Esher Sinks Navy Hopes of a Third Win
The Royal Navy Senior XV travelled to Championship team Esher on Wednesday night to play their 3rd game of the season, a season that so far had seen them beat both Varsity Universities Oxford and Cambridge. The game would give coaches CPO (Ash) Coates, PO (Owen) Salmon and CPOPT (Clayton) Patilla and DoR Lt Cdr (Andy) Kellett RN a chance to look at some players who had not featured in the previous games and also to consider players who had only recently joined the squad.
However, Esher although bottom of the Championship League and facing play-offs to remain in the league were on a roll having won their last 3 games.
From the kick-off Esher made it clear that they were going to play open running rugby. This strategy placed a young Navy team under immediate pressure.
It took Esher 17 mins to score as Maynard took a quick tap penalty, fed Baker to score in the corner 5-0. Sadly this try also left Navy flanker Mid T Smart (HMS Daring) on the floor, good work by the medical team stretched him off the pitch to a waiting ambulance and to hospital, later Smart was released from hospital having sustained mild concussion. Smart was replaced by new Navy player Capt M Brett (42 Cdo RM).
From the restart the RN gained a scrum which fed Bamford to score under the posts for a Navy try, Pascoe converted 5 - 7. Esher replied in less than 2 mins as a cross field kick that caught the Navy left winger out of position and gifted Pritchard a try in the corner for an unconverted try 10-7.
The Navy defence had to work hard to keep Esher at bay with some good work by Navy centres ET (ME) D Sleeman (HMNB Devonport), AB D Bamford (HMS Dragon) and full back AETJ Humphrey (RNAS Yeovilton) all making sure that Esher had to wait until the 33rd min to score again through a ‘Catch and Drive' from a lineout 15-7.
As half time approached Esher were to finish the half on a high by scoring a converted try 22-7 HT.
Mne J Foster (40 Cdo RM) replaced Pascoe at half time, which also gave NA(AH) B Priddey (RNAS Culdrose) the Captaincy roll. Esher provided proof of their depth in quality players as England 7's player Hylton showed his class to score Esher's 5th try converted by Kirby 29-7 44 mins.
The game now degenerated into a game of either a scrum or penalty with the Navy conceding many of these penalties. However, the Navy Defence which had dominated Oxford continued to foil the Esher attacks.
However, changes in the Navy line up provided the gaps Esher needed to score 2 more tries, 1 of which was converted to make the final score 41-7 to Esher.
Royal Navy Director of Rugby Lt Cdr (Andy) Kellett RN said of the game ‘We gave game time to some up and coming players, 4 of which wore a Navy shirt for the first time and 6 who were in their first season with the Senior XV, all performed well against a team who physical, smart and more savvy than we were. However, we will take a great deal away from this and prepare the team for another bruising encounter against the Irish Defence Force in Portsmouth next week'
Next week's game in at the Home of Royal Navy Rugby United Services Portsmouth, Burnaby Road will see the Royal Navy Senior XV take on the Irish Defence Force in their annual fixture KO 7pm.
RN Senior XV v Esher
NA(AH) K Mason (HMNB Devonport), NA(AH) B Priddey (RNAS Culdrose), AET R Metcalfe (RNAS Yeovilton), NA(AH) J Quarnuvalu (RNAS Culdrose), Mne B Fox (45 Cdo o RM),Mid T Smart (HMS Daring), MA S Laird (HMS Collingwood), S/Lt H Mitchell-Heggs RN (HMS Sultan), POET D Pascoe (Capt) (RNAS Culdrose), Logs(CS) A Lewis (HMS Vigilant), Mne T Vakalutkali (40 Cdo RM), ET(ME) D Sleeman (HMNB Devonport), AB D Bamford (HMS Dragon), S/Lt A Vance RN (HMS Sultan), AETJ Humphrey (RNAS Yeovilton)
, NA (AH) K Beasley (RNAS Culdrose), ET (ME) J Parry (HMS Monmouth), Capt M Brett RM (42 Cdo RM), Mne J Foster (40 Cdo RM), S/Lt J Rylah RN (HMS Echo), AET B Clarke (RNAS Yeovilton), Lt T Blackburn RN (RNAS Yeovilton), AB T Davies (HMS Liverpool)