HMS KENT Vs KUWAIT NOMADS
During a brief well earned break alongside in Kuwait HMS Kent's rugby team was invited to play a match against the local ex-pats. The match was played at the Nomads normal "Home" Pitch (somewhere in Kuwait City) on 10 Aug and started at 6pm. A warm welcome was given their Chairman Lieutenant Colonel Matt Perkin, Captain Stuart Jarvis and referee Simon Cottrell. They admitted that unfortunately they had a lot of the first team away on holiday, as their season doesn't begin until Sept, but they had kept to their word by not fielding their Fijians! As both teams warmed up and Kent tried to acclimatise, the pitch was prepared by spraying water over it using two motor driven water bowsers with a 4x4 following behind raking up the top inch or so of the pitch. This was quite effective, and extremely necessary, as the ground otherwise would have been solid as a rock as it had been over 40+ degs Celsius all day as it has been here for over a month now (a bit hotter than a UK heat wave!). It stayed at that temperature for much of the game. Taking advice from the Nomads it was decided that the game would consist of quarters of 15 minutes, rolling subs would be used. The local referee Simon Cottrell and the ship's referee WO2 Chris Bartlett also agreed to alternate between running the line and taking up the whistle in the middle. With the lines painted on the pitch, the Nomads winning the toss and deciding to kick, the game underway. It was obvious from the kick off that the Nomads are a strong and very well drilled team despite fielding an under strength team. The pressure was piled on from the off. Kent however managed to hold firm in the heat and fought back well with LMEM Dave Beaver scoring the first try. With LWTR Adam Lapping converting the first quarter ended 0-7. After a short breather, intake of water and turn around of players and ends the game restarted. The second quarter started much the same as the first with tries to both teams, Bert Molinie (Nomads) and RS Chris Scott (Kent's Captain). Bert converted his own try with Adam getting the ball through the sticks again for Kent. Kent however then managed to get the upper hand with a couple of quick breakaway tries, one to MEM Fishy Fishwick and Dave getting another. Adam again managing to get the ball through the post on both occasions. After this high scoring quarter Kent led the way 28-7 at half time. At half time the players were now pretty exhausted and with Nomads having significantly fewer available players, Kent kindly agreed to loan the Nomads a couple of players. Reducing the game to thirteen a side also allowed everyone to now get a bit of rest more often during the rest of the game. This proved the case as the third quarter remained fairly even with both sides scoring a try, Major Andy Huges for Nomads and MEM Dutchy Gooderham for Kent, only Adam this time managing to convert for Kent. The rest of this quarter remained uneventful it ended 35-12 to Kent. By the 4th and last quarter the heat had obviously taken its toll and exhaustion was evident, wherever you looked, with many players suffering from cramp. Despite a final push from Nomads, with most of this last quarter in Kent's half, Chris managing to score once more for Kent following another breakaway. At this point the Ref decided to put everyone out of their misery and call time early. Although Kent finished on top with the final score of 40-12 the game was not as one sided as the score might show. Kuwait Nomads are an extremely capable side and during their normal season are unbeatable at home. If they played their Fijians the score would more than likely have been the other way round! The game was played in a very friendly atmosphere and once cleaned up we were all invited (and again escorted) to Malcome 'The Butcher' Huck's "Club House" where refreshments were served and gorgeous curries and breads supplied by SAS Curry. With some of Kent's team making use of Malcome's pool it was a wonderful way to end an excellent day for all. Thanks should go to Nomads Chairman Lieutenant Colonel Matt Perkin and Captain Stuart Jarvis for looking after us and allowing Kent the opportunity to play them during their "off season". Finally to Malcome for letting us into his home for the 5th half!