Operations and injuries ensured that a number of new faces lined up in CS ranks for the 2012 Remembrance Match sponsored by the Royal British Legion. Though this didn’t prevent a well motivated side from deservedly achieving a 19-0 lead they did contribute to the fatigue that allowed Crawshay’s to sneak a 31-29 victory in the closing minutes. When the Navy’s Greg Welling came on with 10 minutes to go he became one of only a few Navy players to win his Combined Services cap before his Navy Cap.
Eight from the Navy were on show last night when the heavy Sardis Road pitch at Pontypridd was to takes its toll on proceedings. The match started with Marsh Cormack, Dave Pascoe and Dale Sleeman in the run on fifteen and though in the early exchanges Crawshay’s held on to possession they were not troubling the CS defence. However it wasn’t long before CS started to exert some dominance with both Marsh and Dale were carrying strongly.
It was these surging runs by CS in to the heart of the Crawshay’s defence that opened up space out wide where the Air Forces’ Richie Craig and the Army’s Speight and Nakavamuto all capitalised through tries. Two were converted by the Army’s Ceri Cummins. Regrettably CS could not maintain the intensity to the end of the half and they allowed Worcester Warrior’s Nellany to poach a try just before the midway break. Dorian Jones converted and CS went into half time 19-7 up.
Briefly the second half started brightly for CS but before two long they were exposed on their left flank as Sean Higgins of Cross Keys went in for the first of his brace of tries. Club colleague converted from the touchline and suddenly the energy and enthusiasm was with Crawsahy’s.
The nervousness of CS was probably shown when they elected to take a penalty kick at goal to extend their lead to 22-14.
However as is often the way from the restart they conceded territory and eventually possession. Newport’s Owen Broad was on hand to punish CS when he went over for Crawshay’s third try. Dorian Jones again nailled the conversion and backed this up with a penalty kick shortly after and for the first time in the match Crawshay’s were in front 24 – 22.
To their credit Combined Services responded well to this set back and from a dark blue perspective it was great to see how well Nathan Huntley was playing at ten and also how hard Kye Beasley was working in the loose and offering himself as ball carrier. Both had come on at half time to win their first caps for the Combined Services. Some good continuity gave CS a foothold deep into Crawshay’s 22 and from a ruck 5 metre out Dave Pascoe scooted over for the score which allowed an easy conversion for Cummins. The lead restored CS only needed to hold out for ten minutes.
Alas though the mind was willing and even with fresh legs from the likes of Greg Welling, who became the Navy’s third new CS cap of the night, CS had lost to many of their on field leaders. Eventually the, at times heroic last ditch defence, was breached when Broad again exposed the left flank and set up a match winning conversion from the touch line. Dorian Jones had been impeccable with his kicking all night. Conversion made, clock run down, final whistle and Crawshay’s had fought back for a 31-29 win.
Alligin Photography are proud to be providing imagery and copy for the Royal British Legion. A link to the more formal match report of both this game and the earlier Women’s CS match will be distributed when it is on the RBL’s website in a couple of days time.
Previous Combined Services results from history and a list of the Navy players who wore the colours can be found by clicking here.
Earlier in the day Sam Alderson had started at fullback for the Combined Services Women and Chalrie Fredrickson had come off the bench midway through the second half. Emily Atkins and Pam Williams were on the bench but not used.