BOGOF win for Cumberland
After three months at sea, HMS Cumberland's rugby team finally returned to playing rugby during their recent visit to Dubai. First up was a match against the Dubai Potbellies. With young centre Dale Sleeman away from the ship with the Senior XV (preparing for Commonwealth Cup 2009) former U23 centre and recently joined AWEO (Adam Newnes) filled the 12 birth and provided the running legs for the aging Sibbo at Fly Half. However it was Dave's kicking skills which fashioned Cumberland's first score. Having regained their own kick-off Sibbo sent a perfectly weighted kick wide for wing 'Lily' Allen to run in the easy score. Allen was soon on the score sheet again when his pace and a (wide) arcing run around the Potbellies portly defence saw him score a well taken individual try. Perhaps the Potbellies own 'Haka', a version of the Oke Koke performed pre match had sapped their strength. With the game having started at break neck speed the Potbellies used their experience to slow the match down to a more appropriate pace for a game played in sweltering heat. The tactics proved succesful and they restricted Cumberland to only one further score before half time. They say that old age and treachery will over come youth and skill and at half time the Dubai Potbellies produced their tactical masterstroke. They invited the Dubai Frogs (a team of French ex pats) to play the second half. The shock clearly unsettled the sailors (and one Royal Marine) from Cumberland who conceded two early tries. However they managed to hold on and ran out deserved winners against both oppositions 19 - 12. Four days later the team were again on the field but this time facing much stronger opposition in the form of the Sharjah Wanderers. a bruising encounter fully tested the Cumberlands defence and following Adam Newns replacement, due to concussion, substitute 'Sticky' Green produced a Man of the Match performance in mid-field. However despite Green's heroics Cumberland went down 22 - 0 to the Wanderers. One more fixture remains which will mean that after 5 months of no rugby the Squad will have their third game in 8 days, this fixture will see two veterans reunited as ex bootneck Bob Armstrong (Inter Services most capped player with 31 caps) who is working in Dubai, lining up alongside Cumberland's player coach Dave Sibson (Royal Navy's most capped back with 22 caps). Dave and Bob first played together in 1992 and now 17 years on both are looking forward to showing the Arabian Potbellies what they still have to offer on the pitch as well as the all important bonding that is required for the third half..... Picture is the first recorded evidence of a Dave Sibson tackle in nearly twenty years of Navy Rugby!