RN U23 Provide Good Performance Against Chichester
The Royal Navy U23's continued their preparations for the forthcoming Inter-Services campaign with a fixture against a Chichester RFC U23 XV at Burnaby Road on Sunday. With Oxford University unable to play the U23's, Chichester RFC game fully stepped into the frame at short notice to give the Young Navy players a last run out before their first Inter-Services game vs. the RAF Academy.
With the home of Navy Rugby basking in weather more akin to a summer's day, the match started with a bang. From the kick off, the Navy quickly gathered the ball in their 22 and fired it out to winger AB (D) (Ben) Wood (Northern Diving Group) who raced down the right wing to score. This quick try was converted by Fly Half AB (Aaron) Lewis (HMS Vigilant) and with the score 7-0 with only minutes on the board, Chichester knew they were in for a game.
The Navy continued to pressure their Chichester opponents, and this pressure from both forwards and backs was soon rewarded with a try by Full Back AET (Ben) Clarke (848 Sqn), again converted by the trusty boot of Fly half LEWIS. With the score now 14 - 0, Navy Blindside MID (Tyler) Smart (HMS Daring) soon added his name to the score sheet after powering over for a try from a quick tap penalty. With the conversion attempt drifting wide of the posts, the score now stood at 19 - 0.
With the breakdown area being hotly contested by both sides, 5 minutes before the half time whistle Navy prop Kali was sent to the sinbin after transgressing at the ruck. Although having to contend with only 14 men, a great move by Navy Scrum Half Mne (Jack) Foster (40 Cdo RM) soon saw the ball shipped quickly to Full back Clarke, who again cut through the opponent's back line to score under the posts, leaving the Half time score at 26-0.
With the half time interval over, Chichester struck straight back at the Navy and were soon rewarded with a penalty. The Navy continued to pressurise their opponents line, and Navy Captain and second row AET (Kai) Beasley (824 Sqn) proving that the modern forward is a mobile and skilful beast, popped up on the right wing for a try his three quarters would have been proud of, taking the score to 31-3 in the process. Having been shown the way ahead by one of their forward brethren, the Navy Backs were eager to get on the score sheet and after a scything run from full back Clarke, winger Wood made hard yards before passing back to Clarke who crashed over under the posts for a try.
Despite the 38-6 shoreline, Chichester constantly probed the Navy defence and their perseverance was soon rewarded with a try, resulting from some dogged and aggressive forward play. With the Navy pack now back to full strength, they quickly made use of their numbers and after a fine driving maul a Navy forward touched down under the mass of bodies. This try was subsequently converted by Fly Half Lewis, leaving the score 45 - 11 with only minutes to go. Eager to contest until the very last moment, Chichester scored a last minute try taking the final score stood to 45-16.
This was a very promising showing from a young Navy side who demonstrated good application to the task at hand throughout, and the final score belies how hard the Navy were made to fight for their points by their opponents, especially in the last quarter.
The attention of the Navy U23's now turns firmly to the task at hand; that of defending their U23 Inter-Services crown which starts in earnest at RAF Cosford this coming Saturday, the 26th of November, kick off 1400.
RN U23 Squad List:
AET K Beasley (824 Sqn), Mne J Brett (ASG Yeovil), Mne K Bridgen (40 Cdo RM), AET B Clarke (848 Sqn), AET R Champion (846 Sqn), Mne L Davies (42 Cdo RM), Mne J Foster (40 Cdo RM), ET (ME) M Jones (HMS St Albans), AB M Kali (HMS Dragon), AB A Lewis (HMS VIGILANT), Mne M Harrison (RMSoM Portsmouth), Mne W McLaren (CLR), ET (ME) J Parry (HMS Monmouth), Mne A Pearson (42 Cdo RM), MID T Smart (HMS Daring), Mne D Taylor (42 Cdo RM), AB (D) B Wood (Northern Diving Group)