Armistice Challenge Cup Round 1
By Keith Humpleby
First Blood to the Brothers
Great entertainment for the big crowd for the first Armistice Challenge Cup match between RN and RAN, conditions were good on the day and made for fast open Rugby.
As expected the big Aussie pack started on the front foot determined to take the initiative and did so to open the scoring, Skipper Dan Harris touching down under the posts, Dylan Riebe with the conversion, 0:6 and RAN were good value for their lead. The ‘home’ side hung in well repelling many attacks by the Tridents pack through mid-field before replying with a try of their own. Full back Sean Houghton forcing his way over left of the posts 4:6. After blunting the RAN attack the RN were finding plenty of room on the flanks and the next score was one such example, Bamford joining the line out wide before cutting inside to score his first of the day and his own conversion put the his side ahead for the first time in the match at 10-6. The rest of the half saw both sides having opportunities but with the RN pushing the ball out to the wings the RAN were having difficulty coping, this showed up with the last play of the half, a good ball from the base of the scrum got the ball out to Fijian Buinimasi whose overhead pass found Josh Coupland unmarked on the wing, 14:6 and that was it for the half.
The second half was a bit of a try fest starting after only 5 minutes, Bamford again joining the line and with plenty of support had the overlap but electing to go himself he beat the cover to score his second easing the angle for his own conversion 20:6. The Aussies were not out of it by any means and caught the RN knapping with a clever move to send Sub Pericic in for his side, 20:10. Once again the RN wings were causing the RAN lots of problems and a further score for Houghton who beat the cover from 20 out to touch down in the corner, 24:10. The next score was a Coach buster, back to back penalties turned RN defence into Offence and Marika Tuinibunawa burrowed under the Tridents defence to score close to the posts, with Bamford on target again it looked like game over at 30:10. The Aussies though showed they were not out of it by any means, once again skipper Harris was the man, a further two trys completed the Loose Forwards hat trick and another Riebe conversion made the last ten minutes a nerve jangling affair. However the RN defence regrouped and two magnificent and significant try saving tackles on the RN right prevented the visitors from adding to their score. The last word went to the RN sub Sean Casey who crossed out on the RN Right and Darren Bamford rounded off a MoM performance with his best conversion of the day. Final Score 36:20 The Tridents skipper was nominated by both the officials and his team management as their Most Valuable Player.
The series now moves to Portsmouth for the 2nd match on 7th November with the series still wide open.
RN :- Sean Houghton, Luke Cooper, Silivenusi Buinimasi, Nathan Lee, Josh Coupland, Darren Bamford, John Clay, Jon Griffiths, Dan Heaton, James Parry ,Ben Taylor (C), Jamie Birdsall, Jack Basher Subs Sean Casey, Marika Tuinabunawa, Matt Holland,
RAN:- Dave Catterall, Peter Taylor, Dylan Riebe, Thomas Anderson, Erol Williams, Benny Turuva, Jacob Spurr-Romanov (vc), Phillip Samuelu, Michael Riggio, Dan Harris, Cameron Cornell, Mathew Fleming, Dan Harris (C) Subs, Joel Dawe, Matthew Pericic, Keryn Welch, Noah Tearoiti