Navy Women represent the Combined Services
This season saw 4 RN Women selected for the Combined Services squad. Unlike the Men, the Women have a week long training camp and 2 games, the first against Old Albanians Saints (an RFU Premiership side) and a Premiership Barbarians team.
Wtr (Lauren) Morton (CMC-Portsmouth), LET(WE) (Sarah) Jenkins (HMS Kent), AB(CIS) (Sam) Alderson (HMS Scott) and Lt (Charlotte) Fredrickson (849 NAS) joined the rest of the squad at RAF Halton on Tues 1 Nov along with RN Head Coach Lt (Sam) Cuff (RNAS Yeovilton), who was part of the coaching staff. Training for the first 2 days was intense with a combination of skills and contact work as well as continuity and defensive patterns. Following a captains run on the Friday morning, the women left RAF Halton and travelled to St Albans. With all 4 RN girls selected to start and the CS won 17-0, with Fredrickson scoring the first try and Alderson adding the extra points.
On returning to camp on the Sunday, the girls went through the video of the Old Albanians game and took part in a light training session. Following training on Monday morning the squad moved to their pre-match hotel in Tewkesbury to prepare for the game the following day.
When the starting XV was announced, Fredrickson was selected at 6, Morton at 14 and Alderson at 15. Jenkins was selected as a replacement. She didn't get to keep the bench warm for long though, replacing an injured back within the first 10 minutes. CS started slowly and soon found themselves 17-0 down as England Under 20 pair Ceri Large and Louise Dennis took control of the game. However, CS dug deep and slowly established themselves in the game. After enjoying a period of pressure, the ball was passed wide to Morton, who beat 3 defenders on her way to the line to get CS on the board. At half time, CS trailed 17-5.
After a rallying call at half time from the CS Skipper (Sarah) Mitchelson, CS started the second half much stronger. Finding a rhythm and identifying the weaknesses of the opposition, CS went on a scoring run that saw them score 19 points without reply. This came at a cost though as 2 of the key players for CS left the field injured at the same time. Momentum was lost and the Barbarians seized on the opportunity afforded them by a poor clearance to score themselves, but missed the conversion, leaving the game finely balanced at 22-24 in the favour of CS with 10 minutes to go. Once again CS dug deep and found a little more effort. This resulted in a try in the corner with 2 minutes to go. The Combined Services came out victorious 22-29 against a strong and experienced team from Premiership clubs across the country.
After the game, the squad headed to Kingsholm for their post match meal and to watch the CS Men v Gloucester Presidents game. After the meal, Morton was presented with the Player of the Match award, a well deserved accolade selected by the coaches.
The RN girls have done their squad and the RNRU proud with their efforts and successes over the course of the week. They have shown the other services that the RN(W) have players to fear come this season's inter-services and the players will have taken great confidence from their performances.