ROYAL NAVY SENIOR XV MAKE IT 9 WINS OUT OF 12 AGAINST THE IRISH DEFENCE FORCES
On a bitterly cold afternoon on the south bank of the Liffey, the Royal Navy who had travelled to Dublin on Mon stepped out onto Monkstown FC to play their annual fixture against the Irish Defence Forces (IDF).
A bright start by the IDF, spurred on after last years heavy defeat and looking for their fourth win in this series of games that see's the Navy with an 8-3 advantage, saw them earn two early penalties, however, neither were converted by Capt Behan.
The Navy got back in to the game and put the Irish scrum under pressure and the subsequent penalty saw POAET (Dave) Pascoe (RNAS Culdrose) slot over a penalty for the lead after quarter of an hour. Continued pressure from the Navy resulted in another penalty, this time the kick was pushed in to the corner and a scrum followed the line out and the early dominance resulted in a try for the Navy No8 LET(WESM) (Ian) Cooper (HMS Collingwood).
Uncharacteristic missed tackles and mistakes from the Navy put themselves under pressure and conceded further penalties. This time the IDF put the ball in the corner and after sustained pressure from the line out and a scrum, the IDF No8, Capt (Rory) McCann stretched out over the line for a try, the subsequent conversion brought the IDF within one point of the Navy at 7-8.
In the last minute of the first period saw the best play of the game by the Navy and after turnover ball, a clear line break by LNA(AH) (Ben) Priddey (RNAS Culdrose) who was supported by the John Walton ‘Man of the Match' Mne (Dom) Taylor (42 Cdo RM), who checked his run, threw an excellent long ball out to support that put LAET (Ollie) James (RNAS Yeovilton) over in the corner for a half time lead of 7-13.
The second half saw a fired up Irish team put the Navy under pressure for a lot of the half, dominating the scrum and making life very difficult to gain any momentum or increase the tempo of the game as they were starved of possession.
Several rearguard efforts stopped the IDF crossing the line and when they did the Navy defence held them up. A single penalty after 20 mins was the IDFs only success and it was not until the final kick of the game that the Navy stretched their lead to 10-16, the final score.
Reflecting on the game, head coach POAET (Owen) Salmon commented ‘The Irish made it very difficult for us to get any pace in to our game, we gave away possession too easily and we struggled to dominate the breakdown area. It will be a lesson for our guys who have not played in Ireland before and I think the IDF can feel a little unlucky they did not come away with a home victory'