The Trafalgar Cup: The Royal Marines vs The Parachute Regt – 54 -18 to the Corps!
By Keith Humpleby
Match Report By Maj Jack Duckitt RM Vice President RMRL
In the words of Billy Ocean: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. This turned out to be a fitting description for the 2018 Royal Marines versus Parachute Regiment season finale, the Trafalgar Cup, held at a sun-drenched Taunton RFC in front of a large home crowd.
Royal’s excellent form through the season culminated in a perfectly executed game plan. Driving hard through the first half, they established conditions for a series of unanswered tries in the second, ultimately sealing victory and bringing the Cup back to the Corps; into its rightful place in the CTCRM trophy cabinet.
The game started with customary eye-watering intensity, with the Paras opening the scoring on the 1 min mark, capitalising on an uncharacteristic handling error and exploiting space on the home flank, grabbing the first try by the corner flag.
Not to be shaken off course, Mne Lee Davies was quick to respond through a clever miss pass move in the back line. Mne Sean Casey converted (first of many), leveling the score at 6-6. As the match began to develop, so did confidence from both teams, resulting in blistering forward dominance and increasingly expansive mid-field play. This was highlighted by half back pairing, Mnes Lennox Green and Sean Casey, who demonstrated silky skills that Featherstone Rovers would be proud of and pace comparable to the great Deryck Fox!
Further tries from Cpl Kyp Bridgen from a pin-point Casey chip, Sgt Joe Long through a powerful drive at the Para line, and Cpl Sean Houghton from full back, tightened the choke hold as the break approached. A brief spell of indiscipline from the home side led to two Para quick-fire tries, leaving it 18-20 at the interval and much work to do for the hosts.
What followed next chimed with the lyrics of old Billy. After wise guidance and a verbal Javelin from Coach Mne Steve Riley, Royal were back to their sensational best! Reminiscent of Hull FC in their hey day, hooker and Captain Mne Danny Heaton led the charge, with full back Mne Sean Houghton, and half backs - Mnes Sean Casey and Lennox Green providing razor-sharp attack from all areas of the park.
Prop and Man of the Match – Cpl Danny Oner, along with his partner Cpl Lewis Byrnand, delivered tireless domination of the ruck, setting conditions for deep raids into Airborne territory. At this point, with the Paras essentially rudderless, they could only watch on as the scoreboard grew into an unprecedented 54-18 victory to the Corps!
After optional dhobis for all involved, we were then treated to a demonstration of how it’s not done by the England football team.