The Royal welsh 12 pts—12 Regt (AD) 10
Mud Glorious Mud. The Army Premiership Semi Finals were fought out on 17 Feb 16 in pretty dire conditions at Sandhurst and Andover.
At the Royal Military Acadenmy the Royal Welsh and current champions 12 Regiment [AD]RA were nip and tuck throughout the eighty minutes. Both teams, with a fair sprinkling of Army players, attempted to play rugby but the conditions were not in their favour.
The slippery surface and greasy ball were a great leveller, both between the teams and probably more importantly between those players who were ‘known’ and those who were there to make an impression. In the end both teams had to settle for ‘Cup Rugby’ and influencing the scoreboard rather than the crowd.
The Welsh dominated general play in the first half and ‘Ping Pong’ penalties told the story of a dour battle. In the forwards the Gunners carried tons of heavy ammunition to the front line and were firing to effect. There was a hint of gaining the upper hand. The Gunners’ try came as a reward for concerted effort led by the ever noisy skipper Ken Dowding. The conversion was good and gained a 10pts-9 advantage.
Following a bit of simmering up front, the arrival of Chris Budgen to stiffen Welsh sinews and No9 Morgan Evans barking at their heels, the Welsh were awarded a penalty.
As silent bets were being taken around the ground up stepped Ieuan Parsons, No8 with what might be described in the conditions as an almighty hoof. Bread from Heaven…. in the form of 3 points and a passage to the Premiership Final.
Dripping with rain and smiles it is easy to see there are advantages in growing up in a country where one side of the valley only sees the sun a couple of times each year and it pours every day of the week.
The Final is billed to be a cracker at Aldershot on 23 March 16. Along with the finals of the Championship and Community Cups it will be a true Festival of Army Rugby.
At Andover RFC the result was YORKS 11pts—17 P&M Regt RLC 13
Photography by John Walton Gentleman Photographer