The Under 23’s Inter Service Championship is shaping up to be as close in contest as the Senior Competition earlier this year.
The Army U23’s travelled to RAF Halton for the light blue’s first showing in this year’s competition, the Army side having narrowly lost to the Royal Navy by two points a week ago.
The RAF were better organised in most aspects of the game, particularly at the break down where isolated Army attackers were stripped of the ball on numerous occasions. After an uneventful first 40 minutes, plenty of nerves on show and a fair few mistakes from both sides the Army were fortunate to go into the break 3 points all.
The second half provided better entertainment for the small but appreciative crowd braving the cold afternoon. Intelligent kicking from the RAF half backs organised their game plan well. With the Army set piece misfiring and the backline being starved of quality possession it was difficult to build any momentum. However both fullbacks provided some moments of excitement, the RAF 15 in particular a good talisman for them and the Army’s 14 also proving a strong runner in attack. Both sides crossed the whitewash on several occasions, keeping the crowd on the edge of their seats as to who would come out victorious.
The match ended 18-18, a fair reflection of an afternoon of missed chances and opportunities for both sides. Disappointment for the Army again as the IS title slipped away for a second year, now comes a period of reflection on the season in order to regroup and build a successful team for the future. The RAF travel to Portsmouth next week to battle the Royal Navy for the U23’s IS title, good luck to both teams.