The Army Rugby Union Clubs competitions are heading to a crashing finale: the Premiership and Championship semi finalists headed to Newbury RFC to play their semi finals while the Community semi finalists went firm at Aldershot to see who had the bragging rights to claim a spot in the three finals.
In the Community semis at Aldershot last years winners 28 Engr Regt based in Hameln, Germany were pitched against 11 Sig Regt, while last years Army sevens champions the Scots Dragoon Guards based in Fallingbostal, Germany found themselves against 14 Sig Regt. Both the Germany teams were too strong for the gallant Signals Regiments and will for the first time face each other in a Germany staged final allowing both sets of supporters the opportunity to cheer on their rugby teams.
The accurate boot of their fly half LCpl Tom Best kept the 12 Regt defence pinned back and as the blizzard set in 39 Engineers became the first team into the 2013 Premiership final. Indeed their feat is put into context of the competition as they are the first Royal Engineer team to reach a final since 21 Engineer Regiment won the Army Cup in 1983. Note to the Royal Engineers – turn up and support.
On the top pitches the arctic survival techniques were being tested to the full, the weather had closed in and any chances of running rugby were quickly being wiped out… in Championship semi 1, 3 Log Sp Regt were up against SEAE, the Loggies started very strongly and were two trys up before SEAE started to get any sight of the ball, they in turn had scored two quick trys to close the game before Championship semi 2 started on pitch 4 between the Royal School of Artillery and Infantry Training Centre Catterick, last years Community Cup losing finalists.
On the main pitch the Welsh had gathered in the stands to watch the all Welsh semi between 1 Bn The Royal Welsh and 1 Bn The Welsh Guards. The Welsh Guards have featured in several Army Cup finals over the last few years and the bookies made them slight favourites, as the conditions got even worse and it became nearly impossible to see across the other side of the pitch it became quickly obvious this was going to become a titanic battle.
Both teams gave it their all, the Royal Welsh spent 25 minutes of the second half camped on the Guards 5 mtrs line, however a superbly organised defence ensured ‘they would not pass’; after 80 minutes we went into extra time, the teams locked at 6 all, after a further two periods of 10 minutes neither team had scored, ‘sudden death’ had tournament organiser Lt Col James Cook RA thumbing the rule book to see what would happen after that. In the ninth minute of ‘sudden death’ and after Ospreys hooker Matty Dwyer had missed a very difficult penalty from over 40 mtrs the Guards fly half Groves calmly slotted over a penalty from 20 mtrs, that was it, game over, both teams had given their all, exhausted and filthy the Guards knew they would have to produce a similar effort to stop 39 Engrs from lifting the Army Cup in Aldershot on 20 March, kick off 1530 hrs, put it in the diary now, it’s going to be titanic…..