Tough start to the Inter Service championship for the Royal Navy Women
The Royal Navy Rugby Union Women faced an impressive RAF team, playing for the first time at the Twickenham Stoop. In honour of the occasion a new trophy was named and awarded, the Molly Rose trophy, and after 80 minutes, it was the RAF Women who took it home.
On the hottest day of the year so far, the Royal Navy Rugby Union Women faced the Royal Air Force Women at the Twickenham Stoop playing for the inaugural Molly Rose Trophy.
Keen to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the RAF with a victory, the RAF women attacked strongly from the start. They capitalised on a small handling error from the Royal Navy and quickly scored to begin the match with a 7-point advantage. From the restart the RAF again mounted a strong attack, which notwithstanding a valiant defence effort led to the RAF scoring their second try of the game. The Royal Navy Women mounted a spirited attack following the restart and despite forcing the RAF to make a number of errors, the RAF managed to break through the Royal Navy defence to score a third try. As the half continued the RAF mounted fierce attacks; the ball was ripped from Abi Newey of the RAF and a combination of Nic Elvidge and Billi Staite quickly moved the match into the RAF 22, however a penalty provided the RAF with an escape route and they capitalised with a fourth try. Once again the Royal Navy mounted an aggressive attack. A high tackle by the RAF led to a yellow card offence and a penalty that the Royal Navy used to put 3 points onto the scoreboard. Despite being down to 14 players, the RAF broke through the RN defence before the half time whistle to end the first half with a score of 3-29.
The RAF began the second half by quickly scoring another try. From the restart the Royal Navy began a determined attack which commenced with Olivia Critchley quickly making ground into the RAF 22; unfortunately an intercepted pass led to a further RAF try and a score of 3-46. Despite the score, the Royal Navy Women did not give up and produced an exceptional attack that saw a sustained period of time in the RAF 22. The Royal Navy Women were unable to breech the impressive RAF defence and the game finished 3-53.
The Royal Navy Women worked hard during the match and demonstrated the grit and determination to succeed. The team should be rightly proud of their performance, significantly reducing the points margin from the 2017 encounter and scoring points of their own. The team made history playing at the Twickenham Stoop for the Molly Rose Trophy and for Holly Till, the day will always be remembered for winning her first Royal Navy Cap. The Royal Navy Women face the Army Women on 5th May 2018 at Kneller Hall for the final match of the season.
Team: Emily Park, Alice Kightley, Kate Parkman, Emily Howard, Abi Gilbertson, Loz Salisbury, Charlotte Fredrickson, Helen Stevenson, Olivia Critchley, Sarah Jenkins, Billi Staite, Cheryl Goodwin, Nic Elvidge, Emma Swinton, Sam Alderson, Katie Ives, Abi Sondack, Hannah Coyle, Yvonne Mealy, Kirsty Marlor, Tara Tuivaga, Holly Till, Drew Powell
Words: John Brennan
Images: Royal Navy Rugby Union © John Walton