Director of Corps Rugby, Maj Jason Lowe, was quick to praise all those who helped make the season-opening festival at Newbury a big success.
After a year’s absence due to the Queen’s passing, eight men’s teams and two combined women’s sides featuring players from four different Corps produced some terrific rugby with the RLC taking the men’s League One title with a 22-10 victory against the Royal Engineers.
The Infantry were crowned League Two champions by default, though showcased their skills with an impressive 19-0 triumph against a combined RA/REME side in an exhibition game.
The AMS took the League Three spoils against RAPTC, with the RLC/REME overcoming the RA/AMS in the women’s showcase.
And Maj Lowe said: “It was a good day. A lot of hard work, but to be able to put this number of people out for a day’s competition is fantastic and it can only get better.
“But also, the small things, we had 4 Regt RLC who provided a workforce to do all the jobs no-one else wants to, like parking and litter-picking – that’s the sort of thing we need.
“I’m blessed with the team around me who run round doing all the hard work to put it all together – it takes a lot to bring this many people into one place.
“A special mention to the secretary, Capt Andy Corke, he’s the one whose been running around doing all the scores and making sure people were in the right place.”
He continued: “This level of rugby is about getting people on the pitch and getting new blood into the sport.
“The Int Corps came maxed out with numbers of 25 plus, REME had 30 including two 17-year-olds which shows how hard we are trying to grow the sport.”
And Maj Lowe was quick to point out how important the sport is as he added: “Rugby is massive for the Corps. If you think about our job, ultimately it is warfare and when you go on a rugby pitch, it’s also a battle.
“There’s tactics, guys planning on their feet, executing those plans and going through all their drills and skills the same way they would at work. It’s great stuff.
“From my rugby career it was all about comradeship – 15 players against one another, looking after each other and that helps in civilian life as well. It gives guys the confidence and ability to work with people around them, to go up against difficult times and get round them.”
The quality on display was high throughout, and Maj Lowe believes it could be a campaign to remember when the Corps Championship begins on Wednesday, September 27.
He revealed: “The majority of the squads have only just come back off summer leave, so they’ve had two or three weeks sunning themselves at home with their mates, then back in work for two weeks and to come and produce the level of rugby is phenomenal.
“It’s still early stages but come next year we’ll be at full tilt and I think it’s going to be a cracking season.
“I’d like to think some of these guys can push for recognition – we grow the players in Corps rugby, give them the exposure, the opportunity to play decent standard and ultimately the goal is to feed the Red Shirts ready for the Inter-Services.”
Words © Richard Ashton
All images – Alligin Photography © Cat Goryn
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