RN West v RN North Match Report
RN West v RN North
The RN North travelled to the deep South for a battle with the RN West to share the spoils. The rearranged fixture between the RN West and the RN North was certainly one worth waiting for after both teams gave everything on the pitch and battled in difficult conditions to finish with a well deserved 11 - 11 draw.
The first half saw both teams put 8 points on the board on a wet and windy day which hampered the way in which they were trying to play. Both teams could not get a grip of the game and it was clear from the early stages that both were searching for the victory. The North were first to put points on the board with a penalty after the West were penalised in the breakdown for not rolling away, they converted it for a slim 0 - 3 lead. The breakdowns became pivotal in this half as both teams were playing with pure aggression and with probably the best forwards the West have fielded to date they were holding their own against a well drilled Northern outfit. Half way through the first half the West drew level with a penalty by LPT Sion Jenkins (HMS Raleigh) after the North were penalised for offside. The penalty count from both teams was at an undesirable amount, this mainly due to the conditions but also the eagerness of both sets of players to try and get the advantage over their opponents. The North pulled further in front towards the end of the first half with a try, they recycled the ball from the breakdown and capitalised on some sloppy defending from the West and manipulated a whole in the backline to run in over the white wash and score. The resulting conversion was missed to make the score 3 - 8. Not to be outdone by their Northern opponents the West had one more drive in them before the half time whistle was blown, with the break looming Jenkins kicked to the corner from a penalty and the West set up a strong driving maul from the resulting lineout. They drove the North back with probably their best play of the tournament thus far for AB(WS) Parker (HMS Montrose) to drop over the line under a heap of players. Jenkins missed the conversion but the scores were level at 8 - 8 at half time.
The West remained unchanged at the interval and after some choice words from Team Captain AB Todd Croft they went out for the second half with the weather gradually getting worse.
The second half started where the first had left off, both teams were aggressively going at each other with big hits and being belligerent in the breakdowns. Jenkins was struggling to control the game due to the pressure from the North. The West attacked the gain line at every opportunity with AB Silivenusi Buinimasi (HMS Argyll) making breaks but the final product just wasn’t there. Both teams missed the opportunity to take the lead through penalties, the wind playing a big factor in denying them the points. The West finally chalked some more points on the board, this time through Croft who scored a penalty with about 10 minutes left on the clock. The game swung in the balance from start to finish and all it needed was a touch of class or a mistake from either team and they surely would have taken the victory. However the quality on a difficult day just didn’t come, both defences were outstanding and neither team gave an inch going backwards. With 4 minutes on the clock The West's ill discipline got the better of them and the referee awarded a penalty, even in the terrible conditions it was harder to miss and the North squared the score to 11 - 11. The final passage of play saw the West camped in their Red Zone but with steely defending and brute force they kept the North at bay for the referee to bring the game to an end and a share of the points for both teams.
The West were searching for a victory in this fixture after being frustrated by the East in their last one and not getting the victory certainly felt like a loss but there are a lot of positives to take from the game and they will carry that into their final fixture of the competition against the Fleet Air Arm.
Report by LPT Samual Sims
Images by Alligin Photography / © Mark Andrews