On a bitterly cold afternoon at Olney Rugby Football Club on Saturday 24 January 2015 the Army development team stepped onto the field looking confident and ready for the battle ahead.
This game marked the centenary of the Mobbs Memorial and two games were to be played on this day; the ladies match, followed by 1Yorks playing Olney 1st XV. This memorial is to pay tribute to the players that were involved in the Great War and to remember the fallen.
The Army (W) Development squad consisted of a few Army capped players and a majority of Corps players keen to play in the Red shirt.
From the first whistle it was clear that this game was not going to be a walk in the park. With a solid scrum and a powerful Olney backrow the Army were stopped in their tracks, disrupting phase play and causing chaos and pressure at the breakdown. The Army fought back with a solid defensive line, which resorted to Olney kicking for territory.
After a few half breaks by Sgt Amy Robinson (AGC (RMP)) playing at 10, she was able to create space for the outside backs which eventually paid off at the 20 minute mark when the Army breached through the Olney defence sending Capt Chantelle Miller (AGC (RMP)) flying over the try line.
The forwards found their rhythm and with solid phase play, a strong platform was provided to unleash the backline with Chantelle Miller crossing for her second try.
The second half started with both teams just as determined when they first walked onto the park, fighting for triumph. Lt Alex Harrison-Wolff (REME) playing at 9 took charge of the pack, sending them forward over the gain line. With pick and goes creating space around the fringes Sgt Rae Metters (REME) who was Team Captain for the game, broke through the Olney defence with support scoring a well deserved forwards try.
With fresh legs in the forwards the Army pushed on; with the half backs controlling phase play it was difficult for Olney to contain the Army advance. LCpl Mariette Claassens (AGC (SPS)) made a break through the midfield and with quick ball and a couple of solid phases Cpl Tara McGlade (RSigs) crossed the line ‘a great team try’.
As the final whistle approached the backs had the final say with winger Lt Anneka Willis (RE) crossing the line putting the score 27-0. The score line flattered the Army Development team a little, but the performance from the squad gave them a deserved win. Their performance was also contributed by top class coaching leading up to the game, by SSgt Marty Pinner (REME) and WO2 (AQMS) Jules Simpson (REME).
With women’s rugby on the rise Head Coach, Captain Glyn Barraclough (RAMC) has successfully brought on a development squad giving Corps players an opportunity to compete and play in a Red shirt. This has given Glyn a fountain of players to choose from for the Inter-Services, which clearly shows the Army Women are in a strong position for the games ahead.
Next up for the Army is England U20s on Tuesday 17 Feb 15 at Aldershot.