RN WOMEN DEFEAT RAF WOMEN 3-10
The Inter Services commenced this year at RAF Halton. Straight from the kick off the RAF were quick on the attack causing the Navy to defend in their 22. The first scrum saw the Navy dominate, pushing the RAF backwards. With increased confidence, the Navy surged forward hitting low and hard reclaiming ground. With the white line in sight the Navy fought hard to cross it but the RAF managed to hold up the attempted try. A solid scrum on the 5m line allowed Lt (Paula) Bennett-Smith (NATO Northwood) to make a break to the blind side and with an offload to scrum half AB (Lauren) Morton (HMS Nelson), who used some "razzle dazzle" and scored the first points of the game with a forward roll. The score stood at 0-5 with a missed conversion.
The RAF came fighting back and made some good attacking play. Deciding to kick for points from a penalty, the RAF made the score line 3-5. More attacking play from the RAF saw them break for the line however they were met by the solid wall consisting of Bennett-Smith, NA(AH) (Caroline) Penrose (RNAS Culdrose) and SLT (Helen) Stevenson (HMS Collingwood). A strong scrum by the Navy allowed them to regain some ground and possession in the last ten minutes of the first half was tightly fought by both teams. AB Stacey Hargrave made some strong runs around the sides of breakdowns with the RAF needing to use 2 players to stop her. Just before halftime, the Navy replaced AET (Lisa) Christie (702 NAS) with MA (Amy) Risker (Keogh Barracks) in the front row. At half time the score stood at 3-5.
With renewed vigour the Navy started the second half with some spectacular attacking play. POET(WE) (Sarah) Jenkins (HMS Collingwood) showed some good vision by kicking the ball into space to allow POAWT (Emma) Swinton (HMS Collingwood) and LSA (Fiesha) Greene (HMS Illustrious) to cause confusion within the RAF defensive line. 10 minutes into the second half saw in the RAF going down to 14 women with their number 1 heading to the sin bin. The Navy utilised this opportunity with relentless attacking play and good ball in hand. LAC (Emily) Park (HMS Collingwood) created a secure platform for Morton to provide clean ball to the backs. Navy substitutions of PO (Zoe) Beer (RAF Digby) and Lt Cdr (Kirsty) Marlor (RAF Cosford) for Bennett-Smith and Lt (Caroline) Oakes (854 NAS) allowed these dynamic players to make impact within minutes. Several RAF injuries slowed the pace of the game but not for long and a spectacular interception by Morton resulted in creative attacking play by the backs. Not wanting to miss out, captain Lt (Charlotte) Fredrickson (COMUKTG) joined in the attack to score the final try of the game. With the final score of 3-10, a hard fought game earned back to back victories for the Navy Women against the RAF.
Special recognition is required for the 2 players who received their RN Caps today, AB (Sam) Alderson (HMS Scott) and Lt (Paula) Bennett-Smith (NATO Northwood). In addition, 5 players made their Inter Services debut for the RN(W): AET (Lisa) Chrisie (702 NAS), SLt (Helen) Stevenson (HMS Collingwood), MA (Amy) Risker (Keogh Barracks), NNS (Alice) Kightley (DSHE) and CPOAET (Billie) Staite (MAA Abbeywood).
Assistant Coach POMA (Chris) Jones (HMS Nelson) said "I was very impressed with the standard of tackling and the defensive performance of the ladies today. The girls showed massive improvement from previous fixtures and should be proud of themselves. For me, the stand out players were AB (Stacey) Hargrave (HMS St Albans) in the forwards who led by example, working hard to get back and support and probably making the most ground in attack and LSC (Fiesha) Greene (HMS Illlustrious) in the backs who made good supporting runs and made the most turn-overs in the rucks."
The RAF chose AB (Lauren) Morton (HMS Nelson) as their man of the match.