The Royal Engineers started their 2016/17 campaign in fantastic style putting together a good day of rugby under the new Coaching team lead by Darrell Ball.
Conditions were tough for all the players as a late Summer heatwave hit Aldershot but the Sappers put in a great effort to go unbeaten during six games, defeating the Royal Artillery in the Final.
Army Rugby Union Corps Festival 2016
Games This Season
Corps Festival - W
Aldershot - 14 September 2016
Royal Engineers @ REME - L 3-10
Lynham - 28 September 2016
Royal Engineers vs RLC - W 40-15
Minley - 12 October 2016
Royal Engineers vs Infantry - W 34-10
Minley - 9 November 2016
Royal Engineers @ Signals - W 22-8
Minley - 7 December 2016
Royal Engineers @ R Artillery L 26-28
Larkhill - 25 January 2017
Corps Final Day
Aldershot 22 February 2017
Corps Festival 2016
The Sappers started the day on the main stadium pitch at 1000, taking on lasty years Festival Winners, and Army Corps Champions, the Royal Artillery. The Engineers started strongly and looked good upfront as they put on early pressure and got on the scoreboard first with a push over Try from a scrum. The Gunners came back into the match in the second half though and scored under the posts with just minutes left. The conversion attempt was wide of the posts and the two sides finished at 5-5.
Next up wast the REME on the outside pitches where the Sappers continued their good start showing nice hands and pace on the outside, scoring two good tries cutting through the REME defence to win Game 2, 10-0.
Game 3 saw the Sappers take on the newly promoted RLC who bounced straight back up from League 2 after a good Season last year. The Engineers showed more good handling as they put together some nice strike moves making the most of their good pace on the outside as well as their power through the middle at times. After a tight first half the Sappers eventually opened the scoring with a nice move across the back line, stretching the defence allowing 'Sixes' Railoa to go over in the corner - finishing off an attack that started deep in their own half. They added to their lead in the second half - from a lineout inside the RLC 22 they threw to the back and drove close to the line before Scrum Half Mike Lawton sniped his way across the Try line. The RLC finished well and scored a Try of their own, but the Engineers held on for the win, 10-5.
Up next for the Engineers was the Royal Signals. Conditions were really difficult for all players under the late Summer sun across the Queens Avenue pitches, but the Sappers kept up their good tempo, playing with great energy. A good example was the opening Try from Jake Campey who put in a good kick chase from his own boot and blocked the subsequent return attempt from the Signals player and then collected the loose ball to 'roll-over' across the Try line for the opening score. Much of the same followed in the second half, with some fantastic running rugby nd great hands to put their opponents under pressure. Railoa got on the scoresheet again with another well finished Try in the corner. The Sappers showed more good power and finesse as they added two more Tries to take a comfortable win 20-0.
The Final group game of the day saw the Engineers take on the Infantry. The Sappers started on the back foot as the Infantry capitalised on a mishandled ball early on to score the games opening Try. The Engineers were patient though and added two tries of their own before the break. The Infantry were proving a tough test, putting in some physical hits throughout, however the Sappers kept with their gameplan and recylced the ball well to create more chances and eventually added two more Tries to cap of another good game and take the win 22-5.
After a good group stage the Sappers would finish as they started - back on the Stadium pitch taking on the Royal Artillery. The Engineers looked to make a statement and finish off a tough day with a win, lifting the Corps Festival Trophy. As with the first game of the day, the Sappers started well and had early posession inside the Gunner half. They were awarded a penalty after a good attacking spell and Railoa stepped up and converted a nice drop kick to take an early 3-0 lead. Despite tired legs, the two sides put on a good display with each creating chances however neither side could find a way across the Try line and the three points were all the Sappers needed to take the victory in the Final capping off a great start to the Season.
Newly appointed Head Coach Darrell Ball and his coaching team were very impressed with the effort put in by the players, with several new faces stepping up and making a very good impression ahead of the main round of fixtures coming up over the next few months. They will look to build on an excellent training camp and performance at the Corps Festival to go on and regain the Corps Championship.
Next up the Sappers take on the REME on 28th September - Updates to follow during the Season. Thanks again to Hesco Bastion who have generously sponsored the Royal Engineers for another season - we look forward to a good 2016/17 campaign.
Royal Engineers vs REME
Game 1 - Royal Wootton Bassett RFC
28th September 2016
The first round of the Army Rugby Corps Competition saw the Royal Engineers travel to Wootton Bassett to take on the REME.
The Sappers were coming off the back of a good display at the recent Corps Festival two weeks previous and were taking on a REME side with plenty of young talent coming through the Army Academy system - it was sure to be another good contest between two sides who have enjoyed a good rivalry over the years.
Prior to the game, the Masters sides were in action with the RE Vets taking a 19-5 victory over their REME counterparts in an entertaining match up.
Conditions were good with a breeze blowing across the pitch for both sides to contend with as the game got underway.
The hosts got the game started and the Sappers began brightly receiving the ball making good ground into the REME half. They recycled the ball and off loaded well in the tackle to keep the defence on its heels and broke the line on a couple of occasions through both the back line and with the forwards. Scrum Half Mike Lawton almost crossed the try line however was brought down short and the REME turned the ball over.
From there, the hosts started to come into the game and capitalised on penalties against the Engineers to make good ground. After narrowly missing a penalty kick at the posts, they were given another chance just moments later, slotting the ball through from in front of the sticks to take the lead, 0-3.
The Sappers continued to struggle with discipline, giving away multiple penalties allowing the REME to capitalise and set up shop deep inside the Engineer half. Despite missing another chance at goal, the REME came back once more and were soon increasing their lead. A kick to the corner saw them collect their line out and set up a good driving maul which the Engineers were unable to do anything about and the REME drove over for the Try which, following the conversion, gave them a 0-10 lead.
The Engineers came back with opportunities themselves however they couldn't capitalise as handling let them down at key moments allowing the REME to clear their lines and pin the Sappers back inside their own half and as time wound down, the REME took their lead into the half time break, 0-10.
The second half continued much like the first for the Engineers. In a frustrating afternoon, the Sappers seemed unable to put together the clinical finish to get back into the game. The REME almost extended their lead early on driving well towards the Sapper line however they lost the ball at the last moment as they looked to pick and go to drive for the line.
The Sappers spent much of the time inside their own half, however as time wound down they tried to pick up the pace and inject some life into the game. They managed to gain some momentum and began putting pressure on their opponents and, despite going to uncontested scrums due to injuries in the front row, they showed some signs of life and gained a penalty which was slotted through by Fly Half, James Dixon, 3-10.
Time was against the visitors as they looked to drive back into the REME half and hopefully tie the game with a converted Try. The REME defence was stubborn and frustrated the Engineers who once again struggled to keep hold of the ball going forward. After a string of yellow cards, in which the REME had three players sent to the Bin, the Sappers tried to seize an opportunity however they continued fall short and were unable to get the crucial score to Tie the game and the REME held them off to take the victory, 3-10.
Whilst the match had its moments, it failed to live up to the hype of recent encounters between the two rivals, in a low scoring affair which saw only a lone Try from the hosts as the REME took the victory 10-3.
It was a disappointing outing for the Sappers who frustrated themselves with poor handling at key moments and failed to capitalise on REME yellow cards deep into the second half.
Congratulations to the REME on their victory, as for the Sappers, there won't be much time to dwell on the loss as they are back in action against the RLC on 12th October at Minley.
Be sure to come down and support the Sappers as they look to get their first win of the Season.
Reported By J. Fowke
Royal Engineers Masters vs REME Masters - Match Report Reported By Ben Hawkins - RE Masters
The Royal Engineers’ Masters Rugby season got off to a winning start with a 19-5 victory against the REME at their home fixture, held at Royal Wootton Bassett Rugby Football Club on 28 Sep 16.
The first half saw both sides struggling to get into their stride, with sustained pressure from REME at 10 minutes which resulted in a knock on from strong and aggressive RE Defence. From a defensive scrum, the Sappers ran out of 22 which culminated in the ball coming off a REME head, and into touch on halfway. The Corps won the line out, but it was soon turned over, and back again. A lightening shimmy saw Billy Crystal steps trough the defensive line and into 22 but RE turned over again & give the penalty. The REME made a strong run out of their 22 but a clear forward pass give up possession back just outside their 22. The RE attacking scrum yielded nothing, and a kicking contest resulted in the Sapper kick going into the and beyond the deadball zone.
After a period of sustained pressure by REME on RE line was held at bay by some manful tackling and Defence led by Billy Moore amongst others. A charged down RE clearance kick and sustained pressure finally saw the Corps line breached to put the REME 5-0 up. They missed the conversion.
From the RE kick to begin second half saw the RE Masters come out of the blocks at a higher tempo than the REME. After a sustained period of RE pressure and due to a cracking phase of play, the Corps’ first try was scored under the posts by Henry (sorry, don’t know surname). 5-7. Soon after, Bez Berry caught a wonderfully read interception and raced in from nearly halfway for the try. 5-14.
The RE forwards had now truly got into their stride, and after a series of bullocking runs, and scrummages which splintered the REME pack, it really felt like the RE was in the ascendancy. The increased pressure soon led to the REME giving a penalty, but in a stiff breeze, Billy Moore didn’t quite make target; in spite of an excellent chase up, there were no points from this phase of play. Soon after Billy managed to evade being tackled in a magnificent move which gave another 5 points to the RE. 5-19. The attempt at the drop goal conversion was wide of the mark. Despite the continued and escalating pressure by the Royal Engineers, there was to be no more scoring in this game. The REME tackling forced errors, but the RE’s pressure stopped them from being able to capitalise on it.
A great start to the RE Masters’ XV Season with some manful displays of physicality and some deft handling from a very capable (and surprisingly athletic looking) Masters’ XV. The final score 5-19 to the Royal Engineers. I look forward to returning to Master’s Duty for the next game!
Reported By Ben Hawkins, RE Masters.
Royal Engineers vs RLC
Game 2 - Minley
12th October 2016
The second round of the Army Rugby Union Corps Championship saw the Royal Engineers host the Royal Logistic Corps at Minley.
The Sappers fell to a defeat two weeks earlier, away to the REME and were looking to get back on track with a good display at home. The RLC, having been promoted last Season, were looking to build on a good start in which they beat the Infantry in Round 1. The visitors have a good array of young talent with some veteran leadership mixed in and would prove a tough test for the Engineers.
Rob Taylor was back to Skipper the Engineers once more. The game also saw young Fly Half Tom O'Rourke return to take the number 10 shirt, with James Dixon moving to inside centre.
Conditions were decent ahead of kick off, with a short rain shower clearing as the two teams made their way on to the pitch.
An early penalty in the opening minutes gave the RLC a good attacking platform just inside the Engineer half. From a lineout they drove upfield with a good maul before releasing their backs to the right of the pitch. After testing the defence out wide, they came back across the pitch before then spreading the defence back again finding space to exploit and their wing, Frank Yawayawa, finished off the move skipping through a tackle on his way to the Try line. After a good conversion from the touchline, the RLC had a 0-7 lead.
The game opened up following the early score, with both sides creating opportunities. The Sappers started to make good gains and were soon coming close to scoring themselves. They probed the RLC defence before earning a penalty just to the right of the posts which Dixon stepped up and slotted through to make the score 3-7.
From the ensuing kick off, however, the RLC came straight back and earned a penalty themselves which they converted to regain a seven point lead, 3-10.
The Sappers soon found their stride with Wing, Sema, making a great break through the defence before shipping the ball to the left wing for his support to finish off a good move, eventually finding Railoa on the left touchline to sneak over in the corner. Dixon slotted through a tough conversion from the touchline to bring the score level, 10-10.
As half time approached both sides were able to get another score on the board. The RLC retook the lead following a good spell of possession which saw them finish off with a try in the corner - with their young Wing, Yawayawa, touching down for his second Try of the game, proving to be a difficult prospect to deal with on the far side of the pitch, 10-15.
The Sappers replied well and came straight back at their opponents. They won a scrum against the head on halfway from which Sapper Number 8 Vee Veikune picked up and made good yards upfield. He offloaded well in the tackle to O'Rourke who came up in support who then shipped on to Sema to finish well, stepping inside to beat the last two defenders and touch down under the posts. Following the conversion the Sappers took a slender lead into half time, 17-15. A good first half of rugby from both sides.
As the second half got underway, the two teams both had spells with the ball and created opportunities in the others half however neither side was able to add to their score early in the second period. Eventually the deadlock was broken as the Sappers made their way into the RLC 22 thanks to good carrying from No. 8 Veikune and substitute Maku Koroiyadi. The RLC were caught offside in defence and Dixon once again calmly slotted the ball through the posts to extend the Sappers lead, 20-15.
The visitors threatened in spells during the second half, however it was the Sappers who were enjoying the better territory and they eventually capitalised. The RLC were reduced to 14 men following a yellow card for a high tackle and Dixon once again converted for a 23-15 lead. The resulting kick off saw another yellow card shown to the RLC for taking out a man in the air. Moments later, the Engineers were back down inside the RLC 22 and following a penalty advantage, Fly Half O'Rourke slotted over a drop goal from close range, 26-15.
After edging out a lead, the Sappers looked to finish strongly and eventually broke through for their third Try of the game. After regaining possession from a turnover over inside the RLC 22, Full Back Jake Campey ran a great line through the defence to go over for a Try, 33-15.
There was time for one final Try from the hosts as time wound down in the second half. It came courtesy of Jake Campey once again as he intercepted an attempted off load from his opposite number. He set off on half way with nothing in front of him but an open field, capping off a good day at the office for the Engineers who finished the game strongly with a 40-15 victory, holding the visitors scoreless in the second period.
The Sappers rebounded well following a poor outing previously against the REME in Round 1. After a close first half they kept the pressure on their opponents and edged out a lead, courtesy of a fantastic kicking performance from Dixon, before finishing with two late Tries to seal the game. Next up for the Engineers will be the Infantry, who will be welcomed to Minley on 9th November in Round three of the Army Corps Competition.
Reported By J. Fowke
Royal Engineers vs Infantry
Game 3 - Minley
9th November 2016
The Royal Engineers hosted the Infantry in their third Army Corps Game of the 2016 campaign at Minley. They went in to the match with a 1-1 record and were looking to build on a strong showing last time out against the Royal Logistic Corps.
Standing in their way were the Infantry who were looking to pick up a win away from home. Last time out, the Sappers had a convincing victory in Pirbright, but the away side had a good selection of players at their disposal and would look to cause an upset.
The Sappers themselves had a strong squad available too causing a good selection problem for Head Coach Darrell Ball. Rob Taylor was back to Skipper the side and provide good leadership in the pack. Tom O'Rourke started at 10, with a strong back line outside him including the returning Lordi Waqa at Centre and Jake Campey at Full Back in his final outing before heading Stateside.
The game didn't take long to swing into action as the visitors seized a good opportunity in the opening minutes of the game. The Sappers were on the attack and making good progress inside the Infantry half, however an attempted 'pop-pass' was grasped by an on-rushing defender who ran it back towards the Sapper Try line and touched down underneath the posts for an early score for the away side, 0-7.
Despite the set back, the Sappers kept their heads and started again. They probed at the Infantry defence and found a bit of space on a number of occasions on the wing, but were just unable to find the clinical finish. Their efforts were eventually rewarded following a penalty at a scrum which was converted by Fly Half O'Rourke to get the Sappers off the mark, 3-7.
The Engineers went straight back at their opponents following the restart. After winning a scrum on halfway against the head, Number 8 Joe McLean picked up some good yards before the Sappers once again got the ball to the speedy backs to get to work. Full Back, Jake Campey picked up the ball from just inside the visitors half and cut through the defence brilliantly before off loading to the supporting Sema who cut back inside from the wing and finished off a great move underneath the posts. Following the successful conversion, the Engineers took the lead 10-7.
The Sappers were enjoying a good spell and were soon back inside the Infantry half looking to extend their lead. They ran hard at the Infantry defence who did a better job at containing the home side, however their discipline let them down as they gave away a penalty at the breakdown. O'Rourke stepped up and slotted through from in front of the posts, 13-7.
Just minutes later, the Engineers were back inside the Infantry half trying to work their way inside the 22. After good carrying from the pack, the Sappers once again picked up a penalty after the Infantry were penalised for not rolling away after the tackle. O'Rourke once again converted from closer range this time to build the hosts lead, 16-7.
The Engineers came back with more opportunities, however as time wound down in the first period it was the Infantry who set themselves up in prime position to add to the scoreboard. After picking up a loose ball, the visitors made good yards upfield into the Sapper 22. They stretched the Engineers defence across the pitch and came within yards of scoring a Try. Despite not crossing the whitewash, the Infantry were awarded a penalty and converted with the final act of the half to close the gap to 16-10 to the home side.
As the second half got underway, both sides had opportunities early on to add to their tally. It was the home side however who eventually extended their lead after a good spell in enemy territory. After pinning their opponents deep inside their half, the Sappers set up a good attack from a clearing Infantry Kick. Jake Campey collected the ball inside the visitors half and combined with Winger, Sema to get some good yards. After a few phases it was Campey once again who found space in the defensive line to burst through and off load to the supporting substitute Chris Lowry who finished off with the Try, 21-10.
The Infantry responded well and came back with some good pressure. After some good attacking phases, they were awarded a penalty which they elected to kick. The attempt was pushed to the right of the posts and the Sappers escaped without conceding.
Moments later, it was the hosts who were awarded a penalty and O'Rourke added another three points to edge the Sappers further in front, 24-10. The Infantry came back at their opponents however they failed to capitalise, missing another penalty attempt.
As the game moved into its closing stages, the Sappers kicked things up a notch and crossed the try line two more times. The first came from good defensive pressure to charge down an Infantry kick to pin the visitors back. From the resulting clearance, Campey and Sema once again combined well to carve through the defence. Two phases later Cam McLaren finished off a good move to extend the lead 29-10.
With just minutes left, the Sappers came back and put together a lengthy spell building the phases, testing the Infantry defence. Their patience and good work paid off and following a scrum on the 22, Sema carried well to get the hosts within a yard of the Try line. The resulting play saw Joe McLean on hand to finish from close range and cap off a good day at the office for the home side, clinching the victory and with it a bonus point.
The Sappers will be pleased with a good outing against a team that has often caused them problems over recent years - congratulations to both sides on a we'll fought contest. The team now have just one more match left in 2016 - away to the Royal Signals in what will be another tough match up. Be sure to stay tuned to Sapperrugby.com for updates.
Reported By J. Fowke
Royal Engineers vs Royal Signals
Game 4 - Stafford RFC
7th December 2016
The Royal Engineer's final match of 2016 saw them travel up to Stafford to take on the Royal Signals.
The Sappers were looking to build on their recent victories over the RLC and Infantry and finish the year on a high, but would be in no doubt that the Signals would be a tough game. Recent fixtures against them had been good contests and the visitors knew they would need to start well from the first whistle.
Conditions were good as the two sides took to the field at Stafford Rugby Club & the temperature was thankfully warmer than recent days!
Rob Taylor was back to Skipper the side once more providing good veteran leadership to a strong Engineer squad.
The away side got the game underway and immediately set about testing the Signals defence with some good play inside their opponents half. Marcus Mercer provided a good threat from the Full Back position with several early runs at the Signals line, breaking through tackles on a number of occasions to help the Sappers drive well upfield.
The Engineers had a good spell inside the Signals 22 and stretched the defence across the field on a number of occasions creating good chances. The Signals work rate was good and held off the attack despite the Sappers best efforts. The visitors had an early shot at the posts after being awarded a penalty, however the kick from Fly Half Tom O'Rourke was pushed to the left of the posts.
It wasn't long though before the Engineers eventually broke through. From a scrum on the far side of the pitch, inside the Signals 22, the ball was shipped out to O'Rourke who popped the ball up nicely for Centre - Valevou who cut back on a good angle to break through the line and finish from close range for the games opening Try, 5-0.
The home side replied well and came straight back at their opponents from the ensuing kick off. They had an opportunity themselves to close the gap with a penalty kick at goal. The attempt was just wide to the right of the posts, however they were soon back on the attack putting the Sappers under pressure. From a line out inside the Sapper 22, the Signals launched their attack and after being awarded a penalty advantage their Fly Half received the ball and tried a Drop Goal, which was converted nicely to close the gap, 5-3 to the Engineers.
It was a competitive first half with both sides creating chances. The Royal Signals handed a debut to Centre Ravai Fatiaki - ex Worcester & Fiji Capped, currently going through Training. He impressed with some great hands and footwork to create chances for the hosts, however neither could find another score before the halftime break.
The Signals got the second half underway and started well with some good territory inside the Engineers 22. They took advantage of the field position and broke through the Sappers defensive line following a line out to bring themselves within yards of the Try line. They moved the ball quickly to the right and after failing to cross the line, they stretched play back to the left and two good passes opened up space on the wing for them to cut back inside to score the Try, 5-8 to the home side.
The Sappers responded well and came back at their opponents almost immediately. The forwards carried well and broke through to gain good yards into the Signals half. Substitute Ledua Jope also carried strongly after coming on for the second half and the visitors were knocking at the door before being awarded a penalty advantage. The Sappers decided to take the scrum just five metres out from the Try line. It was a good decision as the pack drove well with Jope controlling the ball at the back before picking up and diving over for the Try. O'Rourke added a good conversion to retake the lead 12-8.
The away side kept their momentum going and were shortly back inside the Signals half looking to extend their lead. With some more good handling and strong carrying, they drove forward well and were awarded another penalty. O'Rourke stepped up and slotted through to take a
The Signals then enjoyed a good spell themselves, but the Sappers worked well in defence to hold them at bay - putting their opponents under pressure at the ruck area and picking up key turnovers over the course of the game. Both sides were creating chances but it was the Engineers who made the most of theirs as they soon found themselves with another opportunity to extend their lead. Mercer and Wailutu combined well on the outside with good pace and power and soon the Sappers were crossing the Try line again. This time it was back row forward - 'Vee' Veikune who took an offload from Jope five yards out and beat two defenders to dive over from close range. With the conversion, the Engineers now had a 22-8 lead which is how things stayed as the final minutes ticked over with the Engineers taking the victory.
Overall, it was a good outing for the Royal Engineers who were tested well by a strong Royal Signals team. The Sappers worked well in defence turning the ball over on a number of occasions and took some good chances to outscore their opponents, three Tries to one.
The Engineers will go into the Festive break with a 3-1 record with one round of fixtures left in the Army Corps Calendar. Next up will be the Sappers oldest rivals - the Royal Artillery who will provide another big test away at Larkhill.
Until then, we wish all Sappers and serving personnel a safe and peaceful break.
Reported By J. Fowke.
Royal Engineers vs Royal Artillery
Game 5 - Larkhill
25th January 2017
The final match of the 2016/17 Regular Season saw the Royal Engineers travel to Larkhill to take on the Royal Artillery in the annual Sapper vs Gunner game.
Recent bragging rights belonged to the Gunners who convincingly beat the visitors in the Corps Final last year so the Engineers had a point to prove going into this game.
The Gunners would once again have a strong side to select from with the likes of Army players such as Dowding, Austin, Nayolo, Davies & O'Reilly featuring for the home side.
The Sappers fielded a good mix of youth and experience with several players stepping forward this Season putting in great performances since the opening Corps Festival back in September.
Rob Taylor was back to Skipper the Engineers with more veteran leadership added into the team through Koroiyadi in the forwards and Nacavamuto in the backs.
It was a bitterly cold day, with the earlier fog thankfully lifting. The Masters sides had battled it out in the morning with the Artillery taking the spoils with a convincing win and they were looking to complete the double with the Senior XV in the afternoon.
The Sappers started the game well with some early possession inside the Gunner half and it wasn't long before they got on the scoreboard. James Dixon slotted a penalty through the posts for an early 3-0 lead following some good forward play.
The Artillery came back shortly after and thanks to some ill discipline from the visitors the Gunners soon had a chance to level the scores with Owain Davis converting, 3-3.
As the match went on, the Sappers looked the more likely to score the games opening Try coming close from the restart before a great effort following a blocked kick gave the Sappers the lead back.
From a ruck inside their own half, the Artillery looked to clear their lines, however the kick from Davies was charged down and the loose ball was kicked on by Scrum Half Mike Lawton towards the Gunner Try Line. A great effort by Prop Tiff Barker saw him win the foot race with the chasing defenders and he touched down by the Try line - with perhaps a little 'bobble' and the referee awarded the Try which was converted for a 10-3 lead to the Engineers - a great opening for the visitors.
The Artillery responded well and came straight back from the kick off with pressure themselves. Another penalty was awarded to the home side, with the Sapper Try scorer Barker being shown a yellow card for the infringement. Davies kicked the penalty to close the gap 10-6.
Things got more difficult for the Engineers as Winger Sam Sema was also shown a yellow card moments later after a high tackle on his opposite number. The Sappers rallied well despite being two men down and actually managed to extend their lead with another penalty from the boot of Dixon. They weathered the rest of the storm allowing Barker to return to the field however the Gunners kept up the pressure and eventually crossed the Try Line at the end of the half. A close affair with the Engineers holding a narrow 13-11 lead at the break.
The second half got underway and it was James Dixon who once again edged out the lead for the Sappers with an early penalty which he slotted through, 16-11. The Artillery came back again however and following some good play from the kick off they kept up the pressure on the Engineer defence and soon added more points to the scoreboard. After picking up a loose ball, the Gunners shipped it wide quickly and found space for their speedy winger to beat his man, cutting back inside to go over for the Try. Davies slotted the conversion, 16 - 18 to the Gunners.
In a great contest, the Engineers came back again with a score of their own. The Artillery found themselves a man down to the Sin Bin and the Sappers made the most of the advantage with Army Player Maku Koroiyadi #8 carrying well to cross the Try Line to re-take the lead following the conversion, 23-18.
Once again, the Gunners replied well and drove straight back at their opponents and, following a penalty, set themselves up with a line out inside the Sapper half five metres out. From there, they executed a nice driving maul and touched down across the whitewash for the score. 23-23.
The Sappers had opportunities to add to their tally however more discipline issues cost them and gave the Artillery a chance to clear their lines and come back at them. The Gunners then enjoyed a good spell of possession and looked to find the killer blow to put the game out of touch for the Engineers. Following another penalty, the hosts kicked for the corner and from the line out moved the ball quickly through the backs. After one phase they got the ball out quickly again and found space on the wing to cross for another try in the corner, 23-28.
As the game entered its final stages, the Engineers needed to score quickly and they added another penalty off the boot of Dixon once again with another fantastic kick from just inside the Artillery half. The kick sailed through bringing the score to 26-28 to the Gunners with just minutes left.
The Sappers needed to break into their opponents half to have a chance at more points to retake the lead. A penalty chance saw one final shot, however it was a difficult kick on the angle from inside his own half and despite a good attempt the kick was hooked wide and the Gunners held on for a 28-26 victory.
Despite the loss, it was a thoroughly entertaining match with plenty of action in a back and forth game. The Sapper team and coaches can hold their heads high after a fantastic team effort which just came up short. The Engineers will not feature in the Corps Final following their second loss of the Season, however they will have good representation in the Army Senior XV and Combined Services U23 who will feature at Twickenham in April at the Army vs Navy and CS U23 vs Oxbridge games respectively.
Well done to the Sappers on a great effort throughout the Season and we look forward to an even better 2017/18 Season.
Reported By J. Fowke