RN Senior XV Defeats Both Varsity Universities In StyleIn perfect playing conditions the RN Senior XV took on and beat the ‘other' university 15-31 at Grange Road, Cambridge, in their second game of season in preparation for the 2012 Inter Service Competition. While Cambridge fielded 8 Blues the RN fielded 8 non capped players, including AB (Tom) Davies (HMS Liverpool), Mne (Ben) Fox (45 Cdo) and Mid (Tyler) Smart (HMS Daring) who all started for the first time in a RN Senior XV shirt.
The game started, as is traditional against CURFC, at high speed and was relentless throughout the first half. The RN took the early initiative with a turn over ball in the first minute which almost resulting in a try for the RN. It was not long before the crowd witnessed, from another turnover, a move involving half a dozen RN players and covering half of the pitch that that ended up with AB (Darren) Bamford (HMS Dragon) going outside the Cambridge winger, drawing the full back before passing inside to the industrious Fly half, Mne (Nathan) Huntley (40 Cdo RM) who scored the first of the Navy's 5 tries within the first 5 mins. Navy Skipper, POAET (Dave) Pascoe (RNAS Culdrose) converted the try on his way to 3 successful conversions and started his contribution to his first win over CURFC in the 10 years he has been playing senior RN rugby. 0-7
Within a minute of the restart, the RN were back on the attack, again from deep and this time led by veteran lock POAET (Marsh) Cormack, brushing opposition aside before releasing NA (Ben) Priddey (RNAS Culdrose) to score the first of his hat-trick of tries 0-12. However, back came Cambridge on one of their few attacking moves in the first half which was dominated territorially by the RN, and after a defensive error, the CURFC full back, Tom O'Toole went over in the corner - all this within the first 9 breathtaking minutes of the game starting 5-12.
Throughout the game the RN gave up kickable point scoring opportunities in order to maximise try scoring opportunities. After 25 mins and a period of sustained pressure one such opportunity came their way and a catch and drive by the RN pack, who dominated the tight throughout, saw Priddey cross the line for his second try of the night, converted from the touchline by Pascoe for the Navy to lead 5-19. A mistake from the restart by the Navy saw Cambridge apply pressure to the Navy's line and a subsequent penalty was converted by Stevens. There was still time for the Navy to apply more pressure and from a scrum deep in the Cambridge half, the Navy backs scored from first phase to make the score 8-26 at half time.
The Navy started the second half as they had finished the first and after another turn over ball the subsequent pressure near the Cambridge line saw a penalty, under the posts, again the option for easy points was declined and the subsequent line out resulted in a well worked forwards drive and Priddey's hat-trick try.
Inevitably a mixture of fatigue and replacements disrupted both team's patterns and errors increased from both sides. A missed tackle in the Navy midfield led to the final try of the game by Cambridge centre Thomas, which was converted by Steven and a final score of 15-31.
Overall the Navy team can be proud of their performance and in particular their work rate against a fit, mobile Cambridge team in a game that thoroughly entertained the crowd. After the game, RN Head Coach, CPO Ash Coates (1 PBS) said ‘ We set out to build on our performance from the Oxford game and asked the players to work hard in defence while introducing the attack patterns we have worked on in training. Overall we achieved the aim but as always there is plenty to work on and that starts now in preparation for our next challenge at Esher next week'.
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