RN Women and Mariners Face the Army at Kneller HallThe Royal Navy Rugby Union took on the Army Rugby Union in a ‘winner takes all' for the 2012 Babcock Inter Service Competition Trophy.
The Navy Teams met on Friday night at the Lensbury Club which was to be their home for the next couple of days. This also allowed the President of the RNRU, Admiral Sir Trevor Soar KCB OBE, to present the playing shirts to both the RN Women and the RN Mariners. The evening also saw the presentation of the special Soapy Watson Memorial Trophy. The Soapy Watson Memorial Trophy is presented in memory of former RN Veteran and Senior XV Team Manager WO Soapy Watson, who was also a mainstay of Command and Establishment level rugby. This year's winner was POPT (Wendy) Briggs in recognition of her huge contribution not only as the RN Mariners Physio but also their fitness coach.
The following day saw the Navy teams take to the pitches at Kneller Hall and Twickenham. First up were the RN Women and RN Mariners who kicked off at the same time. The Mariners led by CSgt (Wilf) Rees (40 Cdo RM) were first to score with a penalty through the boot of in-form Fly Half Lt Cdr (Paul) Clark (BRNC Dartmouth), to give the Mariners a 0-3 lead. This was overtaken as the Army Masters scored an unconverted try 5-3; the score remained the same until half time. However, the Mariners took back the lead with another penalty 6-5. The score remained in favour of the Mariners until the later stages of the game as 2 yellow cards in quick succession gave the Army Masters the advantage they needed, scoring 2 unanswered converted tries to give them a winning score of 19-6.
The RN Women had no less a challenge as they took on an Army Women with a great deal of experience, not only in the starting line up but on the bench as well. The Army women have been unbeaten in this competition and always approach this contest with confidence and self-belief. However, it took then a great deal of hard work to gain their first try as the RM Women's defence refused to give way, with skipper Lt (Freddie) Fredrickson (849 NAS) leading from the front. Newly capped Centre SA (Fiesha) Greene (HMS Nelson) worked tirelessly with her centre partner ET (ME) (Lavinia) Vakuruivalu (HMS Northumberland) to keep the Army Women out. However, they eventually found a way through the Navy Defence to lead 7-0. This was followed by 2 unconverted tries by half time 17-0.
The RN Women started the 2nd half the stronger of the 2 teams and scored the only Navy try of the day 17-5. However, even with Lt (Paula) Bennett-Smith RN (NATO Northwood) working hard to rally the team, injures and fatigue took their toll and the Army eventually ran out winners 41-5. The RN Women may have been beaten but right up until the final whistle, they showed the spirit and determination that had seen them win against the RAF a week earlier.
Chairman of Royal Navy Rugby Capt (Chris) Alcock OBE awarded Caps to the following:
AB C Lewis (COMPORFLOT)
Lt C Fredrickson RN (849 NAS)
AB L Morton (HMS Nelson)
LET S Jenkins (HMS Richmond)
ET L Vakuruivalu (HMS Northumberland)
Lt H Leach (824 NAS)
The Roger Sherratt Trophy was inaugurated in memory of Roger, a supporter and first ever sponsor of RN Women's Rugby from its inception. The winner is chosen for her outstanding contribution to the team during the Inter Services competition, which is ultimately also recognition of her consistent performance throughout the season.
This year's winner was AB L Morton (HMS Nelson)