Second match of the season ends in a draw




Cambridge University

The Royal Navy Rugby Union U23s' second match of the season ended in a 20 - 20 draw when they took on the Cambridge University LX side on Sunday afternoon.  A small group of loyal supporters enjoyed the sunshine at Burnaby Road and saw the Royal Navy side come from behind in the first half and take the lead in the second half.  Unfortunately they couldn't stop the capable Cambridge team drawing level in the final moments of the match.

From the kick off the Navy side moved quickly into the opposition half, asserting their authority and making the most of their home advantage however Cambridge responded well to the early pressure and found a way through the Navy line.  The result was a try for the Cambridge right winger which was smoothly converted by the inside centre as Cambridge took the lead 0 - 7.

The home side were quick to respond and after working through the phases they found themselves gaining territory.  The team had clearly been working on some of their set moves and the line out was significantly improved from the previous week.  It was from such a line out that the Navy team gathered momentum, and prop, Frogley, propelled himself over the line to add 5 points to the scoreboard.  Scrum half, Burgess, an experienced Navy U23 player, easily converted the try to level the score 7 - 7.  However Frogley wasn't given the chance to repeat his score as he left the pitch injured shortly afterwards and Treveil came on to replace him. 

Royal Navy Rugby Union referee Tim Bailey took firm charge of the match and after a quick re-brief of the players, Burgess kicked a penalty and the home side took the lead 10 -7.  The next score was from another penalty kick, this time taken by Cambridge inside centre.  His reliable kick levelled the scoreboard 10 - 10.

Another Navy player, Joshua Green, left the pitch injured and was replaced by Isaac Salt, a veteran from the 2016 Inter Service winning team.  But despite the addition of an experienced player it was Cambridge who made the final score of the first half; with some swift passing they gained territory and eventually found a way through the Navy defence, scoring right in the far corner.  However this time the inside centre couldn't make the conversion.  Nevertheless, Cambridge went into the break with the lead 10 - 15.

As the teams returned to the field for the second half, Navy team captain, Scott Makepeace led his team out, determined to get back into the game.  And it wasn't long before the spectators had something to celebrate as the second row player led by example, powering forward for a score, which was converted for the Navy to take the lead 17 - 15.  Another three points were added soon after from a penalty and the Navy were 20 - 15 ahead. 

As this was only the second match of the season the team management were keen to expose a wide range of players to the pressure of a match and a number of substitutions were made and Tyler-Holland, Lindsay, Jones and Bramwell all came on.  This allowed new player, Miteli Vakalaca, fresh from new entry training at HMS Raleigh, to move from the backs to the back row.  However the changes seemed to unsettle the home team and they never really got back into the game and play became a little scrappy. 

It was in the final minutes of the game when Cambridge scored their third try of the afternoon and as the kicker failed to make the conversion the referee blew the whistle for full time.  The scoreboard showed a 20 - 20 draw.

Despite conceding a try in the final minutes the Royal Navy U23s should be pleased with their performance.  The training sessions over the weekend had given them time to train together, improving their set pieces and allowing them to begin to bond as a team.  The Training Support Group have been very happy to see a number of new players emerge through the open trial weekend and are keen to involve and develop this new talent.

After their match away at Chichester RFC last Wednesday, the team now have a short rest before their next match away at Bournemouth RFC against Dorset and Wiltshire U23s on Sunday 22 October, kick off 2.30pm.

Team List:
Sam Vernon, Gareth Yeomans, Callum Frogley, Joshua Green, Scott Makepeace (captain), Shaun Bramwell, Joe Morgan, Ben Roberts, Nick Burgess, Jackson Acreman, Owen Foster, Ben Jeacock, Miteli Vakalaca, Josh Townsend, Cameron Haimes, Sean Bramwell, Isaac Salt, Nathan Treveil, Matt Scott, Thomas Lindsay, Mason Tyler-Holland, Craig Jones.

Images Royal Navy Rugby Union © John Walton