BABCOCK INTER SERVICES RUGBY UNION CHAMPIONSHIP 2010
The Royal Navy notched up a resounding victory against a young and spirited Royal Air Force team in Portsmouth on Saturday in the opening match of the Babcock Inter Services Competition. Earlier in the day, the Royal Navy Veterans narrowly missed out after a second half come back, losing by 16 points to 19. This was followed by a well deserved win for the Royal Navy Women by 14 points to 11. With the honours even between the Services, the scene was set for a trilling clash that would see the Royal Navy Senior XV aiming for its 50th win over the men in light blue.
Fielding 4 new caps in the starting line up, and 4 more on the bench, the Navy team was to show from the kick off that they were all fit, strong and determined to play a high tempo and physical game.
After only 5 minutes of play, an early break by Navy full back Rob Lloyd (42 Cdo RM), good continuity and recycling, resulted in Navy standoff Wayne John (HMS Liverpool) crossing the line for the first points of the evening (converted by Dave Pascoe (RNAS Culdrose). Pascoe then converted a penalty to put the Navy into a 10 point lead after 14 minutes. Just minutes later, centre Dale Sleeman (HMS Cumberland), marked his debut in fine style by adding the Navy's second try (unconverted). Four more tries followed for the Navy, from full back Rob Lloyd (42 Cdo RM), back rows Les Dennis (HMS Nelson) and Greg Barden (RM Poole),and a second try from Rob Lloyd. The RAF points from a penalty kick put the half time score at 39 - 3 to the RN.
In the second half, the Navy added a further tally of tries from Josh Drauniniu (HMNB Portsmouth), Rob Lloyd, Greg Barden, second row and new Cap Dennis Scotthorne (42 Cdo RM), centre Calum Macrae CTCRM) and back row, and new cap, Kieran Morton (UKLFCSG). When the final whistle blew, the score was Royal Navy 73 Royal Air Force 3.
The large crowd was treated to a game of open, running rugby that saw the Navy play at a high tempo and intensity. Every Navy break was met by resounding cheers from the home supporters, who watched an expansive and flowing game unfold. In the face of this dark blue onslaught, the RAF remained resolute and kept working hard for each other until the end. Led by their uncompromising and experienced second row Howard Parr, there were individual performances of note that auger well for the future of RAF rugby; 19 year old back row Sam Attwooll in particular showed huge promise for the future. The score in the Navy's favour did not really reflect the level of commitment and teamwork of the RAF side.
The Navy team played as a cohesive unit throughout, clearly reaping the benefits of their Training Camp at HMS Nelson. Several players stood out as deserving of mention fo their performances. Damien Chambers, who has missed out for the last 2 years due to injury, made a huge impact from the No 8 position that created gaps for the back row of Dennis and Barden to exploit. Gaz Evans in the open field was as devastating as ever and his unselfish pass of the ball in sight of the line allowed Josh to score. Josh has clearly made the most of his time spent with the England 7s squad and showed this in his jinking running style that has now been enhanced by his ability to off-load in the tackle. Young Sleeman at centre has shown throughout the season that he is a talented player, working alongside Calum and Scott to produce a ‘steel wall' in defence and a fast explosive reaction to any ball that is turned over. Finally, ‘Man of the Match' Marsh Cormack had what has to be one of his best ever performances in the navy shirt. His open field play, either as a ball carrier or in support was outstanding.
Royal Navy Director of Rugby, Geraint Ashton Jones, whilst pleased with the result, sounded a note of caution: "This was a very encouraging performance from the Navy squad and I was particularly pleased with the way the new players delivered on the park" he said, "however, there are still 3 weeks of hard work before we face our sternest test against the Army on 1st May at Twickenham."
Royal Navy: Mne Rob Lloyd (42 Cdo RM); LAET Andy Vance (HMS Nelson); LCpl Calum Macrae (CTCRM); ET(ME) Dale Sleeman (HMS Cumberland) (rep Mne Scott Llewellyn (Cdo Log Regt RM) - 57 min); AB Logs (CS) Josh Drauniniu (HMNB Portsmouth); POET(WE) Wayne John (HMS Liverpool); POAET Dave Pascoe (Capt) (RNAS Culdrose) (rep Mne Jonny Stephen (CTCRM) - 41 min); NA(AH) Kyle Mason (RNAS Culdrose) (rep POA(AH) Jan Laity (RNAS Culdrose) - 57 min); Cpl Gareth Evans (539 ASRM); Mne Mark Owen (42 Cdo RM) (rep AB(WS) Marc Roberts (HMS Bulwark) - 8min); LAET Marsh Cormack (RNAS Culdrose); Capt Stuart McLaren (RMR Bristol) (rep Mne Mike Egglestone (45 Cdo RM) - 45 min); POPT Les Dennis (HMS Nelson) (rep Mne Kieran Morton (UKLFCSG) - 50 min); Cpl Greg Barden (RM Poole); Cpl Damien Chambers (UKLFCSG) (rep Mne Dennis Scotthorne (42 Cdo RM) - 60 min).