RN U23s narrowly lose Final of the Salerno Beach Rugby Tournament.
Saturday 21st July saw the RN U23s participate in the Salerno stage of the 10th Italian Beach Rugby Championships, taking place on the beach front arena at Salerno against the backdrop of the beautiful Amalfi Coast, writes Lt Phil England. The U23s, currently conducting a training camp in Naples prior to the interservices championship, entered two teams. Two teams were entered; the “NAVY TROJANS” coached by Lt Doc Cox and the “NAVY SPARTANS” coached by LAEM Owen Salmon, with both teams being overseen by head coach CPOCT Dave Guyan. The opposition, most of whom had a lot more experience of beach rugby, consisted of 6 teams from a wide area including Salerno but as far afield as Rome. Each team played 3 pool games, with 5 minutes per half with rolling substitutes allowed. The pool games were keenly contested, with both teams adapting quickly to the speed of the game, the small playing area, different playing surface and the heat (35°c and sunny for those of you under the umbrella of rain and cloud in the UK). Having accustomed themselves to these, they then had to contend with the regular inter game appearances of the South American dancing girls, which did little for the concentration of those playing !. Following the pool games, the SPARTANS had played 3 won 2 and lost 1, in contrast to the TROJANS who had played 3 won 1 and lost 2. This saw the TROJANS through to the “VASE” final, against SAINT MARIA CS RUGBY, and the SPARTANS through to the Competition Final where they played PARTENOPE (who were playing in their 10th beach rugby tournament of the year!). The TROJANS worked hard in the final, but were eventually overcome by a strong SAINT MARIA SIDE. However, they forced the opposition to work hard for their win in extra time, final score ST MARIA 5 – 4 TROJANS. FINAL NAVY SPARTANS VS PARTENOPE RUGBY. The game began in frenetic fashion, with a charge down the left flank resulting in a try from AB Wayne Dugan within 30 seconds, quickly followed by a try from Mne Jonathon Pilkington. Dugan then added 2 further tries to his haul prior to half time, with strong powerful drives through the PARTENOPE defence. At the break NAVY SPARTANS led by 4 tries to 3. Following the half time break, the SPARTANS struggled to retain the momentum from the first half and, although scoring 3 further tries from Glover, Stevens and Dando, their defence succumbed to 6 further tries. FINAL SCORE PARTENOPE 9 NAVY SPARTANS 7 Although disappointing that the SPARTANS did not win the final, the tournament allowed the players a timely opportunity to put into practice some of the skills they have learnt from their coaches during their time here in Naples. The squad now take a well earned rest day before returning to the training park on Monday, with a plyometrics session run by POPT Brum Edwards. Following this session, the squad and management will participate in a fun rugby session for local children.