Royal Navy Medical Services (RNMS) Vs Old Penarthians
Royal Navy Medical Services (RNMS)
The opening game of the season for the Royal Navy Medical Services was a friendly fixture against Old Penarthians for the second year in a row. The first meeting between the two ended with a loss for the RNMS with only one try in it so this year, with the introduction of new players and an experienced coaching staff for the first time, the RNMS were feeling confident. Usually a side who often struggle for numbers turned up to the fixture with 19 names on the team sheet. Following a top table lunch at the United Services Mess in Cardiff and a tour of the Millennium Stadium the RNMS met at Old Pen's for an hour's training.
Led by new skipper LMA (Sam) Winfield or 'Winnie', the RNMS took to the field and lost the toss with Old Pen's choosing the half so RNMS had the kick off. A new addition to the squad MNE MA (Craig) Galloway started the game with the kick falling just short of the 10 metre line and Old Pens opting for a scrum. The scrums were passive due to the lack of experience in the front row on both sides. It was clear from the start that the RNMS lack of cohesion and time spent training and playing together would once again be their downfall. Old Pens capitalised on this with a well worked backs move allowing them to score the first try of the game around the 5 minute mark. The restart from Galloway was much better this time and the RNMS were able to put pressure on Old Pens from the kick off. Old Pens, realising the RNMS defence was a bit rusty, switched the play from one direction to another enabling them to spin the ball wide, find a gap and score the second try of the game. With both tries converted the score now 14-0 and only 10 minutes gone Winnie had to rally the troops. After 20 minutes the RNMS was down 19-0 and it looked like it could be a painful evening for the newly rejuvenated squad. Once again Winnie and Vice-Captain POMA (Chris) Jones rallied the troops and the remaining 20 minutes showed a marked improvement for the RNMS. Holding the defensive lines better and showing potential with ball in hand the RNMS spend periods in the Old Pens 22m area but a strong defensive line managed to prevent the RNMS from getting points on the board. A few changes made during the first half with another debut for MA (James) Savage coming on at 9 and pushing Jones to 13 as MA (Tom) Williamson came off injured. LT (Chris) Nicholson also added pace the back row. The pressure from the RNMS remained with SGT (Dave) Tutt crossing the line, in his debut game for the RNMS, only for the referee to not be clear if the ball was grounded. Old Pen’s remained a well organised and drilled side for the remainder of the first half preventing the RNMS from scoring and managing to steal a fourth try to go into half time 24-0.
After coaching input from SLt (Les) Dennis and POAET (Owen) Salmon the second half was much more evenly contested. Areas to work on that had been spoken about at half time were the breakdown, crucial in attack and defence.
The RNMS started the second half the way they finished the first, with the forwards taking the coaches’ message onboard, and starting to employ a stronger defensive line and tackling in and around the ruck denying Old Pens the opportunity to get over the gain line. Some good phases of play for the forwards recycling the ball well allowed the ball to get out to the RNMS Backs as they started to make ground. The introduction of LMA (Gav) Isaacs in the centre added an extra bit of pace and the RNMS pushed further up the field. The RNMS had a line out just inside the Old Pens 22m jumping well all game MA (Lewis) Baxter (another new addition) won the line out and the RNMS crossed the gain line. Quick ball from Savage to Galloway from the ruck and a neat offload to MA (Sam) Gould and over the line he went for the RNMS first try of the game, unconverted, the score now 24-5.
Once again the experience of playing together regularly and with then RNMS tiring, the Old Pens were able to push over for another two tries; the second half finished 2 tries to 1 showing improvement for the RNMS with a final score of 36-5. Sadly an unfair reflection of the hard work, determination and effort from the RNMS lads. The sun began to set and the RNMS left the field with heads held high knowing everything was left on the pitch and no more could have been asked by the coaches and skipper. Plenty of positives for the squad with numbers increasing and more fixtures this year than ever before, the RNMS are set for a good season.
LMA S Winfield (CTCRM)
LT D Salisbury (DMS Whittington) (Rep MA S Gould (DMS Whittington))
MNE(MA) B Walsh (DMS Whittington)
MA S Cairns (RNAS Yeovilton) (Rep LT C Nicholson (RNLA Collingwood))
SGT D Tutt (DMS Whittington)
MA L Baxter (DMS Whittington)
MNE(MA) D Bowman (1 AGRAM)
MA C Stokes (42 Cdo RM)
POMA C Jones (DMS Whittington) (Vice Captain)
MNE(MA) C Galloway (DMS Whittington)
CPONN P Hornsey (DMS Whittington)
MA T Williamson (HMS Nelson) (Rep MA J Savage (DMS Whittington))
POPT Barnes (JSU Northwood) (Rep LMA G Isaacs (HMS Raleigh))
MNE(MA) B Dixon (DMS Whittington)
LPT D Fentum (DMS Whittington)