HMS Cumberland Ends the Season on a High
Whilst all 3 of the RN representative sides were in action back in the UK and Ireland. HMS Cumberland RFC were taking to the field for probably the last time. On a short stand off from on tasking in Libya the hosts for this encounter was The Napoli NATO Lions playing under the coach of former Royal Navy Women's coach Dave ‘Beefy' Garner. The venue was Carney Park set inside an old volcano where the wind swirled and the referee, Lt Col Hugh Mudford RM was always going to have his work cut out as the Cumberland players at the end of a long season and, the Lions who were just starting out with a mixture of Nations including some over-enthusiastic Americans.
The first score went to the Lions but was soon answered when ETWE (Ash) Murdoch and LPT (Jonny) Logan combined well to see ‘Clubz' score his first try of the season. This was how the scores finished at the half way point (5-5). The 2nd half started as frantic as the first and it was the home side who again struck first through good ball retention and recycling breaking through the Cumberland's tiring defence. Knowing this was the likely to be the last time we would all play together drove on the mighty Sausage. It was veteran Navy Player and Cumberland coach CPO (Dave) Sibson that evened the score dummying his way past the eager Lions defence. The final few minutes saw collision after collision with no backward step being taken by either side. It was PO (Jan) Newall who received the scoring pass from some excellent work from ABCIS (Taff) Hughes in the final minutes leaving the visitors victorious 10-15.
The third half was held at the British Community Centre and, again, the Cumberland team and supporters laid on an impeccable display of how a rugby club should be - sociable, inclusive, generous and enormous fun. Our American friends were awe-struck by the ethos and culture of the game that they are starting to embrace, well done the Mighty Sausage.