HMNB Portsmouth v RAF Odiham
MNB Portsmouth took on RAF Odiham at USSG in the return league fixture, with both teams only having 15 players, with HMNB Portsmouth fielding practically a new 15, with PO(Baz) Woodley, AB (Sam) Watt, AB (Joel) Gurnell and LET (Will) Davies being the only players to represent HMNB so far this season. This was to show in the final score even though the players, some being very inexperienced, gelled well and grew stronger as the game went on.
Although starting the game with several new faces the typical HMNB enthusiasm and mentality was there to see and every player was ready for raring to go for kick off. Things however did not get off to a great start for the Naval Base as straight from the opening kick RAF Odiham received the ball and scored a converted try with their 1st attack 0-7.
This early set-back for the Naval Base did not deter the team, who hit back almost immediately with a penalty scored by LPT (Chris) Reeves 3-7. The next 10 minutes was evenly contested but once Odiham scored their 2nd try 17 minutes into the game it proved to be the turning point, Odiham going on to score a further 4 converted try's before half time leaving the Naval Base trailing 3-42.
A stirring half time team talk from LPT (Paddy) Stephens sent the deflated Naval Base players out for the 2nd half with the belief that there was another 40 mins and things could change. Straight from kick off, the same positive attitude and enthusiasm that they started with continued and the Naval Base chased down a kick from full-back Musn (Dan) Francis and from the resulting line-out came close to scoring a try only for the ball to be knocked on over the line.
The Naval Base continued to defend and play with an attitude that was asked of them at half-time and although the more experienced Odiham side scored a further 4 tries, 2 of which were converted, the inexperienced, yet spirited Naval Base players continued to fight right to the end, eventually losing 3-66, but earning great plaudits from both the manager and players from RAF Odiham.
PO B Woodley (HMNB) Musn H Monk (RNSOM) Musn J Rowlands (RNSOM) Musn J Edgar (RNSOM) Musn J Ballard (RNSOM) LET W Davies (HMS DRAGON) LPT C Reeves (HMS LIVERPOOL) Musn E Pascoe (RNSOM) MA J Collier (HMNB) Musn W Thurston (RNSOM) AB S Watt (HMNB) ab j Gurnell (HMS DRAGON) Musn C Beal (RNSOM) Musn D Wilson (RNSOM) Musn D Francis (RNSOM)