The Army Under 23s were well beaten by a powerful Royal Navy side who were deservedly crowned Inter-Services Champions following their 44-3 victory in Aldershot.
The visitors made a dream start in foggy conditions as a well-weighted chip from fly half AET Kieran Manson was collected by ET Lucas Cann to dive over in just the second minute, the former then landing a terrific touchline conversion for 7-0.
The Navy continued to dominate and an AET Manson drop-goal extended their lead, only for the Army to get on the board themselves when Sig Kevin van-der-Leest (R Sigs) landed a 35-metre penalty awarded at scrum time.
Yet this was a rare moment of success for the hosts, who were being challenged physically and whose discipline was becoming increasingly fractious.
And it was another penalty which allowed the Navy to kick to the corner, a well-organised and powerful maul ending with hooker AET Jack Wright crashing over the line.
The conversion attempt was unsuccessful, and the hosts then created their first try-scoring chance of the game, only to be stopped just short of the line and then pinged for not releasing.
To make matters worse, they were then marched back 10 metres after showing their frustration, and the away side took a 15-3 advantage into the break which was no less than they warranted.
As the fog became even thicker at the start of the second period, things got even worse for the Army as they lost No. 8 Gnr Nasaqa (RHA) to the sin bin for an accumulation of penalties which in truth could have come earlier.
The Navy turned the screw further with some nice handling allowing AET Charlie Penrose-Toms to touch down on the left, and when their rolling maul created a second for AET Wright on the opposite side of the field, the writing was on the wall for the hosts as they trailed 25-3.
A missed penalty attempt from the Army left them trailing by 22 points going into the final quarter, and their opponents then turned on the style to ensure they would take the championship in rampant fashion with three more tries.
Firstly, a score which reflected their all-round dominance began with a scrum won against they head, a long-range clearance from their own 22 then turned over before full back MNE Freddie Elliott crossed the whitewash, AET Manson adding the extras.
The visitors’ sixth try of the evening again benefitted from the maul, the Navy pack carrying deep into their opponents’ 22 before the ball was released to the backs for ET Ryan Scott to cut a nice line for a converted try.
Worse was to come for the Army as AB Charlie Davis powered over from close range following more strong play from the forwards, and on a difficult night, the Navy were in fact only denied the chance to rack up a half century when knocking the ball on across the try line from the final play of the game.
Words © Richard Ashworth
All images © Alligin Photography – Cat Goryn & Lee Crabb
ARMY v NAVY
13th MAY 2022
1 ticket, 2 great games
Army Men v Royal Navy Men – 1400hrs | Army Women v Royal Navy Women – 1700hrs
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