The Army Masters arrived in Bermuda on Sunday evening and after a number of military engagements which included taking part in the Bermuda Remembrance day parade it was time to get down to the serious business of some rugby at the national stadium in the Bermuda capital Hamilton.
The Atlanta Renegades like most teams from North America contained a fair amount of big forwards and backs which meant they brought a tough physical edge to their game. It was the Masters however who started the game strongly, probing away at the Atlanta try line. Strong scrummaging from props Maj Ewen Cameron and Capt Shaun Collins-Lindsay means the forwards provide a strong platform once they get to grips with there opposite numbers. Despite this early pressure both in territory and possession poor handling meant the pressure was not turned into points until SSgt Gareth Williamson crashes over to score the first points. This lead was short lived however as Atlanta hit back after their first visit into the Masters half to make the score 7-5.
The Masters go looking to hit back, but again in the wet conditions it was the Renegades who adjusted their game plan better and keep the Masters at bay until half time. The coaching staff ring the changes but these fresh legs fail to stop a strong run by an Atlanta back who goes through the Master defence to increase their lead to 12-5. This wakes the Masters up and fly half Capt Billy Bragg directs wave upon wave of Army attacks on the Atlanta try line. But to many handling errors means all this work brings no reward which not only frustrates the squad, but also the large crowd watching. As the clock ticks down the Masters start to get desperate and a loose pass leads to an interception try for the Renegades who score under the posts 19-5.
Hope springs eternal and the Army throw everything including the kitchen sink at the Atlanta try line. The ref starts to grow bored with the consent infringements at the breakdown of the Renegades and shows the first yellow card of the match. This is followed soon after with another card when Maj Dom Hayakawa is high tackled just short of the try line. The Masters take a quick tap and go from the penalty and the ever hard working back row forward WO2 Neil Griffiths goes over for a score 19-10.
There is not enough time left to get a final score and the Army Masters leave the field wondering how with so much possession and territory that they did not leave with the win.
WO2 Brad Sutherland is awarded man of the match for his strong performance at full back.
Match report: WO2 Jim Evans