The Mighty Mariners take on Havant RFC
It was a cold clear night in Portsmouth as the Royal Navy Rugby Union Mariners assembled to take on a strong Havant RFC team. The select crowd, including the Portsmouth University Netball Team, were entertained by an energetic display of rugby, with plenty of passing and tries for both teams. The final score Mariners 34 – Havant RFC 30.
It was Havant who opened the scoring crossing the line out wide to take the lead 0 - 5. And a few minutes later they were able to add to their tally with a successful penalty kick awarded following a tip tackle. With the scoreboard reading 0 - 8 the Mariners knew it was time to get their act together. And this they did in some style; the first try came from outside centre James, and was converted by scrum half, Saberton and was followed up ten minutes later with Dan Lockey finding his way through the Havant defence and the Royal Navy took the lead 12 - 8.
Both teams were determined to add to their score and the Mariners had to defend hard to prevent Havant getting the next try. Then it was the turn of the Navy forwards, working through the phases and into the Havant territory. Working hard they found their way to the try line and second row veteran Marsh Cormack added another 5 points for the home side, 17 - 8. Following a great break from Smallbone and James it looked as if the Mariners would increase their lead but the Havant defence caught them in time, and turned it around to score another converted try at the end of the first half. With the scoreboard reading 17 - 15 there was all to play for in the second half.
The Mariners were first to score, with Saberton adding three points with a penalty kick, 20 - 15 but extending their lead was to be short-lived as Havant quickly followed up with a try. There was no let up in the action, as first one team and then the other gained possession and looked to score. A number of replacements also kept the energy levels up; Fentum, Dugmore, Meluish, Evans and West replaced Peel, Lister, Smith and Thompson for the Mariners.
The next points came from Olly James, scoring his second try of the night which was swiftly converted to take the Mariners 7 points clear, 27 - 20. Following a try from replacement John Bola a minute later, converted by Fentum, and a red card to the Havant No 8 for a high tackle it looked as if the Mariners had the match sewn up leading 34 - 20.
However with 20 minutes left to play Havant were not giving up. Sustained pressure from the visitors was rewarded in the 72nd minute as they found a gap in the Mariners' defence out wide, adding 5 points to their total. A few minutes later they successfully repeated the move for another try in the corner to close the gap 34 - 30.
With the Portsmouth University Netball Team cheering on their coach, a member of the Havant team, the spectators were kept on the edge of their seats until the final whistle but there were no further scores, only a yellow card for the Mariners. When the referee blew his whistle after 80 minutes, the final score was 34 - 30, with both sides having played a superb, energetic match of rugby, delighting the crowd.
The Mariners will be looking to build upon this exciting performance on 7 March when they travel to Cardiff Arms Park to take on the Prison Service KO 1415.
1. K Lister, 2. R Jones 3. J Court, 4. J Lamsin, 5. M Cormack, 6. M Smith, 7. S Hillmam, 8. Thompson, 9. Saberton, 10. D Smallbone, 11. A Peel, 12. D Lockey, 13. O James, 14. M Boyce, 15. A Vance, 16 White, 17. O Dugmore,
18. R Cozens, 19. N West, 20. R Fuca, 21. J Bola. 22. D Fentum 23.G Evans, 24. Meluish
Images Royal Navy Rugby Union/© Keith Woodland