College Football takes on The Rock

  • Author: Nichola Aldridge
  • Date: Tuesday 16th May 2017
College Football takes on The Rock College Football takes on The Rock College Football takes on The Rock

Britannia Royal Navy College Football Club returned home after a successful week-long development tour to Gibraltar in April which was supported by a grant from the Britannia Association. The tour was a mix of intense training sessions, three matches against local sides and taking the opportunity to find out about the military importance of the Rock. 


Their first opponents on the field were the Gibraltar under 21 international side.  Despite a valiant effort against the well drilled side, BRNC couldn’t capitalise on the chances they had in the second half and lost out 3 – 1 to the Gibraltar team. 

Taking a break from the football the BRNC side visited the Gibraltar Squadron when they were briefed by the Commanding Officer, Lt Cdr James Myhill on the varying operations undertaken by the squadron on a day-to-day basis.  The team were given a trip around the rock on board HMS Sabre and a Pacific 24 RIB, which gave the Cadets an insight into the assets available to the squadron and the operational capability it can provide.

Lt David Clark, team manager and a divisional officer at BRNC, said: “The visit to the Gibraltar Squadron provided an opportunity for the Young Officers to consolidate their understanding of maritime operations.  The knowledge gained from interacting with an experienced and professional Naval unit will stand them in good stead for their future careers.”

Returning to the field the second game of the tour saw BRNC take on a Combined Services team.  Disappointingly BRNC didn’t display their characteristic high tempo at the start of the game and were not able to make the most of the space that they were afforded by the Combined Services. The game was made more difficult for BRNC, not only by the midday heat, but also by a fierce easterly wind that made judging the flight of long balls difficult. A disappointing 5 – 0 defeat for the College men.


During their rest-day the squad took time to recover and find out more about Gibraltar from a military context. There was a walk to the top of the 1,388 ft rock to stretch the legs, meet the infamous Barbary Apes and gain an appreciation for the scale of the geography. En-route relict features such as weapons systems and methods of transportation provided an insight into how far back the rock’s military significance dates.  Having scaled the rock a guided tour of some of the 34-mile military tunnel system that exists inside the rock consolidated that insight with an explanation of the history of the tunnels, starting in 1782 during the Great Siege, working through up until their most recent strategic use in the late 1960’s. 

SLt Lloyd Jones said: “The tunnel tour was the highlight of the day and I now have a much-improved understanding of the strategic importance of Gibraltar as an isolated territory.”


The final game of the tour saw BRNC FC playing the Bruno’s Magpies of the Gibraltar second division.  Facing winds gusting at 50 mph, BRNC were again unable to capitalise on chances created and lost the game 3 – 1. Although the football had concluded and their legs were weary the team had not lost their sense of adventure.  They undertook some entry level caving at Lower St Michael’s Cave traversing over 180 metres of cave.


Team member and College Leading Physical Trainer, LPT Le Page said “I encouraged the team to grasp the opportunity to take part in caving to conclude the trip. Adventure Training (AT) is an essential part of the PT branch and as potential Officers it is important for the team to recognise this for them to push AT opportunities for their future divisions.”


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