A glorious day of sunshine in RAF Halton set the stage for an impressive game of rugby that saw the Army run in 15 tries and produce some exceptional rugby; as a team the forwards working hard to set the platform for the backs to exploit and individual performances that caused havoc and tested the RAF defence for a majority of the match.
The Army set their stall out within the opening 2 minutes with aggressive running lines and were rewarded with a great team try that was scored by Cpl Bee Dawson (AGC(RMP)). The RAF responded well to this and were rewarded with a penalty which was kicked; 5-3 Army.
The tempo of the match increased and the valiant RAF defence was stretched and placed under pressure from all angles. The defence was eventually breached with a break from Sgt Sarah Mitchelson (RLC) who offloaded in the tackle and released the backs, quick passes to the wing created the space for Cpl Caz Roberts (REME) to score a try which was converted by Capt Gemma Rowland (RA); 12-3 Army.
The Army received the ball and continued to apply pressure to the RAF, not allowing them time or space on the field. All the pressure was rewarded as Cpl Jane Leonard (RE) scored under the posts after 22 minutes following a scrum, Sarah Mitchelson crossed again after 29 minutes, Cpl Lou Steer (RLC) on debut scored under the posts (32 minutes). Bee Dawson received the resulting restart, broke through the tackle and sprinted half the pitch to score an excellent individual try (34 minutes) and just before half time Lt Chantelle Miller AGC(RMP) scored following eight phases of build up play from both the forwards and the backs. Gemma converted four of the tries giving the Army a half time lead of 45-3.
The RAF came out strong in the second half and showed creativity that tested the Army defence on more than one occasion, providing the home crowd with good attacking rugby to applaud. The Army absorbed several phases and turned defence into attack on several occasions. The breakthrough came on 46 minutes when a turn over from the scrum released Gemma to break through and score under the posts. Gemma doubled her try tally on 52 minutes when following a well executed Army lineout she received the ball, broke the RAF line and rounded the full back to score under the posts. She duly converted both of her tries; 59-3 Army.
With several second half substitutions made the Army continued to attack the RAF and Gnr Jess McAuley (RA) crossed the line on 61 minutes after good build up play and patience by the whole team. The next 15 minutes saw the Army monopolise on possession and saw two more newly capped players score on debut; Lt Alex Harrison-Wolff (REME) on both 64 minutes and 75 minutes and Pte Heidi Silcox (RAMC) on 68 minutes. Great individual skills, running lines and pitch awareness saw further tries scored from Sgt Rosie Haigh (REME) on 71 minutes and Cpl Dani Phan (Int Corps) on 78 minutes. Final score 93-3 Army.
Seven Caps were presented following the game by Jane to Pte Sarah Batley (AGC(RMP)), 2Lt Jade Binskin-Barnes (RLC), LCpl Nicole Bradshaw (Int Corps), Maj Jenny Connell (AGC(ALS)), Alex, Heidi and Lou. The Player of the Match as selected by the match officials was Rosie. Congratulations to all the new Caps and to Rosie who constantly delivers in the red shirt and was deservedly rewarded on a day that saw several players in contention for the Player of the Match award.