RN Women 7 v 5 RAF Women
On Wed 18 Apr at Burnaby Road, the RN Women beat the RAF Women for only the 4th time in their history. It was a tightly contested match with both sides battling hard in tough weather conditions.
The RN were forced to make a last minute change to the starting line up with LET(WE) (Vicky) Thomas (SFM Portsmouth) being unable to start due to injury. This gave DSA (Bonnie) Brown (42 Cdo RM) a starting place on the wing.
The RAF kicked off and from the start it was clear that the match was going to be won and lost in the forwards. There was good initial pressure by the RN forwards, however a couple of mistakes did lead to turn over ball. Fortunately, the RN remained the opposition half continuing to pressure the RAF defence. The first scrum of the game saw the RN drive the RAF backwards leading to a poor RAF clearance kick. The RN continued to dominate by playing calm and simple rugby. As the half progressed, neither side looked like scoring but the RN seemed to have the edge.
There were some great tackles by scrum half, Wtr (Lauren) Morton (DN Pers) and No 8, Lt (Helen) Leach RN (824 NAS) which hampered the advance of the RAF hooker. New player, DSA Brown was strong in defence, pressurising the RAF backs. During a period of RAF pressure, Navy fly half and Vice-Captain, LET (WE) (Sarah) Jenkins (HMS Richmond) put in an excellent clearance kick which bounced before finding touch around halfway.
The RAF gained a kickable penalty in front of the posts and with only moments remaining in the half chose to attack a well set Navy defence which came to nothing and the half ended RN 0 - RAF 0.
The Navy made a halftime replacement, LET (WE) (Emily) Atkins (HMS Raleigh) came off injured and was replaced by Lt (Paula) Bennett-Smith (NATO Northwood). This meant that Wtr (Charlotte) Lewis (COMPORFLOT) moved to the front row. The second half started with the RN kicking deep into the RAF half. The RAF gave away a penalty within seconds which the Navy used to good effect. LAET (Pam) Williams (HMS Sultan) did a great crash ball to make headway into RAF territory. The RAF fly half made a fantastic clearance kick deep into the RN half.
The RAF then commenced a period of sustained pressure with some good ball carrying by their loose head prop. However, the Navy defence held strong with good tackles being put in by Captain, Lt (Charlotte) Fredrickson (849 NAS) and Lewis. The RN gave away a penalty in a line out and the RAF passed the ball out wide but a SC (Fiesha) Greene (RN PDT Portsmouth) and Brown tackle drove them back up the field. The Navy Women were then reduced to 14 players for 10 minutes for repeated infringements.
The RN made another replacement with LET (WE) (Sarah) Mitchell (HMS Ocean) coming on for Leach.
The Navy refocused and battled their way into the RAF half. The RAF gave away a penalty and then were penalised twice for not having retreated 10m this place the Navy in an ideal position to pressure the RAF line.
A RAF scrum 5m from their try line saw Morton charge down the clearance kick. The RN thought they had scored the try but the referee determined that the ball had been held up. The RN had the 5m scrum and an excellent play by the forwards saw Mitchell score a try under the posts. ET (ME) (Lavinia) Vakuruivalu (HMS Northumberland) Navy led 7 -0, 65 minutes.
The RAF came back strong pushing the RN back into their own half. Following a line out, the RN put in a great maul and drove the RAF back up the pitch. AB (Sea) (Stacey) Hargrave (HMS York) did some fantastic ball carrying pushing the RAF further into their own half.
The RAF managed to turn the ball over and kicked into the RN half, where the Navy were penalised for holding on. The RAF pushed the RN back and got the ball over the try line but fortunately
Vakuruivalu managed to hold the ball up. A 5m scrum saw the RAF make use of their backs and in spite of a great tackle by Jenkins, the RAF scored in the corner. It was not converted. With 5 minutes remaining, the score poised at RN 7 - RAF 5.
Fredrickson rallied the RN and they came back strong, playing to their strengths using the forwards pick and go well. The final whistle went and the RN celebrated a hard fought but well deserved victory.
Admiral Soar presented the ladies with the trophy. He also presented Caps to SC (Fiesha) Greene and LAET (Pam) Williams, who is now the most capped RN Women player in their history.
Forward of the Match was awarded to Lt (Charlotte) Fredrickson and Back of the Match was awarded to Wtr (Lauren) Morton.
The RN Women now look forward to the Inter-Service 2012 championship decider against the Army at Kneller Hall on Sat 28 Apr.
RN Womens Squad
LAET P Williams (HMS Sultan), LAC E Park (MASF Culdrose), LET(WE) E Atkins (HMS Raleigh), NA(AH) C Penrose (RNAS Culdrose), AB(SEA) S Hargrave (HMS York), Lt C Fredrickson RN (Capt) (849 NAS), Wtr C Lewis (COMPORFLOT), Lt H Leach RN (824 NAS), LET(WE) S Jenkins (HMSRichmond), ET(ME) E Marner (FPGRM - P Sqn), ET(ME) L Vakuruivalu (HMS Northumberland), SC F Greene (RN PDTMC Portsmouth), LET(WE) V Thomas (SFM Portsmouth), Lt C Oakes RN (854 NAS), LAET B Sharp (824 NAS), AB L Christie (RNAS Yeovilton), LPT A Marshall (HMS St Albans), Lt P Bennett-Smith RN (NATO Northwood), ET(WE) S Mitchell (HMS Ocean), DSA B Brown (42 Cdo RM), LS(AWT) E Swinton (HMS Dragon)