Success for Sharks - cup winners at Yeovil 7s



The 3 Royal Navy Rugby Union Sharks teams at Yeovil 7s
Sam Benzie receives the cup winner's trophy on behalf of the Royal Navy Rugby Union Sharks
Gav Elsam playing for the Royal Navy Rugby Union Sharks
The Royal Navy Stingrays in action at the Yeovil 7s
Royal Navy Sharks v Jerry's Sailors
Ollie Critchley gets away from the Pink Ladies
Billi Staite scores for the Royal Navy Makos

The first cup win of the season for the Sharks came at the Yeovil 7s rugby festival last weekend. It was a two-day event and the RNRU entered 3 teams, the Sharks, the Sharks development side - the Stingrays and the RN Women's 7s side - the Makos. This was the second time this season that all 3 teams have come together to play at a tournament. The teams arrived with an air of optimism. The Sharks had 6 players unavailable so with the new players in the team they were unsure of what to expect. Kyle Wood and Robbie Elder were a couple of the new players for this event. The Stingrays also had some new players joining in for the first time with Ryan Bolton, Matt Horton and Alex Mcanley eager to show their talents. First timers for the Makos were Izzy Rawlinson and Amy Byrne.

Round 1 was a mixed bag of results. The Sharks started with real pace with Olly Newborn scoring in the first 30 seconds in the corner against the host club Yeovil RFC, the tempo was set with another score from Newborn followed by a Kyle Wood Hat trick and one from Matt Holland for a 45-5 FT score. The Stingrays lost their first game against the Morganians 38-12 as the players were still getting used to the 7s game and the Makos were the same with a loss against Bath Ladies 25-10 FT.

Round 2 had a different feel. The Makos played North Petherton in a game full of great phases, building on the efforts from the last game. They lost 15-5 FT but were making great improvements. The Stingrays also built on the loss and dominated their next game versus The Aretians, winning 43-7 FT, however for the Sharks it was a game of disappointment against the Karuta Turtles, when a drop-in concentration at key stages allowed the Turtles to beat the Sharks 7-17 FT.

By round 3 the players were starting to get to grips with the process. The Stingrays proved this by beating the #SP2Crew with another high score 36-7 FT. The Sharks started their next game against Jerry Sailors on the right tracks with Roko Kurusasa scoring first followed by another from Gavin Elsam to finish the half leading 12-5. But after the break the Sharks were unable to string a handful of passes together and the Sailors cast their net and tamed the Sharks to win 12-20 FT. However, the Makos were in great form against the Pink Ladies. Oli Critchley scored a brace with Charlie Fredrickson and Amy Byrne adding tries before half time 22-0. In the second half Izzy Rawlinson, Louise Worsfold and Sam Alderson all found form scoring to finish the game 39-0 and the Makos had their first win.

In round 4 the Sharks bounced back to winning ways against the 'Moths in a China Shop' with Wood scoring all the points to win 15-5. The Stingrays had a tough game against the Aniers, resulting in a narrow loss 19-21 FT. The Makos were now on form recording their second win of the day beating Swanage and Wareham 52-0. Some excellent team tries from Billi Staite finished off a good day for the Makos, this was to be their last match as they finished 3rd in their group and progressed no further but they had a great day playing some tough teams.

With a short turnaround between games the Sharks and Stingrays were ready for the next test in round 5. The Stingrays faced the Free Range Organic Seahorses and the Sharks played the Nakelo Spartans. With nothing to lose the Stingrays had their best game of the day scoring tries with ease in the light Somerset mizzle to win 48-0 but, the same as the Makos, they finished 3rd in their group and played no further matches. For the Sharks it was a must win game for a chance to progress to the final. Roko scored after 3 mins followed by stand out player Holland with a length of the pitch run to finish the half 14-0 HT but again the concentration was not there and the Spartans got 2 back 14-12 before Holland got his second with 1min to go to win 19-12. The Sharks progressed to the cup final on day 2.

The Sharks arrived back at Yeovil RFC rested and prepared to win this one last game. They were up against the Karuta Turtles who had beaten them in round 2. Holland was first on the score sheet with another fine break 7-0, and that’s how it stayed until half time - the game was very evenly matched. After the turnaround Kyle Wood powered through under the posts to extend the lead 14-0 and it was starting to look better, but the Turtles never gave up and got a try back 14-7. However it was too little too late and the Sharks had won their first cup of the season. As well as winning the team were delighted to have progressed into the RFU 24/7s qualifier in Exeter on the 15th July. If they win that they travel to the Bath RFC for the national final.

In all it was a fantastic cup win for the Sharks and a great weekend for the RNRU. The Sharks have time to reflect on how they played at Yeovil and go away and start planning for Newquay 7s on the 24th June where they will be travelling with the Stingrays.

The Sharks family would like to thank Yeovil RFC and all the back-room staff for the festival.

Seva Naulago (captain), Sam Benzie, Roko Kurusasa, Robbie Elder, Liam Williams, Callum Southgate, Matt Holland, Gavin Elsam, Semi Tabanavesi, Chris Mills, Ollie Newborn, Ben Chambers and Kyle Wood.

Tom Tyrell (captain), Ratu Rodelana, Apenisa Daukibau, Kolinio Takali, Simon Tulakepa, Alex Mcanley, Lee Benzie, and Matt Horton.

Sarah Jenkins (captain), Megan Collyer, Louise Worsfold, Billi Staite, Oli Critchley, Sam Alderson, Charlie Fredrickson, Megan Lunn, Amy Byrne and Izzy Rawlinson.

Words by Guy Pallett
Images Royal Navy Rugby Union © John Walton