Culdrose Rugby at highest level
Three Rugby players from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose have returned from representing the Royal Navy at the highest level in the annual Army – Navy game at Rugby Headquarters, Twickenham.
In front of a spectacular crowd of 80,000 cheering spectators the Sailors from Culdrose scored all the Navy’s points, in the 97th running of the Inter Services Rugby competition. Captaining the Navy side was Chief Petty Officer Dave Pascoe of 771 Naval Air Squadron, Leading Airman Ben Priddey of Maritime Aviation Support Force (MASF), who scored the Navy’s three tries and from Culdrose Fire Station, Naval Airman Kyle Mason.
The match started at its traditional breakneck speed and the Navy side were thankful of some early Culdrose success when Ben Priddey squeezing over for a try and Dave Pascoe converted giving the Navy a 7-0 lead. The Army drew level, but Priddey was on form once again and scored his second try. The Navy nearly extended their lead further with seconds to go before the break after a promising attack by the West Cornwall pair of Priddey and Kyle Mason. The Navy led at half time 12 – 7.
The start of the second half was always going to be critical and it was the Army who scored first through a penalty in front of the posts, following pressure at the breakdown. They then took the lead with more expansive play by the men in Red as they got behind the Navy’s left flank. The senior service held their ground well but was unable to get hands on the ball and had to defend as wave after wave of Army attacks were launched their way. Losing a player didn’t help and they soon fell behind 30-12 to a rampant Army side.
To their credit the Navy still fought to take every opportunity that was presented and it was from a break that they managed to force another attacking lineout where Priddey scored his third try. It was the least the Royal Navy deserved but overall the Army were worthy winners 30-17 and retained the Babcock Trophy for another year.
“I was really happy with my performance, but gutted we lost,” said Ben Priddey. “We managed to close them down and play our structured game in the first half, but they opened us up in the second half.”
The Army – Navy game brings to a close the Royal Navy’s rugby season and they now have the Commonwealth Navies Cup to look forward to in New Zealand in September.
“We’ll spring back from this match and we have built a strong squad to work with during the tour to New Zealand and next season”, said Dave Pascoe. “We’ll be back fighting”.