Thursday 28 April 2016 - 15:46 at South Cerney
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The annual RLC Festival of Rugby tookplace in South Cerney on Thursday 28 April 2016. The aim of the day was tocelebrate what has been a great season for RLC Rugby, the 1st XV back in to thetop flight of Corps rugby, 17 Regiment winning the Army Cup, 13 Regimentwinning the Briggs Shield, 29 Regiment reaching the ARU Vase Final andimportantly 8 Regiments playing regular rugby in the ARU Premiership &Championship.

The pitch and set up looked great,thanks to 29 Regiments resident gardener Chris, who has down a great jobthroughout the season to keep the pitch in tip top condition. The invite to allhad been sent out well in advance and it was hoped that players of all ages andstandards would come to Cerney to enjoy the day. The plan was to play the PresidentsXV V the Chairmans XV for the Cecil Smith trophy and follow it with the Armychamps (17 Regt) v the Briggs Shield winners (13 Regt) - unfortunately due tocommitments 17 were unable field a full team so a BaBa team was swiftly rustledup.

As the BBQ opened the team managersstruggled to keep some of the Vets from warming up with  cheeseburger and a brew, while the youngSaxon team were decidedly relaxed as the prepared for the opening game.

The vets agreed that there would be nokicking and if they scored a try, the scorer drop kicked the conversion. WithAl Tindale in the middle for the game, the vets started at pace, that was untilthe Saxons showed them what real pace was!!

The Saxons opened the scoring with aconverted try quickly followed by 2 more converted tries. They had found theVets weakness, lack of speed around the park and they exploited it with theirearly efforts.

The Vets came back into the game with anexcellently worked try, the ball caught in the line out and driven to the linefor a forwards try. Theconversion was missed but the Vets were on the scoreboard. With their tails up a 2nd try followed but again no conversion.

Half time – 21 – 10 (Saxons)

The Vets started the 2nd half as theyfinished the first and quickly scored and converted the try.

Saxons bounced back quickly with a tryand conversion.

The vets responded with a try and  ( I won't mention the drop kicked conversion,but You missed something special Mike Carron!!)

Saxons came back with a try from a veryold looking Saxon but failed conversion.

Both teams were now looking to securethe victory and their were some controversial substitutions going on as dubiousVets & Saxons swiftly appeared on either side.

By now the vets were in well in controland another try quickly followed – this came about from a scrum with theforwards driving the Saxons back only to stopped just short of the line beforethe ball was quickly dispatched to the backs to score with the try converted.

Another try quickly followed with aconversion.

In the last few minutes of the game theSaxons threw everything at the vets and were rewarded with a try but failedconversion…

Final score 41 – 38 to the Vets. A greatstart to the day.

As the Vets & Saxons headed to theBBQ the RLC BaBa's and 13 Regt took to the pitch for the main game.

The game started at a ferocious pacewith both teams driving hard and tackling well, for the first 20 minutes it wasa stalemate until the BaBa's finally penetrated the 13 defence to score theopening try of the match with their winger touching down in the corner.

13 Regt rallied and mounted wave uponwave of attacks on the BaBa's try line, great forward work gave a platform forthe hard running backs to look for the try, eventually following a snipe fromthe scrum 13 Regt found the well deserved score. The game continued at pace andthe earth shuddering tackles were starting to take their toil on some of theplayers, there was a stoppage as players were treated following a clash ofheads at the ruck.

Both back rows were finding space andthe game was opening up, the teams pressed hard with the BaBa's just leading atthe break with a try just before the whistle. The teams were providing anexcellent spectacle of hard, well fought running rugby, moving the ball atevery opportunity but hard fought drives when keeping it close.

Half time BaBa's 12 13 Regt 7

The 2nd half was as closely fought asthe first with some bone shuddering tackles being made by every player, claretwas spilled by several players as they put their bodies on the line in searchof victory. The play moved from end to end with last ditch tackling preventingany further scores for the first 20 minutes of the 2nd half.

As the play opened up it was obviousthere was going to be more tries, 13 Regt edged into the lead as they steppedup the pressure and found a chink in the BaBas defence. The try followed someclose driving work from the strong pack. The try was converted giving a 2 pointlead 14/12.

Almost from the kick off the BaBas droveat the 13 defence, this time it was following a quick penalty that the BaBasmoved the ball wide and the wing opened his legs rounding his opposite numberto touch down in the corner despite some desperate attempts to drive him intotouch. 17/14 BaBas.

The game was tense and was going to godown to the wire. Having played together all season it was the continuity thateventually paid off, some intricate offloads created space and a mismatch. 13'syoung stars scored 2 quick tries taking the game away from the tiring BaBas.The final score came from a penalty calmly stroked through the posts.

Final score: BaBas 17 13 Regt 27

Trophies and Corps colours werepresented on the pitch side by the President Brig Martin Moore, before theplayers and spectators moved to the Sports Bar for a curry supper, a beer andsome cracking entertainment from Port Talbort Pete, RLC rugby's residentsinger!

A great season is nearly over with thefinal event being the Palestine Cup v the REME on Wednesday 18 May 2016, a greatchance to demonstrate to all league 1 teams that the RLC will be back nextseason and ready for battle.