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The Royal Air Force did the Army a massive favour when they held the Reds XV to a scratchy win by 33 pts—18 at Aldershot.

It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t very clever and if it has taken this long to realize that you can’t play competitive rugby with senior players disappearing down the ‘yellow bin road’ then life is going to be difficult.

The first half started with a mediocre tempo until a revitalized No8 Ledua Jope made ground aggressively, hooker Mattie Dwyer carried on with great (and to be honest– unexpected) pace until Ian Martin No9 flew past on the outside to score a very good try.

The reason for a huge corporate and synchronized sigh was short lived, yellow cards were flashed and returned to the pocket and a general feeling of malaise returned.

Ian Martin Flies

Ian Martin flies the touch

Maybe this RAF revival should have been seen. They had produced a very good pack and ran well against the Navy only to lose by 55 pts—26 , more a case of unfortunate errors based on bad luck rather than poor play.

That being their immediate history lesson, a diligent RAF learned a lot, and quickly, and were ‘up’ for this one.

The Light Blues’ pack held their own in the early scrums and cleaned up at the lines out. They spent a good fifteen minutes hovering around the Army ‘22’ and could have scored but for some solid defence.

No doubt the Army was sucked in to a defensive frame of mind but even when they cleared their lines to touch courtesy of a big hoof and strong wind, it only returned the ball, via the line out, to the Airmen.

Bola Attacks

Bola attacks full frontal

To be fair it is not clear who said what at the interval but it pretty much worked. The pack became combative in contact and the RAF lost a bit of the after-burner effect. The introduction of Jack Prasad No10 and Peceli Nacamavuto at centre gave the RAF defence cause for concern. On the sixtieth minute the game settled down—mostly. Jope scored a trademark try off the back row after an immense scrum and Sam Speight added a couple of notches to his gun belt.


Ceri Cummings in blistering form with the boot

If it had not been for the phenomenal place kicking of Ceri Cummings in very difficult weather the score could have been 20 pts—18.

Now is the time for cool heads, laser analysis and something nuclear. Suck this particular lemon bone dry—and go forth and multiply.

New Army Caps On behalf of the ARU Skipper Darrell Ball presented new caps to Nathanael Titchard Jones (REME), Steve George (Welsh Guards),Chris MUNDY (REME), Thomas Hiscock (Welsh Guards), Craig Fillier (RMP)

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