The Royal Navy Senior XV started there 2013 season with a rearrange home game against Oxford University as the Oxford pitch was deemed unplayable.

The weather conditions were always going to play a significant part in the fixture as the driving rain made the lineout a lottery and handling became difficult.

From the kick-off the rustiness of the Navy became very apparent as Oxford coming off the back of a victory the previous week against the Army had the better of the early exchanges. This saw them going ahead early with a converted try, 0-7. 

From the restart the Navy took the game to Oxford and were awarded a penalty, keeping the momentum Mne Jones (42 Cdo RM) playing at 10 put the ball deep into the Oxford half. A miss-timed lineout allowed Oxford to clear their lines and so ending another Navy attack.

The best move of the half started with a strong run from CPOAET Thompson (HMS Sultan) who off loaded to ET(WE) Cooper (HMS Collingwood) eventually the ball ended up in the hands of winger NA(AH) Hunt (RNAS Culdrose) who is only stopped by a gang tackle from Oxford.

However, the Navy refused to be denied and ET(WE) Sleeman (HMS Raleigh) crossed the Oxford line for the first Navy try, converted by POAET Pascoe (771 NAS), 7-7.

The Navy start to up the pressure in defence which resulted in Oxford dropping the ball. Hooker, Capt RM McCardle (HMS Ocean) hacked the ball through and AB Davies (HMS Portland) playing his first Senior XV game claimed the converted try to give the Navy a 14-7 lead.

Half time change in the front row allowed POAET Court (RNAS Culdrose), Lt RN Gaught (HMS Somerset) and Mne Terry (RM Poole) into the game.

The first Oxford attack of the half gained them a well worked, converted try 14-14.

The referee eventually lost his patience with the constant infringements and reduced the Navy to 14 men for 10 mins. A good attack by Oxford allowed the scrum half finds his way to the line for another converted try 14-21.

Sleeman continued to frustrate the Oxford defence as they had real difficulty in stopping him breaking their defensive line. However, handling errors stop the Navy making more of these breaks.

Mne Tichias (42 Cdo RM) and LAET Clay (RNAS Yeovilton) replaced the hardworking Sleeman and Pascoe. However, more ill-discipline by the Navy reduced them to 14 players again.

Oxford continued to pressurise the Navy until the final whistle and earning themselves another win over a service team 14-21.

DoR Cdr (Andy) Kellett said of the game "As a match, we lost it through our poor discipline. However, I was encouraged by phase of our play which we can build on in the coming weeks".

Head Coach POAET (Owen) Salmon stated "We blooded some new players this evening in awful conditions and they stood up well to the challenge against a good Oxford side. We will take a lot away to work on, but I was pleased we finished strongly in our first game in 4 months". 



NA(AH) K Mason (HMNB Devonport), Capt RM C McCardle (HMS Ocean), NA(AH) K Beasley (RNAS Culdrose), CPOAET S Thompson (HMS Sultan), POAET M Cormack (RNAS Culdrose), Mne Fox (42 Cdo RM), Mne S Raumakita (42 Cdo RM), ET(WE) I Cooper (HMS Collingwood), POAET D Pascoe (771 NAS), Mne J Jones (42 Cdo RM), Sgt L Blackburn (RM Poole), ET(ME) D Sleeman (HMS Raleigh), AB S Davies (HMS Portland), NA(AH) A Hunt (RNAS Culdrose), Mne J Marlin (42 Cdo RM), Lt RN E Gaught (HMS Somerset), Mne J Terry (RM Poole), POAET J Court (RNAS Culdrose), LAET J Clay (RNAS Yeovilton), Cpl T Holliday (6 Sqn), Logs(SC) B Buinimasi (HMNB Devonport), Mne M Tichias (42 Cdo RM), LAET O James (CHF), Mne K Wood (CLR), Mne J Blackburn (Bovington).

The Royal Navy Senior XV next game is on Wed 20 Feb at Esher RFC 7.15 pm KO.