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LCpl Curtis Booth (RE) joked his wonder-try was all about his searing pace as the Army defeated Cambridge 1923s 71-14 at Volac Park.

The second row’s stunner was the highlight of a first-half in which the visitors racked up a 45-0 lead, and came from near the Army’s own try-line.

It was fly-half Spr Jack Johnson (RE) who made the original break, but from just inside his own half, LCpl Booth then threw an outrageous dummy before running in from some 50 metres out.

He explained: “I’ve got wheels on me! When JJ got the ball I was thinking I’ll never catch up with him, but when I did the lads did all the hard work by running either side to give me options, and so it made the job easy for me – and the pitch let me slide 15 metres.”

The score was the fourth try of the evening following earlier efforts from Pte Adriu Muritoki (3 Scots) and a double courtesy of Hldr Vula (4 Scots), while LCpl Solodrau Radianirova (REME), Pte Muritoki and hooker Spr Todd Johnson (RE) made it seven before the break.

Having defended most of the third quarter, the Red Shirts – who made several changes – found their scoring form again through LCpl Pite Ratukadreu (REME), Pte Olly Butterworth (2 Para) and Rfn Vili Salusalu (Rifles) before Cambridge got on the board.

A second from Pte Butterworth restored order, albeit the hosts gave their supporters something to celebrate with a late penalty try.

Despite the wet, LCpl Booth believes his squad will have benefitted from the outing and the obstacles overcome, revealing: “We had two days training, trying to get new lads into the system – myself included – so it was always going to be a bit scrappy at times.

“The conditions played a part, a few missed tackles, and they had a makeshift squad as well which opened the game up.

“We weren’t able to get our shape as much as we wanted to, but it made us work on our scramble defence and attack.”

With the Inter-Services Championship looming ever larger on the horizon, Curtis hailed the camaraderie in the group as he ended: “The lads are lovely, they’ve all been there to have a word and put an arm round us, help us with bits and bobs and especially the set-piece.

“I feel good about what’s to come – we’re all competing for spaces, however there’s a good bond with all the lads so we’re all helping each other out and keeping everyone positive.

“Even if you’re not selected, you’re still in the 30/40-man squad, there if you’re needed and ready to put a shirt on.

“There’s four more Army games, two more Corps games, so a lot can happen and if you’re in the first squad or drafted in, it’s always a privilege to wear the Red Shirt.”

Words © Richard Ashton

All images – Alligin Photography © Cat Goryn


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