Saturday 9 May 2015
Kneller Hall, Twickenham
It was the business end of the season as both teams went onto the field at Kneller Hall looking for a victory to secure the Inter Service championship after both the Navy Mariners and Army Masters had defeated the RAF Vultures in the previous weeks. Like most games between these two sides, this game was decided just by one or two tight plays and decisions. From the kick off pressure by the Army Masters leads to a chance for a early score, but Masters Full back WO2 Brad Sutherland watches his attempt come back of the post, but a good follow up by the Army back row ensures the Masters keep the pressure on the Mariners and Sgt Pepsi Wakcokecoke feds Scrum half SSgt Gareth Slade -Jones to go over for a early lead to the Army Masters.
There then followed a period of play which was to set the pattern for the rest of the game with the Navy Mariners getting their first yellow card quickly followed by two quick yellows for the Masters. There was barely a time during the rest of the fixture that both sides had their full numbers on the park. The Navy Mariners adopted better to this then the Army Masters and finished the first half 13-5 in the lead after a try and a couple of penalty kicks. Skipper for the Army Masters WO2 Neil Griffiths and fellow back rower Capt Mark Jenkins have to be replaced due to injury by able replacements CSgt Spencer Sutton and Capt Martin Dedman. The Masters raise the tempo in the second half with far better play from the pack and are rewarded by a penalty under the posts and with 15 minutes left on the clock they are the team in the ascendancy with big carries from the likes of SSgt Steve Limbrick and WO2 Paul Smith on for WO1 Matt France in the 2nd row. The pressure is on the Mariners and after some great phases of play Capt Billy Bragg goes through a couple of would be defenders to score under the posts, 15-13 to the Army Masters. It is game on with yellow cards for both sides still appearing with the final minutes of the game deciding who would be IS champions. The Mariners throw the kitchen sink at the Master’s line and are awarded a penalty kick, that just goes wide and the Masters clear, but still the pressure is on with the Masters unable to get out of their own half.
The Mariners come again and win a lineout on the 5 meter line and go for the catch and drive and the resulting maul collapses and the referee gives a penalty try to the Mariners and the conversion is good 20-15. The Masters have no time to mount a challenge and the referee blows his whistle for the end of the match and the 2014/15 season.
Army Masters Head Coach WO2 Mark Reed commented after the game:
This game is always emotional for many reasons. It’s the Army V Navy game and it’s the last game of the season for this side which been forming since trials back in September. So with all that in mind our preparation was pretty good with a few days training in Aldershot before the game itself. We knew that the Navy would come at us hard in the first few minutes, and we also knew that the side who settled first and stayed on the right side of discipline would be the team that took the spoils. Unfortunately for us it was the Navy who did both and put pressure on us from the off, this in turn led to bad discipline and bad decision making, something we had striven to eradicate from our game all season. 2 yellow cards early in the game unsettled us and although we came back well in the second half, our discipline and bad decision making with injuries and a penalty try all contributed to a game that simply slipped away from us. There were glimmer’s of hope during the game, Ollie Ormiston again had a great game as did stalwart prop Simon Orr, in the backs Gareth Slade-Jones kept the Navy on their toes, and Lee Davis called from the coaching set up to the playing field made some great yards, but No8 Steve Limbrick stood out with great runs and soft hands deep into Navy territory. I told the boys after the game to hold their heads high and suck it in, 12 months is a long time to suffer this loss, but conversely it is 12 months to plan and prepare our revenge!
Match report by: WO2 Jim Evans