Victory over the Vikings
RN Senior XV
The penultimate match of the season for the Royal Navy Senior XV saw them travel up the A3 to the ground of Richmond RFC to take on the Richmond Vikings. In the 2016 season the Navy won the first encounter and the Vikings were able to get their revenge later in the season so the spectators knew this was going to be an entertaining clash. It proved to be a high scoring game but the Navy took the lead from the start and despite a spirited performance from the Vikings they could never regain the lead with the Navy winning 28 - 47.
The sun was still shining as Harry Collins led the Navy side out and it only took 4 minutes for Lewis Cooper to touch down for the first try of the game. A successful lineout resulted in a driving maul to get the dark blues over the line and with the successful conversion by full back Rich Cadywould the scoreboard read 0 -7.
From the restart, Richmond were slow to respond and the visitors dominated possession and territory for the majority of the first quarter. However there was one casualty, scrum half Cory Moore took a heavy knock after 12 minutes and was replaced by Gareth Rees. Richmond made a couple of forays into Navy territory but it wasn't until the 26th minute that they turned the pressure into points with a converted try to level the score 7 - 7.
The Navy responded immediately. Rees Dimmock-Williams found a gap in the Richmond defence, sprinting down the right wing to score the Navy's second try of the night, to take the lead 7 - 14. And before the crowd could draw breath, he scored another in quick succession, running the length of the pitch, to stretch the lead 7 - 19.
With ten minutes to play in the first half Richmond started to look strong, camped out on the Navy 5 metre line. The Navy team were forced to defend hard, but held firm, and managed to turn the tables just before the half time whistle with Seta Raumakita notching up another 5 points and two more for the conversion by Cadywould made it 7 - 26 going into the break.
Richmond Director of Rugby clearly gave an effective team talk because the Vikings started strongly, working through the phases and finding a gap in the Navy defence, closing the gap 14 - 26. But the Navy weren't going to let them get back into the game and from the restart Navy newcomer, Sam Matavesi, saw a gap and went for it, scoring the Navy's fifth try of the evening. In a replay of the first half, another Navy try quickly followed, this time scored by winger Matt Bowden to stretch the lead 14 - 40.
Keen to get game time for the full squad the replacements were introduced; Edd Pascoe on for Makepeace, Tris Trehan on for Cooper. Chris Warner, Sili Buinimasi and Ben Fox came on as Dave Fairbrother and Greg Loydall left the pitch. While the replacements were settling down Richmond capitalised on their position, gaining territory, looking for an opening. Moving forward, they got the overlap and touched down into the corner. With the conversion Richmond were trying to get back in the game 21 - 40.
Another change for the Navy, Dom Taylor on for Sam Matavesi, was quick to make an impact - with the visitors' 7th try of the night, and the scoreboard read 21 - 47. Lesser sides would have given up, but not the Vikings. As the match entered the final quarter they were determined to stay in the game. Pinning the Navy down in their own half, Richmond kept their shape, running again and again at the Navy defenders. The Navy line held strong time after time but the huge knocks kept coming and must have taken its toll on the Navy defence, because with a few minutes left to play, the Vikings persistence paid off and they broke through the dark blue line for their fourth try of the night 28 - 47. This was to be the final score of the night.
The Navy team will be buoyed by their win, following their narrow defeat at the hands of the RAF in the first round of the Inter Service competition. The final match of the season is the highlight - the Army v Navy match at Twickenham on Saturday 29th April, kick off 1500. You can follow it live on Sky Sports 2 or Forces TV.
Team List: G Evans, H Collins (c), C Robinson, S Makepeace, O Mason, D Fairbrother, S Matavesi, L Cooper, C Moore, N Huntley, M Bowden, G Loydall, S Raumakita, R Dimmock-Williams, R Cadywould. Replacements: T Hughes, T Jones, C Warner, E Pascoe, T Trehan, G Rees, E Myers, S Buinimasi, B Fox, D Taylor.
Images Royal Navy Rugby Union/© John Walton