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Maj Sam Richardson (AGC (SPS)) was the hat-trick hero as Army Masters warmed up for their opening Inter-Services Championship game against Royal Navy next Friday (May 3) with a fine 53-14 victory against Ready 4 Heroes at Gloucester.

Having dominated the early stages, the Red Shirts elected to slot a penalty after a strong rolling maul was halted by a high tackle, Maj Mitchell (RLC) giving his side the lead.

Things got better shortly after as WO2 Vasa Bai (RAMC) took a perfect pass following a scrum to crash over, Mitchell knocking over the extras before the Army further extended their lead.

This time it was No. 8 Sgt Taura (RA) who smashed his way towards the line, held up a yard or two short before Lt Col Chris Clifford (RE) picked-and-goed to make it 15-0.

Mitchell’s conversion attempt was charged down, but his side moved further in front when a flowing backs’ move from a scrum on halfway ended with WO2 Fulton (RA) throwing a dummy before shrugging off a couple for tackles to run in from 30 metres out.

The extras were this time added before the Masters crossed for a fifth time just before the half-time break, co-captain SSgt Liam Bowman (RA) taking a close-range ball to power over before Mitchell made it 29-0.

Rugby 4 Heroes struck back well at the start of the second half, smashing their way over from close range before a superb kick from the left further reduced the arears.

However, the Masters re-established themselves, Richardson recording a quick-fire double as some flowing hands firstly set him free on the left before a couple of kicks ended with the ball in his hands for 41-7.

Rugby 4 Heroes battled bravely and got the next converted score to cut the gap to 41-14, but a three-try burst inside four minutes put the game to bed.

First to cross was Stevi Balawai (R YORKS), finishing off a flowing move down the left before Maj Ross Catchpole (REME) did the same, Richarson completing his hat-trick before Sgt Vuadreu (RLC) drop-kicked the final points.

The Masters will need to at least draw with Royal Navy Mariners at Richmond to keep their hopes of defending the IS title alive next Friday, their opponents having beaten the RAF 32-25 in the opener last week.

Words © Richard Ashton

All images – Alligin Photography © Lee Crabb


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