HMS Dragon 23 v 7 HMS York
In their first game of the year HMS Dragon displayed attacking flare and defensive strength to walk of the off the pitch comfortable winners in a Cup game played against HMS York.
HMS Dragon started the game strongly and early pressure resulted in an attacking scrum in HMS York's 22m. A smart dummy and run down the blind side from No 9, AB(CIS) (Owen) Faint allowed No 8, AB(Sea) (Nelly) Nelson, quick ball. He brushed aside two defenders and crashed over the line for HMS Dragons first try. The conversion was missed 5-0.
The restart was taken safely by Nelson who then set off on a good run but was eventually forced into touch. The game then become much more even, seeing HM York run from their own half into HMS Dragons 22m. An attempt at a chip over the top of the defence saw AB (Sea) (Johno) Johnstone gather the ball. A high tackle on Johnstone allowed CPO (CIS) (Neil) Evans to eventually clear the lines and relieve the pressure.
HMS Dragon had HMS York scrum under constant pressure and this gave them a strong platform for the backs to gain the ball going forward. AB (WS) (Gary) Gurnell forced a magnificent last ditch tackle from HMS York's winger to stop a second try.
A great piece of individual skill saw Evans break three tackles and give a fantastic offload to Johnstone who crossed the line but unfortunately he was unable to ground the ball the ball.
HMS Dragon refused to give up and the front row of CPO (Mark) Kali, Lt (Smudge) Smith RN and ET (WE) (Trigger) Richards put in a sterling effort to turn over HMS York's scrum under the posts. This allowed ET (WE) (Aled) Jones to cross for HMS Dragons second try. Conversion was missed, 10-0.
The second half saw a more open game with both sides having great attacking opportunities. The first points came after HMS York gave away a penalty in their 22m, PO(CS) (Spike) Hughes stepped up to take the kick which was easily taken, 13-0.
HMS York responded in great fashion and with 10 minutes to go, HMS Dragon failed to secure their own ball at the break down. This allowed HMS York's No 10 to pick up and score under the posts. Conversion was good, 13-7.
HMS Dragon then kept opponents pinned in their 22m, this pressure eventually led to a penalty which was converted by Hughes, 16-7.
HMS Dragon finished the game on a high as Smith powered over the line from short range for the third and final try. This was converted by Hughes making the final score to 23-7.
Overall this was a strong performance from a HMS Dragon side and good practice for the Ship's inaugural game against Cardiff Harlequins on the 16March. This match will take place during HMS Dragons first visit to her affiliated City of Cardiff and will be the first opportunity for the Ship to compete for the "HMS Dragon Challenge Trophy". This trophy to be known as the "Cyril" has been provided by the Cyril Watts Foundation as a means of building the relationship between the Ship and the City through sport and friendship.
Man-of-the-Match: AB (Johno) Johnstone.