Courtesy of Royal Navy Rugby League:
On a dry but breezy afternoon on Wed 27 Jul 16 Taunton RFC hosted this Trafalgar Cup clash between the Royal Marines and the Parachute Regiment. Once again e club were the best of hosts with a superb pitch and facilities around the ground much appreciated by the sizable crowd. The crowd included not only Royals from just up the road but a whole coach load of Paras as well. In te VIP enclosure Senior Officers from both Sides were joined by Leeds Rhino’s Head coach Brian McDermott a former RM himself.
Ref Mickey Brighton got the game underway with the RM playing into the strong breeze and sun for the first half. The early exchanges were as to be expected with plenty of physicality and some good Rugby League thrown in for good measure. The deadlock lasted for the first 15 minutes before the first score was posted, the RM had come close especially out on their right but it was prop Tom Jones who broke the Paras defence to go over to the right of the posts, scrum half Cadywould knocked over the conversion to make it 6:0 after 15 minutes. That was to be the only score of the half with defences on top for the rest of the first 40. In fairness both teams were guilty of some sloppy handling but against tough defences it was to be expected. Almost inevitably with so much pride at stake tempers were bound to be frayed but only one major flashpoint occurred. On 25 minutes Ref Brighton sent a player from each side to cool their heels for 10 minutes following a mêlée on the half way line. No real harm done and it certainly got the crowd going for the rest of the half. For those wanting a points fest the first half may well have been a bit disappointing but the two teams but on a great show of honest physical Rugby league with plenty of individual flair on show, the 6:0 score at the break was about right as RMRL had the better of the half but the Paras were by no means out of it!
The second half proved to be a much more open affair especially with the RM benefitting from the breeze and strong evening sun at their for the half. A great break early in the half saw the RM mount the first meaningful attack and a great kick through by Cadywould bounced close to the Paras line but it was RM sub Wilson Curtis who beat the Paras defence to steal the ball and touchdown to put his side in to a 10:00 lead. The Paras struck back though very soon after influential half back Ben O’Connell crossed to get his side on the score board 10:4 after 49 minutes. Two trys in 10 minutes restored the Royals lead as the game really began to open up. RMRL made good use of the wind at their backs either in open play or from penalties putting the pressure very much on the Paras defence. John Barnett was next on the score board but Cadywould’s kick was wide 14:4. The next score to the Royal Marines was one of the best of the game, an inch perfect pass in midfield by Cadywould found full back Gilmour who sliced through the opposition defence to give his scrum half a straightforward conversion so as the game entered the last quarter it was 20:4 to the Royals who were looking very comfortable at this point. However the home team were not going to have t all their own way, once again the Paras fought back gaining a lot of territory and possession as a result of back to back penalties, although the RM defence was up to the task they could not hold out forever and the Paras were rewarded with their second try of the match converted by O’Connell it was now game on. The Paras chances seemed even better when the Royals lost another man to the bin for a high tackle with 8 minutes to go. The game breaker came as the Paras tried to push out of defence on a RM attacking move but it was the Royals that sealed the match, Scott Mills making a great break before pushing the ball out to second row Luke Davis who took his chance well scooting behind the posts to touch down in spectacular fashion a la Chris Ashton. Richard Cadywould struck home his third conversion of the match and it was game over.
A great advert for Services Rugby league highlighting the ever improving skills within both camps in addition to the high fitness levels of the players
RMRL: Melvyn Gilmour, Adam Baird, Scott Mills, Calan Toogood, Luke Warrington, Jamie Birdsall, Richard Cadywould, Tom Jones, Joe Long, Gary Sergeant, Luke Davies, John Barnett , James Plummer, Wilson Curtis, Danny Heaton, Louis Byrnand, Mickey Harrison, Rob Heyes, Henry Brewster.
Coach Lee Rossiter, Asst Coach Danny Smith, Trainer Karl Anderson
Scorers:- T Long, Curtis, Barnett, Gilmour, Davis
G Cadywould 3(Conv)
Parachute Regt RL: Luke Dawes, Scott Evans, James Beaumont, Nathan Llewellyn, Nathan Smith Carl Thompson (Capt), Ben O’Connell, Owen Towers, Lloyd Weelden, Nathan Welsh, Henry Mitchell, Jack Austin, Chris Wright, Andrew Windsor, Brad Simkins, Sereveti Tuisetoku, Dave White Donovan Steppell, Brian Summers.
Coach Dave Nunnerly, Asst Coach Issac Tamani, Trainer Spencer Sutton
Scorers: T O’Connell
G O’Connell 1(Conv)
Officials: Ref Mickey Brighton Touch Judges Jimmy Collier, Tony Butterfil