Second Half Surge Gives Navy Comfortable Victory
RN Senior XV
A second half hat trick from Navy Number 8, Dave Fairbrother, made up for a forgettable first half and allowed the Royal Navy to register an important and ultimately comfortable victory. It also sent the considerable home crowd away happy, their patience through the first half being rewarded with six second half tries.
Aside from an early penalty from Royal Navy full back, Jon Humphrey, the first half was a staccato affair with too many errors punctuating the play. The Royal Navy’s backs had started brightly and their crisp handling set up some promising opportunities. However as frustration crept into their play so the penalty count rose and the crispness was replaced by uncertainty and unforced errors. It was no surprise that the Royal Navy lost a player to the sin bin as there were simply too many penalties being conceded. It was the skipper who was the miscreant at the wrong time as the referee’s patience broke, Ben Priddey’s failure to release was rewarded with a ten minute break closely followed by Josh Terry who’s attempt to remove a Worthing player’s scrum cap failed but still raised the hackles of the man in the middle. Six minutes with thirteen men was probably not in the game plan but to the Royal Navy’s credit they weathered the period well, and in a disciplined manner, perhaps there is a lesson to be heeded.
It was Worthing who started the second half the more brightly. With the wind behind them and another early penalty they soon had the Navy under pressure in their own 22m line. Strong defence from the home side forced them back and as they became a little ragged in attack, Josh Jones picked off an interception and scampered up the pitch. Vainly looking for support he was hauled down on the Worthing 22m line but kept the ball alive. The Navy poured forward in attack and it was Worthing’s time to concede the penalty at the break down. Spurning the kick at goal the Navy kept the pressure on the Worthing defence with a five metre lineout. Worthing managed to hold out but the Navy won a five metre scrum and from this drove the Worthing pack back over their line for Dave Fairbrother to score the opening try, converted by Jon Humphrey.
So often after scoring teams go back in to their shell. However from the restart the Navy surged back up field through a scything break by centre replacement Matt Tichias. Continuity was maintained down the left flank before the ball was brought back in to midfield and Fairbrother chose a delightful angle to cross for his second, again with Humphrey landing the conversion.
The two scores livened up the home crowd who suddenly found their voices. However they had to wait a while before the Navy’s third score. When it did come if was from a deft kick through from fly half Josh Jones. With perfect weight it held up in In Goal for Matt Tichias to win the race to the ball and clam the third score. It was richly deserved as he had made a significant impact since coming on as a second half replacement.
The game was by now won although it was important for the Navy to keep looking to go forward and when they were forced to defend, to defend with intensity. This they managed to achieve and the fact that they kept a clean sheet was a major positive as at times the Worthing attack had looked inventive, spurred on by former Army Captain, Howard Graham, at fly half. It was the Royal Navy defence that should be credited with the next two tries, along with a return of the Navy backline’s fluency in the counter attack. Twice the pressure of the Royal Navy defence forced the turnover of possession and twice the Royal Navy showed good enterprise to counter attack with pace and in numbers. On each occasion it was Johnny Marlin who crossed for the try though the clean break by replacement loose head prop, Tom Blackburn probably received the loudest cheer. With John Humphrey unerring with the boot the score was quickly wracking up and with normal time up the Royal Navy had eased to a 38-0 lead.
Was there time for one more try? Just about. With Worthing transgressing at a lineout the Royal Navy took a five metre scrum instead of the kick and in a mirror image of their first try drove over the line for Dave Fairbrother to claim his third and the Royal Navy’s sixth try of the evening. Jon Humphrey landed his most difficult kick and the final score 45 – 0 showed the transformation in the second half; but with more difficult games to come it is the lessons from the first half that may well define the Royal Navy’s season.
Royal Navy: Josh Terry *, Mark Jones, John Court *, Tom Cowley *, Marsh Cormack *. Edd Pascoe, Ben Priddey (Capt) *, Dave Fairbrother *, Johnny Stephen *, Josh Jones, Richard Cadywould, Sam Benzie, Silvenusi Buinmasi *, Ratu Roko Kurasasa, Jon Humphrey *
Replacements: Harry Collins *, Tom Blackburn *, Kye Beasley *, Graham Butterworth, Scott Puleston, Matt Harvey *, Callum Cone, Johnny Marlin *, Matt Tichias *, Jared Hayler
*- capped player
Worthing Raiders A: Jordan Gibson, Charlie Piper, Matt Finney, Dave Yates (Capt), Charlie Watts, Elliot Luke, Jon Whittall, Jmaes Arthur, Dan Peach, Howard Graham, Paddy Egg, Paul Burns, Matt Farnes, Iain Greenwood, Chris Double
Replacements: Tom Lanaway, Josh Gilmartin, Jmie Ure, Harvey Bevan, Adam Long, Oli James, Josh Sheppard, Barnie Lyons, Ben Coulson
Next Match: Esher v Royal Navy at Esher RFC Wednesday 4th March 2015 KO 19:45
Article by Geraint Ashton Jones
Alligin Photography / © Geraint Ashton Jones & © Kyle Mason