Three on the Spin - Royal Marines Champions Again
Inverdale Challenge Final
Royal Marines v Fleet Air Arm
On a night when previous form counted for nothing, the Royal Marines became the Inverdale Champions for the third time in a row. Prior to Christmas the Bootnecks put sixty points on their old rivals. However, the Fleet Air Arm traveled with a much stronger squad and with the Royal Marines missing numerous players due to COVID19 support, this was always going to be a tight affair.
From the off the game was a bruising encounter, with players carrying hard and being met with thunderous tackles that left the spectators wincing. The first 20 minutes saw both teams score excellent tries, but the FAA set piece was doing considerable damage. However, for the remainder of the half Royal settled and established their familiar, expansive, high tempo game which saw them score two more tries and go in with a deserved 29-10 lead.
After the break, the Naval airmen piled on the pressure but somehow the green machine repelled wave after wave of bombardment. Eventually FAA were rewarded by scoring a converted try and the game was set for a tight finish. The teams traded blows for the final twenty mins before the knockout waspunch delivered by Craig Duncan giving the Marines a very hard-earned victory.
"We knew coming into this how hard it was going to be. We spoke a lot about forgetting the previous result and focusing on tonight, and I'm so proud of the lads. It's been a great season for us, and we deserve to retain our title. Post-Christmas has been a real challenge with so many players away in Norway or supporting COVID taskings." Said Maj Oli Mason, Royal Marines Head Coach.
Both teams will now see numerous player feature in the Senior Men’s XV matches as the Royal Navy builds towards a return to playing at Twickenham. After a final of such high standard Dave Pascoe has a wealthy crop of player to select from. The Senior Men’s XV play Taunton RFC on Wednesday 9th February in Taunton, the Kick-Off is at 1930.