Twenty Two Shades of Grey Fall at the Last Hurdle.
The Championship Festival produced total commitment Regimental rugby at its very best.
A raw afternoon on top of Newbury Common witnessed the final charges for Championship honours. Sponsored by the
Royal British Legion one hundred and thirty players, a dozen assorted men with whistles and flags and countless sponge-men / women drained the tank to end their season on a high—half succeeded but on this performance they were all Winners.
In the Bowl Competition 3 Signal Regiment arrived with renta-crowd and despite a spirited assault on the silverware they were overcome by 21 Engineer Regiment by 20pts—3. The Sapper No15 James Davey at the back led from the front and was named Man of the Match.
The Championship Vase went to 4 SCOTS from Inverness who beat 1 RHA 29 pts-12. A well balanced first half saw the SCOTS empty their bench to greater effect and they romped away in the final quarter.
The pick of the afternoon was left for the Championship Cup where 32 Engineer Regiment used youth and enthusiasm to overcome old age and cunning. Fielding well known ‘names’ such as Army Cap Andy Geary and RAF cap Matt Cornish the Defence Academy dominated play in the first half of a strongly contested forward battle and were unfortunate to turn around 8pts—5 down. Mind you the referee did not believe the Academy had a monopoly in cunning and sent two of the Sappers for an impromptu spot of leave on the bench. Skulduggery comes in all shapes and sizes—oh, and ranks!
The difference came in the third quarter where the Academics failed to hold the power and speed of Army wing Sam Sema who flew through and around the defence. Close quarter battle is one thing but ‘30 something Plus’ gives few advantages when attempting to catch those who churlishly use their excessive speed around and across Newbury’s wide open spaces. At the final whistle the ‘Sword had Proved mightier than the Pen’, and the Armoured Sappers won 32pts-5.
The Spoils of War were presented by Lt General Sir Mark Mans and there was generous applause for the tireless efforts of Lt Col James Cook, Chairman of the Championship Committee that had masterminded over 250 games across the Kingdom before we arrived at three Winners.Photography by John Walton