HMS Dragon bring out the best in DevonportA game played in 4 quarters that was really a tale of two halves that showed HMS Dragon rugby team displaying real passion in only their second game against a well drilled Devonport team. Crisp West Country weather conditions did not keep supporters from both sides turning out to watch this friendly fixture.
The visiting team had a chance to go ahead just 6 minutes into the game after Devonport were penalised for going off their feet at the breakdown but the effort from AB (Bamfs) Bamford was just wide.
The best chance of the quarter came after great pressure in defence from LT (Smudge) Smith forcing the error and allowing AB (Nelly) Nelson to pick up a loose ball and start the attack. Despite relentless attacks, the home teams defence remained solid throughout and the quarter finished on level terms.
The first points of the match came after only 1 minute of the second quarter that saw a great pass out to Logs (Roko) Kurusasa, who's hard lines of running took him past three tacklers to score under the posts. The extra two were converted by Bamford (0-7).
Devonport responded well and some excellent offloading allowed a string of passes to find the number 1 on the fringes strong running took the ball easily into Dragons 22. Eventually, a poor pass was picked up by AB (Johno) Johnstone and PO (Spike) Hughes found the space and eased the pressure with an excellent clearance kick.
Another 3 points were added to the score sheet after Devonport strayed offside and Bamford made it 0-10 to Dragon.
The home team were not going to be out done and just before the end of the second quarter made it 3-10. Some ruthless work by the forwards turned over the ball at the breakdown and forced the error. An attacking scrum saw Devonport's number 8 pick and make a storming run down the blind side supported by full back and winger, under pressure Dragon gave away two penalties in quick succession in which the three points were opted for in the end.
The third quarter saw 8 changes for Dragon, with four players experiencing their first ever taste of rugby. The 3rd period saw both teams testing each others defence and resolve with simple rugby but the inexperience of Dragon's team soon began to show as Devonport's forwards began to dominate, displaying some powerful driving mauls.
The home team scored their first try of the game after some immense pressure. A whole team effort saw the forwards taking crash balls to suck in the defence, before launching the ball wide to score. The conversion was successful 10-10.
Devonport started the fourth quarter as they finished the last and scored quickly. An attacking scrum caught the visiting team napping momentarily which allowed Devonport in for an easy try. The conversion was short but for the first time in the match saw the home team in front at 15-10.
Wholesale changes were made by Dragon and they refused to let their heads drop and were persistent in their attack. Some great passes out by CPO (Crash) Evans let Kurusasa continually caused the home team problems, breaching the defence several times. Both teams finished the match strong but the referee finally bought the final quarter to a close with the final score Devonport 15-10 HMS Dragon.
Dragon's Rugby Manager Lt (Smudge) Smith said after the game "It was a real shame to lose the game as overall we deserved the victory. We are a new side and getting to know our strengths, weaknesses and patterns of play. It was however fantastic to "blood" some new players, give 24 team members a game, and give them an opportunity to experience Ship Rugby at it's best. Dragon will continue to develop as a side and will be a force to be reckoned with in the seasons to come."