An Army cup final should see the two best teams end up facing each other and it should be a cracker….. The knockout stages of this years Army cup saw the Royal Welsh and 17 Port Port and Maritime Regiment make it to play for the historic silverware, and the match didn’t disappoint!
With two minutes to go the entire stand crowd were on their feet screaming on their champions, The Dolphins held a slender 3 point lead and had kicked long and deep into the Welsh 22, unable to hear yourself think the Royal Welsh backs charged once more into the sky blue shirted Dolphins defence, but the smallest of knock ons was to bring to a close the most enthralling of games. 17 Port and Maritime would once again have their name engraved on the cup.
They had indeed started well, very well, the team had not gone well prior to Christmas in the league but trips to Baths Fairleigh House and work with a Mr Steve Borthwick in recent months had developed a most dynamic rolling maul.
Three tries had come before thirty minutes had gone and any ‘RLC eye’ would tell you they should have had a penalty try for another collapsed within two metres of the try line, 17’s open side flanker Private John Peckham had scored two and Army player LCpl Matt Lamont was everywhere; the Royal Welsh however hard they tried couldn’t get their hands on the ball, a solitary penalty saw the teams head down the tunnel at the end of 40 minutes with the Dolphins leading 15-3.
Time for changes, 17 brought on an ex England 7s player in the name of Damudamu, and the Welsh decided veteran prop Chris Budgen needed to shore up the scrum. The effects were immediate, the Welsh achieved dominance in the set piece and Damu was forced to pick up ball from the base of a scrum going backwards at a rate of many knots.
The Dolphins were on the wrong side of the referee and the Welsh kicked three penalties over fifteen minutes to bring it back to a one score match, they had the momentum and the numbers, 17 Port had a man in the bin and it was now or never, with 5 mins to go it was anyone’s game, the coaching staff of both teams couldn’t look, the crowd were going bonkers and we were at the last breaths of a classic.
The Dolphins held on, the Welsh had missed out for a third year in a row, devastation and ecstasy as depicts winners and losers, step forward both teams to earn the accolade by all, top game, more next year please!
Earlier in the afternoon in the Premiership Shield Final 7 Para RHA defeated Infantry Training Centre Catterick in a entertaining game. The score didn’t do ITC justice, they are a good side and have some talented players, their open side flanker Captain William Pullen was named man of the match for his never say die leadership and commitment.
The ‘airborne’ Gunners winning the Shield for the second year in a row 38-9 displayed why they should be in the top flight next year, could they make the Army final next year! they think so !