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The Army women extend their dominance in the Inter Service championship with an emphatic 73-5 win over the Royal Navy, retaining the Babcock Trophy for a third consecutive year at Twickenham.

A trip to Kingsholm, Gloucester now awaits, as a victory over the RAF next Saturday will see the Inter Service title remain in Aldershot.

With the Army spreading the ball out wide, it was Spr Lauren Brooks who opened the scoring at Twickenham Stadium, followed by a routine conversion for LCpl Courtney Pursglove.

Skipper SSgt Jade Mullen then extended her Inter Service tally with a short burst over the Navy’s tryline, before Pursglove converted her second kick from the tee.

The Navy continued to press in attack and, despite a strong defensive display from the Army, LAET Jasmine Abel was able to squeeze past with a hard-fought try.

An instantaneous response from the Army, though, led to their third try of the match scored by Fus Emily Griffiths, with a conversion from Pursglove making it 21-5 before the 20 minute mark.

At times, the Navy came inches away from their opponent’s try line, but the Army – by this point, firing off all cylinders – were able to nullify any attacking efforts.

Finding a gap in the Navy’s defence, Maj Anneka Willis ran a tight line to extend her side’s lead, with Pursglove tucking away a conversion to make it 28-5.

Pursglove then got her first try of the game, skipping past several Navy defenders before scoring a fifth conversion.

A blistering run from Lt Hannah Gilmour then led to the Army’s sixth try and, with yet another conversion from Pursglove, the score was left at 42-5 by halftime.

After a quiet opening to the second half, Gnr Amy Carr was able to breathe some life back into the game, cutting through the Navy’s defence to keep her side in the driving seat with another try.

Sgt Charlie Morgan then came darting round from the back of a scrum to extend the Army’s lead to 54-5, only for Pursgloveto miss her first conversion.

While her purposeful run was halted by a tap-tackle, Brooks found Mullen with a clever offload, and the Army captain scored her second try of the game to make it 59-5.

With Mullen finding herself front and centre of every Army attack, the skipper was able to shift the ball down the line to eventually find Pursglove, who scored her second try of the game and restored success from the tee with another conversion.

LBdr Jess McAuley then came off the bench to secure another try for the Army, before Sgt Lou Dodd converted her kick in place of Pursglove.

The Navy earned themselves one last try-scoring opportunity before the Army put the game to bed with a second try from McAuley, resulting in an emphatic 78-5 win.

After her player of the match performance, Maj Anneka Willis, at 38, teased that she might retire.
Should she choose to sail off into the sunset, the lock can do so knowing that she has scored a memorable try at Twickenham.

Words © Oscar Pick

All images – Alligin Photography © Army Rugby Union


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