Royal Navy Sharks season starts with success!
Bury St Edmunds 7's Competition
Their first outing of the season to Bury St Edmunds for the Greene King IPA 7s competition saw the Sharks come home with the silverware, beating the Exiles to win the plate.
In the open competition the Sharks were drawn in Group F with the Samuari Bulldogs, the Stunts and Culford. Comfortably winning their first two games 19-12 against the Stunts and 21-12 against Culford, the final group match against the Bulldogs was a very different story, with the Bulldogs outpacing the Sharks out wide, securing themselves a 35-5 victory and top of the group.
The Sharks next opponents were Apache Brave in the cup competition semi-final. As the clear winners of group E, the Apache Brave were the favourites and ran out victorious 38-10. This meant the Sharks would face the Exiles, who were the other beaten semi-finalists, in the Plate final.
Prior to their final match, the ex-England, Wasps, London Irish and Newcastle fly half Andy Goode paid the Navy camp a visit to wish them good luck. It was also the chance for a childhood dream to come true for Greg Loydall who had grown up idolising Goode and had always wanted to meet him and have his picture taken with him.
Following Goode's positive words and advice, the Sharks took to the field against the Exiles. The Exiles took a very early lead inside the opening minute, but the Sharks bounced back to take a slender 14-10 half time lead. However another quick start from the Exiles put them back in the lead which is how the scoreboard stayed for the majority of the second half. But the Sharks came back in the final 90 seconds of the game pushing forward and eventually Loydall, inspired by Andy Goode, broke through, going outside his defender, to go over in the corner deep into added time to give the Sharks the win 19-15.
Jarrard Hayler, fresh from RN Senior XV duty at Twickenham, played every minute of every game, ably leading the young squad by example. Along with fellow Senior XV camp team members, Loydall and Griggs, they were keen to share their recent experience to the benefit of the Sharks.
The tournament was an excellent start to the 7s season and a great way to bed in the players that are new to 7s and representative rugby with those that have the experience to guide them. Team Managers Guy Pallet and Pony Moore were delighted to come away with a trophy and look forward to building on the baseline, seeking to improve every time the team comes together whilst maintaining the aim of developing core skills and new talent.
The next tournament will be played at Hartpury, GL19 3BE, on Saturday 14 May, starting at 1000, visitor entry is free and some new players will be joining the squad.
Lee Benzie, Sam Benzie, Richard Binns, John Bolaitamana, Nick Burgess, Ben Chambers, Todd Crofts, Adam Gallagher, James Griggs, Jarrard Hayler (c), Ben Jeacock, Rob McGregor, Greg Loydall
Images by Alligin Photography / © Pony Moore