
14 Surg Lt Henry Hughes (INM, Alverstoke)
15 MNE Craig Duncan (30 Cdo)
16 LET(ME) Richie Ives (HMS Sultan)
17 LAET Chris Warner (824 NAS)
18 MNE Toby Papp (CLR)
19 MNE Rory Mitchell (40 Cdo)
20 AB(D) Gav Hughan (TDG)
21 MNE Alex Peterson (40 Cdo)
22 AET Dan Rutter (RNAS Culdrose)
23 AET Jerome Rudder (1710 NAS)
Match Report By Tom Sansom and Piers Dunham