HMS Cumberland's Arabian Delight
A hot sunny day in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia was the scene for HMS Cumberland's third game of her final deployment. Having expected a full game of 15s, the game had to be reduced to 10s at the last minute due to lack of players from Jeddah RFC.
The game started at a ferocious pace with Cumberland scoring three tries in the first 10 minutes, two from ET ME Dale Sleeman and one from ET ME Ryan Lovett. Jeddah scored their first try of the game to make the score Jeddah 5 - 15 Cumberland. The score board continued to tick over in Cumberland's favour with more tries in the first half, the most notable of which was a try for AB Ollie Hicks (18) with his first touch of the ball since he switched codes from league to union, and a superb defence splitting pass from PO Taff Newall allowed ET ME "Racquel" Welch in to score an easy try. Jeddah did score a try just before half time to make the half time score Jeddah 10 - 50 Cumberland.
Ash Murdoch (22) and Ryan Lovatt tackling a flying winger (Photo: Arab News, Roger Harrison)
The second half continued very much in the same vein and with the introduction of player/coach CPO Dave Sibson, the tries came thick and fast with both Cumberland and Jeddah scoring 2 tries each in the first 10 minutes. Then Cumberland once more gained the upper hand when Lt Nail Copeland gift wrapped a try for Lt Johnny Campbell midway through the second half. More tries came for Hicks, Capt Matt Williams, Lt Cdr Jim Bagshaw and Lt "Mr Josh" Gorst and a fourth try for Sleeman before Jeddah scored the final two tries of the game, making the final score Jeddah RFC 30 - 85 Cumberland.
Centre 'Lilly' Allen drawing in the Jeddah defence (Photo: Arab News, Roger Harrison)