ESHER CONTINUE SUCCESS OVER THE ROYAL NAVY
On a bitterly cold night, the second game of the season saw the RN Senior XV travel to Esher and take another step forward towards the Inter Service 2013 Championship with a committed, skilful and high tempo game in SW London. With only 4 players who had started starting against Oxford, DoR Cdr Andy Kellett, made his intentions clear
‘It is important we give the full squad game time as early as possible, that both helps me and the coaching team see combinations, players playing at higher level than they are used to and will need to be comfortable with as well as building strength in depth across key areas'
The game started at a relentless tempo and continued for much of the game, as witnessed by the number of players in the last quarter from both sides suffering with cramp.
On the back of a disappointing loss to Ealing last weekend, Esher where determined to ‘make a mend' and fielded a very strong side. Their opening try after 5 mins was typical of how they played all evening, fast ruck ball, elusive running and good hands resulted in their scrum half, Garner, touching down under the posts with an easy conversion to follow to lead 7-0.
Despite the early set back, the next 15 mins saw some quality play from both sides and in particular, a navy player who got better and better during the match was Mne (Jack) Foster (40 Cdo RM), who only returned from Afghanistan last week and is spending his POTL with the navy team, blew away the rust and put in a performance as good as any he has in a Navy shirt.
Captain for the night was Sgt (Gaz) Evans (HMS President), fresh from premiership club London Welsh and playing at eight and throwing in the lineout- why wouldn't you have a premiership hooker throwing in wherever he was playing! After a strong run from AB (Tom) Davies (HMS Illustrious), the navy recycled quickly, returned the ball to the blind side and Evans touched down for the Navy's first of four tries. 7-5.
A lack of concentration from the Navy team at the restart saw Esher regain possession and with sharp, quick ball they soon put the navy under pressure and scored their second try Brend for a 12-5 lead after half an hour.
The high tempo remained through to the break and in the 40th minute, Esher man of the match, full back Fowles, cut through with pacey, elusive running and put Esher in a strong 19-5 lead at the break.
Changes at the break saw Logs ‘B' Buinimasi (HMNB Devonport) replace Mne ‘Tuna' Marlin (42 Cdo RM) and LAET (Oillie) James (HMS Heron) replace Mne (Josh) Blackburn (Bovington).
Good early possession and skilful attack play saw the Navy put Esher's line under pressure and rewarded with a well worked try from Mne ‘Tich' Tichias (42 Cdo RM),19-10).
James made an impact throughout the second half and after another strong run, he put ET(ME) (Josh) Jones (HMS Sultan) over in the corner, only for the linesman to spot a foot in touch in the final strides.
Esher continued with a fast, attacking game plan and were most dangerous on the counter, as demonstrated by their 4th and 5th that came in quick succession against a now tiring Navy side in the last quarter (31-10). However, a dogged Navy team dug deep, Lt (Hugo) Mitchell-Heggs (HMS Neptune) made good yardage all game and continued to do so right up to the final whistle and deservedly the Navy scored twice in the last 8 mins, first from POAET (Stan) Mortensen (HMS Heron) after a good catch and drive form the Navy pack, now bolstered by NA(AH) (Kyle) Mason (HMNB Devonport), who spotted space on the right wing, waited for his opportunity before receiving the ball to score the final and 10th try of the game.
The final score of 36-22 was slightly flattering to the home team, however, the Navy head coach POAET (Owen) Salmon was pleased with his team's performance
‘I saw real improvement over last week and the last 10 mins were indicative of the commitment I am looking for. There are always improvements to take away and giving soft points away after we have scored will be one area we will need to sort out, but overall very pleased with the performance and looking forward to Cambridge University in a couple of week's'
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