Senior XV Miss Out at Oxford
Unfortunately the Senior XV match away at Oxford University will be remembered for the broken leg suffered by the Oxford right wing, Luke Fenwick. This caused the game to be held up after only 10 mins of play. The match did not resume until Luke had been removed from the field by ambulance and as a consequence of the delay was shortened to 2 halves of 30 mins.
Prior to the injury the Navy had started well and were rightly rewarded with an early penalty converted by the Navy Capt Dave Pascoe (771 NAS) (0-3). After the enforced break they continued playing a balanced style of rugby. Nial Copeland (HMS Collingwood) was producing quality ball from the lineout whilst the front row of Tom Blackburn (HMS Sultan), Ben Priddey (RNAS Culdrose) and Robbie Roberts (HMS Bulwark) set a stable scrum platform which allowed Gareth Cadmore (HMS Raleigh) at No 8 to work off. In the backs centres, Dale Sleeman (HMS Cumberland) and Calum MacRae (CTCRM) caused problems for the Oxford University defence.
A period of sustained pressure forced the University side to concede a couple of penalties in their own 22m. Electing not to kick for goal the Navy were rewarded from a 5m lineout when Ben Priddey went over for the 1st try of the game, following a catch and drive by Nial Copeland the try went unconverted( 0-8) half time.
The half time score was well deserved but the 2nd half started with the Navy being forced to defend for long periods as Oxford University maintained possession and managed to get the ball to their pace out wide. With the Navy defence out of alignment Oxford were deservedly rewarded by a try through their No 8 and Capt Stu McKeen try unconverted (5-8).
From the restart Oxford were once more on the front foot and this time the exposed the Navy out wide which was capitalised on by replacement Luke Jones who crossed the Navy line for the first of his 2 tries (10-8).
The Navy then enjoyed a period of sustained pressure on the Oxford line. However, they were unable to capitalise on this, in what would prove to be a decisive passage of play.
Having forced a Navy turnover Oxford where able to clear their lines and turn defence into attack. A missed tackle in midfield allowed Oxfords fly half Hugh Guinness to score under the posts which he also converted (17-8). A well weighted restart followed by a kick through allowed Luke Jones to just reach the ball before the deadball line for his 2nd try of the night which as unconverted (22-8).
However, the Navy had the last word and following a period of continuity which created the opening for Dale Sleeman to cross for the Navy's 2nd unconverted try to make the final score (22-13).
Royal Navy: ET(ME) Jon Marlin (HMS Chatham); SLt Stu Lewis (RAF Shawbury); Cpl Calum MacRae (CTCRM); ET(ME) Dale Sleeman (HMS Cumberland); Mne Kitione Kamikamica (45 Cdo RM)(rep Mne Setareki Raumakita (42 Cdo RM) - 30min) ; POET(WE) Wayne John (HMS Collingwood) (rep POET(WE) Dane Smallbone (HMS Collingwood) - 35 min); POAET Dave Pascoe (Capt) (771 NAS, RNAS Culdrose); LPT Gareth Cadmore (HMS Raleigh) (rep SLt Jovin Harper RN (BRNC) - 35 min); Cpl Tristan Lark (40 Cdo RM); MA Sam Laird (Keogh Barracks); Capt Stu McLaren RM (DMOC- RAF Halton); Lt Nial Copeland RN (HMS Collingwood); AB Robbie Roberts (HMS Bulwark) (rep Mne Josh Terry (539 ASRM) - 35 min); NA Ben Priddey (RNAS Culdrose) (rep Capt Tom Evans-Jones RM (LWC Warminster) - 30 min); SLT Tom Blackburn RN (HMS Sultan)