The RLC had spent Tuesday preparing for this battle with the RE at Minley. Despite several first choice players still being away on Ops or injured, the 1st XV Coach WO2 Jones was happy with the team that took to the field.
Having narrowly lost out to the Infantry the RLC were keen to get he season going and build on the success of the Inter Corps competition in September. However the RE was not aware of this intention and started the game at a frenetic pace, first to the breakdown and hitting the rucks hard; their one up tackler causing several turnovers as the RLC failed to make in roads into the very well drilled RE defence.
It was from a turnover in midfield that the RE attacked the RLC defensive line; resolute tackling from Raloka & Allen in the centres rebuffed this attack, however the RE were awarded a penalty and their confident 10 stroked the ball over from 35m. The RE had their tails up and came straight back at the RLC from the re-start, with the pack going forward the 10 was having an arm chair ride, calling the shots and bringing on the big runners into the heart of the RLC defence. Skipper Allen and veteran Hendy held the line and tackled well. With a player down injured the RE moved the ball wide and the speed of their winger was too much for the defence; despite the final attempt from fullback Hull, he rounded him to score in the corner.The RLC rallied and the forwards began to gain some momentum; driving hard into the RE pack they were able to move up the field and get to with a striking position; it looked like the RLC were about to score when the ball was turned over and the RE cleared their lines.
The RLC second row of Parkin & Pearce were proving to quite a handful for the RE jumpers; several disruptions allowed the RLC to turn stolen ball into positive possession. Fly half Herbert tried to orchestrate the moves but the robust defence of the RE backrow denied each attack. Ultimately the pressure told and a hand in the ruck from the RE gave the RLC a penalty in front of the posts and 35m out. Unfortunately the kick bent away from the posts and the RE were able to clear their lines. The RLC maintained the pressure but as the ball was spilt forward the RE moved the ball wide and once again their winger showed a clean pair of heels to the RLC backs and set the ball down under the posts for a converted try.
The RE scored again just before the half time whistle - as Hull cleared his lines he was hit by what seemed to be a late tackle, not seen by the ref, as the RE collected the kick and moved the ball wide to score with the RLC looking on in dismay.The RLC started the 2nd half determined to get themselves into the game and to get across the RE try line. Scrum half Coroviyua bossed his pack and called them time and time again to take the ball up hard and drive at the RE defence. The RE pack stood strong and tackled hard, eventually winning possession as the RLC held onto the ball just a fraction too long. The RLC gave a penalty away just inside their own half, the kick fell short but in a moment of madness the ball was passed back to the unsuspecting fullback who had his kick charged down by the RE chaser. The ball bounced favourably for the chaser to touch down for the most bizarre try of the game.
Following a nasty knock to the face, winger Qiolevu was replaced by Coombes. His desire to make an impact was instantaneous as he crunched the RE lock on the re-start, and his desire was evident as he demanded the ball and ran hard at the RE defence. This impetus was just what the RLC needed and it inspired the rest of the team to press and run harder. Digging deep the RLC finished the game on the front foot with players lining up to take the next crash ball and trying with every effort to get a deserved score before the final whistle.It didnít happen, and as the final whistle was about to be blown it was the RE who scored the final try of the game, making the final score RE 39 RLC 0.
Despite the large score the RLC players gave their all and as a young squad they demonstrated that they will be a team to reckon with as they develop Ė it may not have been the best day for the RLC but with the young team and the development of the RLC Saxons the future certainly is bright. With the RSigs beating the REME yesterday the next game in December is set up as a must win for the RLC.
RLC Squad:1.WO2 Hendy 32 RA2.Pte Shough17 P&M3.Pte Koto47AD 13 AA regt4.LCpl Parkin11 EOD Kineton5.LCpl Pearce47 AD 13 AA Regt6.Cpl Allen47 AD 13 AA Regt7.Pte Peckham 17 P&M8.LCpl Vacacegu 5 Bn REME9.Pte Coroviyua17 P&M10Pte Herbert 12 RA11. LCpl Qiolevu 27 TLR12Sgt RalokoCLR13LCpl Allen47 AD 13AA Regt142lt Nicholls 17 P&M15.LCpl Hull3 CLSR16.Cpl Vuadrau 9 TLR17.Pte Coombes17 P&M18.Cpl Seru 11 EOD19.Cpl Ratu 47 AD 13 AA Regt20.SSgt James Tps Hereford21.LCpl Tuiteci 17 P&M22.Pte Cagi 3 CLSR23.Pte Fakih 27 Regt24.LCpl Thorley 9 Regt