The fourth round of the ARU BAG Championship saw a depleted 28 Regt RE side lose heavily to a 5 Rifles side that have under gone resurgence in recent weeks. After losing narrowly to 26 Regt RA and the QDG, the Rifles coached by Maj Ian Wilkins beat the Gutersloh based Gunners in the return match before turning their attention to the Sappers.
The first whistle showed that a Rifles win would only be possible if they made use of the wider channels as the Sappers fought tooth and nail for possession. Good Sapper pressure forced the Rifles into infringing and this pattern continued until the 20 min mark when they missed an opportunity to make it 9-3 as LCpl Chris Shorter fell just short with a long range attempt at goal.
This appeared to galvanise the Rifles to make the ball do the work and use the wider spaces. By keeping the ball away from the 28 pack who counted Army rugby veterans WOII Scotty Wilson and the ubiquitous SSgt ‘Ginge’ Windle amongst their numbers , they found holes out wide which allowed the pacey back line to score three unanswered tries. Rifles fly half Capt Ben Cottenden showed his opposite number and BAG rival Shorter the way by missing only once in 11 attempt at goal.
After the break, the Rifles cut loose scoring another 3 tries to take the score to 46-9 and the match was effectively over as competition by the 60 minute mark. The Engineer pack refused to lie down and the pattern for the last 30 minutes was of Sapper possession and industry against the Rifles defence. Despite not being able to score, the Sappers kept going and came close on a number of occasions. The Rifles remained sharp and every time the ball was lost, punished a weary Sappers XV. The final score of 63-6 does not do justice to the tenacity and heart of the Sappers and they are already eyeing the return match on 01 Dec 12 with anticipation as they will be back to near full strength as their sub units return from deployments.