Mariners v HMS Heron
The final game prior to the Inter services saw the planned Bridgewater and Albion fixture replaced by a HMS Heron. With many players still vying for key positions, the game was always going to be difficult for HMS Heron to match the Mariners mental and physical intensity. Initial linking between backs and forwards was good, demonstrating that the team had finally absorbed the Head Coaches mantra of playing to the team strengths and keeping possession of the ball. Great pick and drives led to 3 near misses within the first 5 mins. Finally, after continued pressure a scrum 5m out led to a try by the ever present and rampant Lee Norris (Chicksands) 0-5 Mariners.
From the re-start, the Mariners back row were ever dominant, finally creating space for Albert Hall (HMS Chatham) to run in from 40m out to score under the posts, a frustrated Jim Hunter (845 NAS) in support 0-12 Mariners. A missed touch kick led to a brutal reminder of the Air Stations strengths in speed and agility as there wing broke from his own half and fed a simple inside pass to score 7-12.
A quick retort was needed and, following a kick & chase through by Danny Haseltine (846 NAS), the ensuing Air Base line out stolen, 3 phases of play put Lee Norris in to score 7-19 Mariners. Buoyed by his just reward, Lee and the back row continued to apply pressure, but penalties at the breakdown began to affect and failed to deliver a just outcome.
Firm words and guidance from the coaching staff led to another great start by the Mariners, again showing resilience not seen thus far in many seasons, structure and control being the order of the day. However, continued pressure led to another Heron try 19-19.
With breakdowns still being an issue, the team re-grouped and finally got their just deserts. Justin Doney (820 NAS), commanding as ever, picked up a loose ball to score 19-26 Mariners.
The remainder of the half became one way traffic with scores from Ben Cartwright (Plymouth Diving Team), Joe Ainsley (HMS Sultan), and another from both Albert Hall and Lee Norris. 19-50 Final Score