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Purvis Warriors turned on the style in the second half to become Knock-out Shield champions with a 50-14 victory against a gutsy MOD Abbey Wood side.

On a crisp afternoon in Aldershot, it was Abbey Wood who started brighter, only for their opponents to take an eighth-minute lead when stand out player LBdr Jack Fitzgerald gave notice of what was an outstanding individual performance.

The full-back – who played for Army Development earlier in the year – took a quick tap penalty inside his own 22 before scorching some 60 metres up the right touchline, the ball then shipped down the backline for LBdr Tagituma to run round and touchdown under the posts.

Fitzgerald added the extras, but Abbeywood hit back as outstanding No. 8 Kai Wilkinson-Hardy picked off the base of a scrum before running in from 10 metres out, Jack Solomon with the extras to level proceedings.

Warriors regained the advantage after a beautiful diagonal kick from Fitzgerald gave his side territory, Gnr Qaqaciri cutting a nice line to blast over from close range.

The kick was successful for 14-7, but despite losing Wilkinson-Hardy to a head knock – one of four significant first-half injuries for the unfortunate Abbey Wood – they again drew level as Chris Hill this time powered over off the back of the set-piece, Solomon again on target.

However, Purvis took control of the final with a brutal start to the second half, three scores inside 12 minutes all but putting the game to bed.

Firstly, Fitzgerald showed some dazzling footwork to dart over on the right, and while he was unable to convert for the first time, his side had a lead they would never release.

Their fourth try came swiftly afterwards, Sgt Scott Lowe crossing the whitewash, and while they then spilled the ball over the line, Gnr Rokovatura then ran a perfect line to dot down under the posts.

Fitzgerald converted for 31-14, and his side added a late flourish with three further tries in the final 10 minutes to rack up their half century.

It was Scott who initially doubled his tally, a brilliant long-distance team move finished by the centre, before LBdr Numatasere crossed as his side’s superior conditioning came to the fore.

Having converted the sixth try, Fitzgerald’s effort struck the right-hand post, but his side showed no mercy as they reached their half-century when he regained his aim following Gnr Coqabula’s score at the death.

Words © Richard Ashton

All images – Alligin Photography © Lee Crabb


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