A comfortable win for the Masters against a strong Torbay Sharks side. Final Score 44-19
On a cool but dry evening at the Army Rugby Stadium in Aldershot the Army Masters were in unchartered waters as they took on an unknown Torbay Sharks side. This fixture was the fifth fixture for the Army Masters as they continue to develop the strategy with which they will attack the Inter Services fast approaching in April. The Sharks turned up in force and hopefully made their trip from Devon a memorable evening playing at the prestigious Army Rugby Stadium.
To the credit of both teams they were fired up for the game and looking to play quick physical running rugby. It was the Masters who found themselves in deep water and being bitten in the third minute of the game as if a Mako Shark (fastest shark in the sea) saw the Torbay fullback suddenly make an amazing break only to be stopped just short of the Masters line. In came the heavy weights (great whites) and the forwards recycled the ball quickly to go over the line. The Sharks living up to their name as a strong, quick physical side were ahead 5-0 very early in the match.
A great restart by the Masters saw them get the ball back immediately and they were rewarded with a penalty as the Sharks had hands on the ball in the ruck. The Masters opted for the posts however it was not be, the kickers for both teams were struggling to find their targets all day. A 22 drop out saw the Masters pressing hard again with the Sharks defending really well, foul play by the Sharks gave an opportunity for the Masters to kick for the corner and try some set play from the lineout. Just after 11 minutes saw the first score for the Masters levelling the score 5-5 after some great work at the lineout with Sgt Liam Bowman going over the line for his first try for the Masters.
The Masters pack started to show great control giving some good ball to the backs who started to show how talented they really are and after another 11 mins Cpl Vukinavanua made an individual break following some fantastic hands by the backs releasing him to score the second try for the Masters to go 10-5 up. The Masters were on a role and with the Sharks being penalised for both offside and hands in the ruck in quick succession the Masters again kicked for the corner. A great lineout saw the Masters strength through the driving maul cross over the line to make it 15-5. Coming close to the end of the first half the Masters scored two more times with another great individual try by Cpl Vukinavanua taking the Masters lead to a 27-5. The convincing lead going into half time was short lived as the Sharks were not prepared to give up the fight, their No 8 supported by their speedy fullback made another great run to score, taking the half time score to 27-12.
Half time saw the coaches of both teams make changes and it was the Sharks who came out with the killer instinct looking to capitalised on their last play in the first half scoring a great try from set play at a lineout and maul sucking in the Masters like a bait ball bringing the score to 27-19.
This was to be the last score for the Sharks as the lactic acid built up the Masters fitness and strength started to show, the coaches brought the finishers to the field and it wasn’t long before the Masters had their sixth try and Sgt Liam Bowman’s second try of the game. The Masters took the lead out of the reach of the Sharks 32-19.
More and more infringements by the Sharks saw scrum half WO2 Gareth Slade-Jones take a quick tap from a penalty to release winger Sgt Tams Tamatawale to score another try for the Masters, with the conversion missed the score was at 37-19. The Sharks were not giving up, they continued to put the masters under pressure in the closing stages of the second half with some great set play from both forwards and backs demonstrating excellent recycling of quick ball which resulted in a penalty being awarded to them. With only seconds left on the clock the Sharks were focused on the try line but Cpl Vukinavanua was up quickly in defence and managed to intercept the ball, running 70m down the park to score the last try of the game and with only the second successful conversion of the match taking the lead and final score to 44-19. This was a strong performance and in the end a comfortable win for the Masters.
The Masters would like to thank the Sharks for making the long trip up from Devon and the fantastic well spirited rugby that was played. The Masters hopefully looks forward to playing you next season in a return fixture on your own hunting ground.