Worcester Cavaliers 20 pts – 14 Army
A dominant second half display nearly saw the Army snatch what had earlier appeared to be an improbable victory against the Worcester Cavaliers on 25 February.
The Cavaliers opened in double quick time. Two solid penalties and a converted try inside 15 minutes had, at least initially, the Army reeling.
The pack was going well although the Cavaliers had long periods in possession with the Army forced into a covering role. Strong captaincy and top notch individual spirit kept the show going forward.
Peceli Nacamavuto (RE) out of position at No 10 alternatively offered a fierce physical presence or speed and timely distribution. Gerhard Wessels (RE) played wide giving Ratu Bulumakau (Scots) useful space.
Throughout the first period the Army back row threatened to break out with Ledua Jope (RE) thrusting hard at every opportunity. The front row was very solid . Hooker Pete Austin (RA) reinforced his standing whilst loose head Warren Ross- Allen (AAC) had another cracker, on one occasion turning to cut off a flying Cavalier wing.
Worcester’s second try on the half hour was unfortunate as, expansively, the Army attempted to cover the width of the field with two passes—the latter signalled as a special delivery for the Cavaliers’ Jason Harries who ran in for a converted try.
Equally ambitious inter- play around Nacamavuto allowed Bulumakau off his wing to strike through a strong cover and touch down under the posts. Cavaliers 20 pts—7 Army
The second half produced a different game. Maybe 40 minutes of hand-to-hand and hard knocks had taken their toll on the Cavaliers defence or just maybe Jope’s clattering try knocked a bit of stuffing from the tackling.
At 20pts-14 the swagger drained away. The Army had seized control whilst the Cavaliers hesitantly looked towards the clock, long range penalties and setting up for the drop.
In the fourth quarter the Army scrum started to line-up the Cavaliers back row for the car park. The Army turned mentally from defence into all-out attack and but for over-eagerness it might have been….. Well, that is not important.
In this high octane period Dave Heads (PWRR) from Germany replaced the ever ebullient Tom Chennell (REME) at No 9. Indeed the Army emptied the bench in stages, noticeably to introduce Chris Budgen (to huge crowd cheer), Gavin Bilton (WG) and newcomer loose head prop Darius Hamilton (REME), something of a pocket battleship who showed pedigree in the tight and effective hands.
During the closing quarter the Reds exerted great pressure on their professional opposition frequently being hauled down feet short of the line. It speaks volumes that the Cavaliers did not add to their first half score
Coach Andy Sanger was well satisfied. “To come to Sixways to play a youngish but wholly professional outfit like the Cavaliers and come away with two tries apiece is a great credit to the Army squad. A number of newcomers held their hands up to give the coaches a very decent problem and a lot of thinking before the Portugal training camp”.