RNRU Presidents XV vs Devonport Services Select XV - Match report
RN Presidents XV
Devonport Services RFC
The RNRU President's XV kicked off 2016 with a game against The Devonport Services' Select XV at the Keyham 4G pitch on a chilly January evening. This was the second game of their campaign having already beaten Petersfield 38 - 12 prior to Christmas. After an afternoon of training and drills to integrate the new faces the TSG picked their starting XV ready for the kick off under the lights on the 4G.
The President's XV came flying out of the blocks and caught Services cold as they drew first blood inside the first 3 minutes. LT Alan Kennedy clearing the white wash and MNE Kurt Gledhill adding the extras for an early 7-0 lead. After the first score both teams spent the next 10 minutes duelling, making breaks in the gain-line only to run into a solid defence on both sides. AET Paul Saberton felt the full force of the Services' defence after he collected a loose ball inside his own 22 and with a mazy 60m dash, he was stopped in his tracks by his opposite number, a great piece of play by Saberton to relieve the mounting pressure from the Services' side. With Services putting up a good fight and the Presidents chipping away at their resolve it was only a matter of time before they chalked up some more points on the board, these came from 2 tries in quick succession, Saberton first ran in from wide after the Presidents recycled the ball well and straight from the resulting kick off LET Rich Hall ran in unchallenged to catch Services napping. In the blink of an eye the Presidents had added 12 points to the board after Gledhill successfully converted 1 of his 2 attempts. With 20 minutes remaining of the first half, the Presidents led 19 - 0 and were seemingly in for an easy day on the pitch. The remainder of the half saw Services reduce the gap after breaking the Presidents gain-line during a passage of play which saw possession change hands numerous times through great play in the breakdowns but also easy handling errors. They missed the conversion and with that the score was 19-5. With 5 minutes remaining of the first half the Presidents managed another score to cancel out Services previous try. MNE Pat Coy made the score after the forwards worked hard through 4 phases before the full back joined the attack to step inside and run in under the posts. Gledhill made no mistake with the conversion to take the half time score to 26 - 5.
In all fairness to Services, who were predominantly made up of their second team, the score was not an accurate reflection on their performance. The Presidents were clinical in attack and took their chances when they came around which was and would be the telling difference between the 2 teams that night.
The second half started where the first had left off with both teams going at it. The Presidents were bossing the scrums and what Services lacked in size and strength they were making up with determination and contesting at every breakdown. For the majority of the second half Services had the lion's share of possession but did not take their chances when they had them. They were not shy in coming forward and certainly tested The Presidents in defence continuously throughout the second 40 mins. Neither team could get a foothold in the second half, the Presidents were sitting on a comfortable lead but Services were certainly making them work hard to defend it. Against the run of play, and as they did in the first half, the Presidents took advantage of some sloppy defending and their first real opportunity to score with MNE Kyle Wood going over to knock the wind out of the Services sails. Gledhill missed the conversion but their lead was extended to 31 - 5. Services again took the game to the Presidents but again they were unable to capitalise on their possession and again the Presidents showed that extra bit of class by scoring again while being on the back foot. This time replacement lock LT Ryan Morrison took the ball from the back of the ruck to evade a challenge, hand one off and then put the ball under the posts. Gledhill made no mistake with the kick and the score was 38 - 5 and the Presidents were heading towards their second victory in 2 games. Before the game was finished Services managed a converted try of their own which was nothing less than they deserved. The final score was 38 - 12.
The difference in the scores does not reflect the performance on the pitch at all, The Presidents spent the majority of the second half defending and credit where credit is due they held strong and took their chances when they presented themselves. This was the perfect test for the President's XV and they will feel confident going into their next game against United Services Portsmouth RFC on 2 Feb 16 at USSG Portsmouth, KO 1900.
AET Chris Warner - RNAS Culdrose
LA(AH) Barney Barnaschone - RNAS Culdrose
LMA Sam Winfield - HMS PORTLAND
ET(WE)SM Luke Berry - HMS TRENCHANT
AB Ben Watson - RNAS Culdrose
MNE Alex Cragg - 40 CDO RM
LT Dan Kennedy - RNAS Yeovilton
AB Chris McDonald - HMS OCEAN
LAET Ryan Cox - RNAS Culdrose
MNE Kurt Gledhill - 40 CDO RM
AET Paul Saberton - HMS Sultan
AET Greg Loydall - RNAS Culdrose
LAET Rich Hall - RNAS Yeovilton
MNE Kyle Wood
MNE Pat Coy - 43 CDO RM
AB Charlie Bennett - HMS Nelson
ET(ME) Navlivou Sulaisi - HMS PORTLAND
AB Ben Jeacock - HMS Collingwood
AB Blake Smith - HMS OCEAN
LET Alan Bodel - HMS VENGENCE
LT Ryan Morrison - CTCRM
AB Chandler Smith - HMS OCEAN
Match report by LPT Samual Sims
Images by Alligin Photography © Mark Andrews