1 SCOTS 29 – 12 REGT RA 17
The 1st Bn Royal Regiment of Scotland returned to the top of the Army’s Community Rugby leader-board with a resounding win at the Community Tens at Newbury.
Twenty two teams participated in the pipe-opener which meant one hundred games, four pitches, 400 players, coaches, admin-wallahs and officials trumpeted that the new season had begun—and with a bang. Many teams had traveled long distances including the Winners from Belfast and the Scots DG from Germany.
Completion of the leagues produced two cracking Semi Finals. Surprisingly, or maybe just unexpectedly, 1 SCOTS overcame the much fancied 17 Port & Maritime Regt by 41 pts-10. Maybe the Dolphins were showing the effects of a slow start to a long season or simply that even the very best players cannot go on for ever. Twickenham favourite Bunny Burenivalu showed glimpses on inventiveness but somehow the legs never quite made it to the line. The SCOTS, on the other hand, had no difficulty in picking out the chalk and finishing off with five good tries.
The second Semi asked 4 SCOTS to take on the Army Cup holders 12 Regt RA. With two Army caps in the pack the Gunners bossed the up-front contest denying the nippy SCOTS much meaningful possession. Skipper Ken Dowding and hooker Pete Austin, both in rumbustious mood, were well supported. They skilfully retained possession allowing eye-catcher George Maine to choose his time and place to attack –which he did to great effect. 12 Regt RA 22pts—4 SCOTS 12.
The final was mouth-watering in its complexity. The same Semi-Final formula from both sides—the Gunners grabbing the ball and holding on to it with the SCOTS defending patiently, waiting for an opportunity to release their whippets. Prasad struck early on, beat his man and had the confidence to ship the ball to the open spaces. The heavier Gunners were unable to cover all the ground.
That established a pattern—thunder from the Gunners and lightning from the SCOTS. Both sides played their own brand well until the last two minutes when the men from Belfast scored a brace to run out Winners by 29pts—12.
Maybe the Gunners, who had 30 minutes less ‘R&R’ before the final, played at a disadvantage. ‘Twas ever thus and taken in the round the winner was Army rugby which is up and running. The SCOTS took the glory, the Gunners from Thorney Island took many plaudits and we will hear much more from them at the business end of the Season.