BRNC miss out on Navy Rugby Cup

  • Author: Nichola Winstanley
  • Date: Wednesday 25th January 2017
BRNC miss out on Navy Rugby Cup BRNC miss out on Navy Rugby Cup BRNC miss out on Navy Rugby Cup

A strong second-half performance was not enough to see BRNC Rugby team overcome HMS Seahawk's early lead in the Navy Cup final. The two teams met at the Rectory in Plymouth in early December in what was HMS Seahawk's sixth Navy cup final in eight years. The team from the air station were out to avenge defeat by BRNC in 2014.

BRNC had pulled out all the stops on the training pitch prior to the game and the spirit to win was apparent on the faces of the team as they warmed up for the game. But it was HMS Seahawk who made the better start and were rewarded for some fine forward play inside the first nine minutes. Seahawk's skipper, Air Engineering Technician (AET) Sam Carter ran-in to post their first points on the board. His conversion narrowly missed but he made amends with a penalty kick minutes later to give the airmen from West Cornwall an eight point lead at the midpoint stage of the first half.

The BRNC team was made up mainly of Officer Cadets who had only been together a few weeks. They rallied well and applied pressure on Seahawk, but they were hit with a remarkable counter-try that showed full back Leading AET Paul Saberton's football skills, as much as his rugby ability.

Carter's extras gave Seahawk a 15-0 cushion, but the Dartmouth ooutfit were not going to lay down and take a beating from the Fleet Air Arm and they ended the haldf in a strong position. It was the Dartmouth skipper, OC Luke Tupholme who ran home a tremendous try, but missed the conversion to bring the score back to 15-5 at the break.

Early in the second half BRNC conceded a penalty which allowed Seahawk to increase their lead to 18-5. It proved to be the last time Seahawk scored as the Young Officers dug deep to show their resilience and came out fighting. For long periods the defending champions were under the cosh, protecting their line with all their might. But with just a few minutes remaining the incessant pressure finally yielded points for the 2014 cup winners and they got a much deserved try. A reverse pass from OC Tupholme to Mid Luke Guildford, allowed him to race in and score, closing the gap. Tupholme's conversion made for a fitting end to a hard fought cup final and a a final score of 18-12, a victory for HMS Seahawk.

Captain of the BRNC team, Officer Cadet Luke Tupholme said: "It was a spirited performance from us I think. This team was put together around a new intake 15 weeks ago and come January there will be another new intake and therefore a new team. It is a credit to our coaches that we got to the final and played well.

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