RN Senior XV v Esher
RN Senior XV
For the first time in the modern era (that’s post the RNRU Chairman’s playing days), the Navy won a hard fought game over the National 1 side Esher RFC. In a fast and at times frantic game, both sides were looking to play open, running rugby on what is one of the largest pitches in the country. Despite the continued deluge around the country and with large areas, very near to the ground, still under water, the pitch was in excellent condition and the home team certainly exploited the space in the early stages, scoring their first try within 2 mins of the kick off.
The Navy team, with 5 uncapped players starting and 13 in total in the squad, worked hard to regain some territory and possession, which paid off with an easy 3 points after 15 minutes, by Senior XV debutant Mne Richard Cadywould (CTCRM). The Navy scrum would have been happy with the nights work, always having the upper hand, and in particular Mne Josh Terry (RM Poole) returning after operational duty, was playing his first game since Twickenham last year. He played a key role at both loose head in the first half and tight head in the second half. The Navy’s hard work paid off with 2 try’s before half time. The first from an attacking line out saw the scoring machine that is LA(AH) Ben Priddey (RNAS Culdrose) going over from the back of the maul. The second from Mne Greg Welling (RMASC) after some strong phases of play from the Navy team. Both tries and a last minute, 45 metre penalty from Cadywould meant the Navy ended the half 20-10 in the lead.
Esher came out of the blocks quicker and stronger after the break, fearing a first defeat from the Navy, they were threatening and dominant for long periods of the second half. What would have pleased the Navy’s coaching staff was the defence and ability to absorb pressure, without giving away penalties. Esher did score a similar try to the Navy’s first try from a 5m line out, this was to be their last score of the night.
Throughout the second half the Navy made numerous changes of personnel and finished the game with 13 non capped players on the field. So the Navy’s final try was particularly pleasing as it was a result of some fantastic attacking play, that went the full width of the pitch twice before being finished off by the RN U23 captain AET Matt Horton (RNAS Culdrose), converted from the corner by ETME Josh Jones (HMS OCEAN).
As always there is plenty to work on before the Navy’s next outing at Cambridge University, who will be looking for revenge on the Services having been beaten by both the Army and RAF this season, but they will go there full of confidence after this historic victory.
Images by Alligin Photography © John Walton