2013/14 Season
 
'ON' Corps Festival
 

The Sappers had a mixed day at the opening fixture of the 2013/14 Season, just missing out on the Corps Competition Final, losing to the Infantry 3-0 in the final group game meaning the REME and RLC battled it out in the Final.

Several newcomers make their debut as the Sappers fall short of making the Corps Competition Final

Games This Season

1. 'ON' Corps Festival - 18/9/13

 

2. vs Rugby For Heroes - 29/9/13

3. vs Signals - 9/10/13 - W 42-11

4. @ RLC - 6/11/13 - W 10-5

 

5. @ Infantry - 4/12/13 - W 27-10


6. @ REME - 5/2/14 - D 19-19


7. vs Artillery - 5/3/14 - W 22-18


8. Corps Final Day - 1/4/14 W 28-10

2013/14 Season Archive
'ON' Corps Festival
 

There were a number of new faces making their debut for the Royal Engineers at the annual Corps Competition in Aldershot. First up the Sappers took on their old rivals the Royal Artillery. It was a tense affair with both sides defenses putting in good shifts and it was only in the final mintes that the Sappers got the games only score, capitalising on a Gunner error inside the 22 to go over for the try and the win 7-0.

 

Up next it was the REME who always put in a good performance at the Corps Competition. It was a tough 24 minutes on the pitch and again the defense from both sides was strong and neither side was able to make a breakthrough and the game finished 0-0 with both sides taking a point.

Engineers edge out Artillery 7-0

Sappers vs REME ends in a stalemate after a tough game 0-0

Sappers bow out after 3-0 defeat to Infantry

The scoring picked up in the next game against the RLC. The Sappers ran in three tries to the RLC's one taking the victory 17-5, putting together some nice phases upfront in an entertaining game.

Unfortunatley the Royal Signals had pulled out of the Competition citing lack of numbers due to 'operational committments'.

This meant that the Sappers faced the Infantry in the final group game. They would need to win to gaurantee a place in the Final, with the Infantry already out of contention. It wasn't a great game and the Sappers failed to make it into high gear, making costly mistakes. The Infantry took the lead in the first half through a penalty drop kick and could have had more as the game wore on. Unfortunatley for the Sappers they couldn't capitalise on their opportunities and failed to make any real inroads into the Infantry 22 as the final minutes ticked down. The Infantry took the narrow victory and with it the Sappers lost out on a chance to defend their title from last year.

The Engineers now look forward to their next game against a Rugby for Heroes XV at the Army Aldershot Stadium -  be sure to come down and support both sides in a great game!

Royal Engineers vs Rugby For Heroes
 

A star studded Rugby for Heroes squad beats the Sappers 79-29 in an excellent game of rugby at the Army Aldershot Stadium.

 

Many big names turned out for a great cause to play for the R4H team agains the Sappers including: Henry Paul, Thinus Delport, Elvis Seveali, Jon Goodridge, Rory Greenslade - Jones, Martin Roberts, Terry Fanaloua and Junior Paramore.

Last year's teams at the conclusion of the match

Royal Engineers vs Royal Signals - Corps Championship

The United Services Ground at Chatham hosted the Royal Engineers first game of the 2013-14 Corps Championship against the Royal Signals. The Sappers would look to get their campaign off to a good start as they aim to go one better than last Season and lift the Corps Championship Trophy.

 

Much has changed since the Final as the Sappers have brought several new faces into the squad as well as welcoming back some familiar names into the line up to provide a good mix of youth and experience. The Engineers had a very strong forward line up which included the returning Ralph Cooke who partnered Rob Taylor and Captain Darrell Ball. Former Army Centre Danny Cootes also continued his successful return from injury to put in a great, commanding display in the backs.

 

The visitors got the game underway and were soon on the board courtesy of a penalty after the Sappers were penalised for a deliberate knock on, the kick was slotted though giving the Signals an early 3-0 lead.

 

Spelman runs in one of six Sapper tries

The Sappers responded almost immediately putting together some good phases inside the Signals half. After being awarded a penalty themselves they elected to go for the corner rather than take a shot at the posts and were set up just yards away from the try line following Tom Best’s kick for touch. After a good catch and drive the Sappers almost crossed the try line but the referee blew up for a penalty which was taken quickly by Blood Substitute Maku Koroiyadi who drove over for the score.

 

The hosts extended their lead soon after with fly half Tom Best slotting through a penalty from just inside the Signal half. From the ensuing kick off the Sappers came straight back at the Signal defence stretching them across the pitch to open up space on the near touchline where Full Back Mark Adamson crossed over in the corner for a great Try.

 

Both sides had some opportunities to add to the scoreboard but didn’t capitalise on their chances as they got into their opponents 22’. The Signals however added three points courtesy of a penalty 15 metres inside the Engineers half to close the gap to 10-6.

 

The Sappers looked the most threatening in the final few minutes and following a Signal Sin-Binning, Tom Best slotted through a penalty from in front of the posts to give the hosts a 13-6 lead at half time.

Koroiyadi had an excellent day powering through the Signal defence

The Engineers made a perfect start to the second half, putting the Signal defence under heavy pressure, building the phases and driving closer to the try line. After quickly shipping the ball out it was Winger Josh Thomas who collected and crossed from five metres out to score in the corner.

 

The home side were dealt a blow soon after when Full Back Mark Adamson left the game with a shoulder injury after putting in a great cover tackle on the Signals Winger. It brought his game to an end following a great first half.

 

The Engineers were starting to crank up the gears and looked increasingly more comfortable as the second half went on, playing some great rugby. The addition of Fijian capped Scrum half Vata Aporosi, who replaced the solid Mike Lawton, added further flair to their attack.

Danny Cootes commanded the backs

'Cavs' in action vs Signals

Aporosi was involved immediately helping set up the Engineers next try, as Maku Koroiyadi powered his way over the try line for a deserved score increasing the home side’s lead.

 

The Engineers were spending more and more time inside the Signals half and added another try soon after. Following a quick tap penalty on the Signal 10 metre line the Sappers drove upfield, with ‘Cavs’ powering through the defence and offloading to Aporosi to create space. Cootes provided the final pass to winger Koroi who crossed in the corner for the try.

 

The visitors did manage to cross the try line themselves, finally breaking open the Sapper defence to sprint through the line and go over for the score in the corner.

New Scrum Half Vata Aporosa impressed off the bench

The home side came back though and managed to cross for one more try before full time. After a lengthy spell inside the Signal half the Sappers crossed the try line, however the final pass from Cootes to Koroiyadi went forward and it was brought back for a Signal scrum.

 

The hosts kept up the pressure though and following an excellent run by Koroiyadi through the defence it was back row Dan Spelman who was on hand to receive the ball and finish off a great move to cap off an excellent team performance, 42-11.

 

The Sappers now move on to the RLC away at Abingdon. The Loggies proved a tough opponent two years ago beating the Engineers comfortably and will no doubt provide another stern test as the Engineers begin a series of three back to back away games.

 

Man of the Match – Ralph Cooke. ‘Cookie’ made a superb impact on his return to the Sapper team after a lengthy back injury. He and Rob Taylor continued their excellent partnership in the second row and were solid in the lineout along with Skipper Darrell Ball.

 

 

Team:  1. Dave Sharp  2. Vic Reeve  3. Rich Kilbey  4. Rob Taylor  5. Ralph Cooke  6. George Otterbech  7. Dan Spelman  8. Darrell Ball  9. Mike Lawton  10. Tom Best 11. K Koroi  12. Danny Cootes  13. Pete Fahey  14. Josh Thomas 15. Mark Adamson 16. Nathan Young  17. Maku Koroiyadi  18. Birdy Bowman 19. Arron Smith  20. Vata Aporosa 21. Marcus Mercer  

 

 

Reported by J.Fowke

Royal Engineers vs Royal Logistic Corps - Corps Championship

Debutant Tyler Dunning impressed on the Wing

The second fixture of the 2013-14 Corps Championship saw the Royal Engineers travel to Abingdon to face the Royal Logistic Corps. The ‘Loggies’ had put a good squad together for the contest and would look for a similar outcome to that of two years ago where they overturned the visitors.

 

The pitch was very heavy under foot after receiving a lot of rain, despite a few showers the worst had passed as the game got underway. The Sappers had a few new faces in the squad who had impressed the coaching staff with a few returning faces including Gareth Libbey and James Dixon.

 

The visitors got off to a good start turning over the RLC inside their own half on a couple of occasions to put themselves in excellent position to open the scoring. They were soon knocking on the door following great work by the forwards who then set up the backs to go to work showing great hands to allow John Munday to cross the try line. Tom Best added a great conversion from out on the touch line to give the Sappers an early 7-0 lead.

John Berry vs RLC

Maku Koroiyadi had another impressive outing vs RLC

The RLC came back at their opponents and had an opportunity to close the gap but a shot at goal was pushed just wide. A few moments later and it was the Sappers who had a chance to add three points of their own but the kick from Best just came up short heading into the wind.

 

The rain made another appearance midway through the half to make conditions worse for both sides who struggled to put together phases with a ball that was becoming increasingly difficult to handle. 

 

The Sappers came close to crossing the try line again following more good play by the forwards, with Maku Koroiyadi in particular carrying well. Unfortunately the conditions made life very difficult for the backs to ship the ball quickly and the move ended with a knock on allowing the hosts to clear their line.

 

The Sappers were playing well and making good inroads into the RLC half, and as half time approached they had the opportunity to extend their lead. Mike Lawton broke away nicely from the back of a scrum and offloaded well to Koroiyadi who drove to the RLC 22. The referee awarded the visitors a penalty after the RLC defence jumped offside and Best slotted through another three points to give the Sappers a 10-0 lead going into the break.

Skipper Darrell Ball vs RLC

Following a solid first half the Sappers looked to build on their lead and put the hosts under more pressure in the second, unfortunately the tide seemed to turn and it was the Loggies who came back into the game. The Engineers had the chance to put three more points up on the board early on in the second half, however the wind played its part and the ball sailed just wide of the posts and the RLC set about closing the gap.

 

They came close to crossing the try line after turning over the Sappers on half way. The ball was shipped quickly out to the wing to their speedsters but good covering defence from Munday and Best forced the attacker into touch. The hosts seemed to spend much of the next ten minutes camped inside the Sapper 22 looking for a breakthrough and despite going a man down the Engineer defence stood firm putting in a great effort to keep the RLC at bay.

 

The RLC didn’t give up and continued to pile on the pressure as the half went on. They managed to cross the try line on two occasions but both were brought back by the referee for a forward pass and the ball being held up over the line. Despite having the wind at their backs, the Sappers were struggling to clear their lines and although they had put together a great defensive stand it seemed like only a matter of time before the hosts would finally break through.

Vic Reeve breaks through a tackle

The try eventually came following an RLC scrum inside the Engineer 22. They moved the ball quickly to the wing spreading the Sapper defence and following a nice off load it was the RLC centre who finally broke through and closed the gap to 10-5. Despite giving up the points it at least allowed the Sappers to clear their lines and get back inside the RLC half. After a brief attack it wasn’t long before they were on the back foot once again inside their own half as the RLC looked to at least tie the game with another try.

 

Fortunately for the Sappers, after more good defence, time was moving on and James Dixon finished the game clearing the ball out the back of the end zone following a scrum to give the visitors a hard fought 10-5 victory.

 

It really was a tale of two halves as the Sappers failed to build on their 10-0 lead at half time, but nevertheless they showed great resilience in the second period to keep the RLC at bay for lengthy spells. Conditions didn’t make for a great game but the Engineers will take the points and move on to their next opponent.

 

The Sappers final game of 2013 will be away at Tidworth against the Infantry. It has not been a happy hunting ground for the Engineers in previous years and they will need to be at their best to turn over the hosts before going into the Christmas break, be sure to make it down and support the Sappers! Man of the Match – Taff Hemmings. Making his debut for the Royal Engineers, Hemmings was solid at inside centre in both attack and defence.

 

 

Team:  1. Dave Sharp  2. John Berry  3. Nathan Young  4. Rob Taylor  5. Darrell Ball  6. Dan Spelman  7. Gareth Libbey  8. Maku Koroiyadi  9. Mike Lawton  10. Tom Best 11. Tyler Dunning  12. Taff Hemmings  13. Danny Cootes  14. John Munday 15. James Dixon 16. Vic Reevs  17. Rich Kilbey  18. Mac Koiyriadi 19. Birdy Bowman  20. Isekeli Railoa 21. Kurt Koroi 22. Matt Fay  

 

 

Reported by J.Fowke

Royal Engineers vs Royal Logistic Corps - Corps Championship

Debutant Tyler Dunning impressed on the Wing

The second fixture of the 2013-14 Corps Championship saw the Royal Engineers travel to Abingdon to face the Royal Logistic Corps. The ‘Loggies’ had put a good squad together for the contest and would look for a similar outcome to that of two years ago where they overturned the visitors.

 

The pitch was very heavy under foot after receiving a lot of rain, despite a few showers the worst had passed as the game got underway. The Sappers had a few new faces in the squad who had impressed the coaching staff with a few returning faces including Gareth Libbey and James Dixon.

 

The visitors got off to a good start turning over the RLC inside their own half on a couple of occasions to put themselves in excellent position to open the scoring. They were soon knocking on the door following great work by the forwards who then set up the backs to go to work showing great hands to allow John Munday to cross the try line. Tom Best added a great conversion from out on the touch line to give the Sappers an early 7-0 lead.

John Berry vs RLC

Maku Koroiyadi had another impressive outing vs RLC

The RLC came back at their opponents and had an opportunity to close the gap but a shot at goal was pushed just wide. A few moments later and it was the Sappers who had a chance to add three points of their own but the kick from Best just came up short heading into the wind.

 

The rain made another appearance midway through the half to make conditions worse for both sides who struggled to put together phases with a ball that was becoming increasingly difficult to handle. 

 

The Sappers came close to crossing the try line again following more good play by the forwards, with Maku Koroiyadi in particular carrying well. Unfortunately the conditions made life very difficult for the backs to ship the ball quickly and the move ended with a knock on allowing the hosts to clear their line.

 

The Sappers were playing well and making good inroads into the RLC half, and as half time approached they had the opportunity to extend their lead. Mike Lawton broke away nicely from the back of a scrum and offloaded well to Koroiyadi who drove to the RLC 22. The referee awarded the visitors a penalty after the RLC defence jumped offside and Best slotted through another three points to give the Sappers a 10-0 lead going into the break.

Skipper Darrell Ball vs RLC

Following a solid first half the Sappers looked to build on their lead and put the hosts under more pressure in the second, unfortunately the tide seemed to turn and it was the Loggies who came back into the game. The Engineers had the chance to put three more points up on the board early on in the second half, however the wind played its part and the ball sailed just wide of the posts and the RLC set about closing the gap.

 

They came close to crossing the try line after turning over the Sappers on half way. The ball was shipped quickly out to the wing to their speedsters but good covering defence from Munday and Best forced the attacker into touch. The hosts seemed to spend much of the next ten minutes camped inside the Sapper 22 looking for a breakthrough and despite going a man down the Engineer defence stood firm putting in a great effort to keep the RLC at bay.

 

The RLC didn’t give up and continued to pile on the pressure as the half went on. They managed to cross the try line on two occasions but both were brought back by the referee for a forward pass and the ball being held up over the line. Despite having the wind at their backs, the Sappers were struggling to clear their lines and although they had put together a great defensive stand it seemed like only a matter of time before the hosts would finally break through.

Vic Reeve breaks through a tackle

The try eventually came following an RLC scrum inside the Engineer 22. They moved the ball quickly to the wing spreading the Sapper defence and following a nice off load it was the RLC centre who finally broke through and closed the gap to 10-5. Despite giving up the points it at least allowed the Sappers to clear their lines and get back inside the RLC half. After a brief attack it wasn’t long before they were on the back foot once again inside their own half as the RLC looked to at least tie the game with another try.

 

Fortunately for the Sappers, after more good defence, time was moving on and James Dixon finished the game clearing the ball out the back of the end zone following a scrum to give the visitors a hard fought 10-5 victory.

 

It really was a tale of two halves as the Sappers failed to build on their 10-0 lead at half time, but nevertheless they showed great resilience in the second period to keep the RLC at bay for lengthy spells. Conditions didn’t make for a great game but the Engineers will take the points and move on to their next opponent.

 

The Sappers final game of 2013 will be away at Tidworth against the Infantry. It has not been a happy hunting ground for the Engineers in previous years and they will need to be at their best to turn over the hosts before going into the Christmas break, be sure to make it down and support the Sappers! Man of the Match – Taff Hemmings. Making his debut for the Royal Engineers, Hemmings was solid at inside centre in both attack and defence.

 

 

Team:  1. Dave Sharp  2. John Berry  3. Nathan Young  4. Rob Taylor  5. Darrell Ball  6. Dan Spelman  7. Gareth Libbey  8. Maku Koroiyadi  9. Mike Lawton  10. Tom Best 11. Tyler Dunning  12. Taff Hemmings  13. Danny Cootes  14. John Munday 15. James Dixon 16. Vic Reevs  17. Rich Kilbey  18. Mac Koiyriadi 19. Birdy Bowman  20. Isekeli Railoa 21. Kurt Koroi 22. Matt Fay  

 

 

Reported by J.Fowke

Royal Engineers vs Infantry - Corps Championship

The final match of 2013 saw the Royal Engineers travel to Hounslow to take on the Infantry – a fixture that has proved a bit of a stumbling block in recent years.

 

The Engineer squad contained a blend of youth and experience with several new faces once again coming in this season and doing a job on the pitch in the Corps Jersey. Vic Reeve Captained the side at Hooker, and it was the visitors who got the game underway.

 

The Sappers started well and enjoyed some good territory inside the opening ten minutes. They almost crossed for an early try following an excellent drive from a lineout. They looked to have crossed the line for the score however the referee brought them back for offside against the Infantry and the Sappers set about a similar attack from the ensuing lineout.

Royal Engineers vs Infantry

Rob Taylor took the ball at the lineout and the pack set about driving the short distance to the try line pushing back the Infantry defence. This time there was no stopping the Maroon & Blue as Tom Price took the ball from the back of the maul and dove over for the Try. James Dixon added the conversion from out wide making the score 7-0.

 

Shortly after, following a nice attack, the Sappers added a further three points after the Infantry were caught offside. Dixon slotted through with a little help from the right upright. 10-0.

Wes Thompson at Scrum Half

Tom Best vs Infantry

After a good opening spell the Infantry came back at the visitors and had a chance to close the gap with a penalty. The kick drifted wide and the Engineers set about an attack of their own.

 

From a scrum inside the Infantry 22’ the Sappers set about unleashing their backs who cut some nice lines. The Infantry defence was solid though and absorbed the first wave, but they started to creep up and the referee awarded another penalty to the Sappers and Dixon added the points, 13-0.

 

As the first half came to a close the Infantry were putting together another good attack and were making inroads through the Engineer defence, aided by ill discipline from the visitors. Their forwards made good tracks up field and eventually the referee awarded another penalty which the Infantry fly half slotted through the posts closing the gap to 13-3 at the break.

The home side got the second half underway and had the better start. Their backs looked threatening and they showed their pace breaking through the Sapper defence from a quick tap near halfway. Dixon made a good covering tackle at Full Back but the ball was shipped quickly and it was Army 7s winger Bishop who ran in under the posts, closing the gap to 13-10.

 

The home side continue with the pressure aided by a yellow card to Engineer player Dan Spellman. The Sapper defence tightened up however and dealt with the threat from the Infantry backs.

 

Things levelled up soon after when the Infantry also had a man sent to the Sin Bin for handling in the ruck. The Sappers started to come back into the game and were awarded another penalty, which Dixon slotted through, 16-10.

 

After enjoying some more good territory the Sappers added another three points following a high tackle on Tom Best. It wasn’t long though before the visitors finally crossed for another try.

 

Following another good driving maul from a lineout the Sappers made their way into the Infantry 22’ where a kick ahead lead to a knock on from the Infantry and the Engineers were set up with a scrum just five yards out. The Sappers worked the scrum well and a good flick up from Darrell Ball at the base lead to the replacement scrum half diving over in the corner for the Try 21-10.

 

As the clock wound down the Engineers came alive and put together some good attacking moves adding two more penalties from the boot of James Dixon leaving the final score at 27-10 to the visitors.

 

Royal Engineers vs Infantry

James Dixon was impressive from the kicking tee

It wasn’t a classic but the Sappers came away from a tough fixture with the all important win. After poor losses away to the Infantry in recent years, the Engineers knew that they would have to be on form to prevent another upset, and although they didn’t perform for the entire 80 minutes they got it together when it counted.

 

The senior players in the squad provided good leadership and steered the team in the right direction ensuring they kept cool heads and stuck to the gameplan, coming away with their final win of the year as they head into the Christmas break.

 

Next up for the Engineers is the REME at Arbofield. As always the fixture will be highly anticipated as the two sides renew their rivalry. The Sappers beat the REME last Season but lost out in the Final. Both sides will look to gain an edge as the only two unbeaten teams match up on February 5th – Be sure to make it down to watch!

 

Until then Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all Sappers and all Armed Forces personnel across the globe!

Man of the Match – Rob Taylor. Always a dominant force in the second row, Taylor once again put in an excellent shift using his experience and leadership in the forwards to help the team to victory!

 

 

Reported by J.Fowke

Royal Engineers vs REME
 

The first Corps game of 2014 saw the Royal Engineers travel to one of their biggest rivals, the REME to take on the current Corps Champions in Arborfield. The fixture has proven to be one of the most competitive games in recent years and this year would be no different as the two added another chapter to their rivalry.

 

Darrell Ball returned to the line up to Skipper the side and the team welcomed back some other familiar faces including Matt Curgenven and Vata Aporosa in the backs.

 

Conditions would prove to be very tricky following heavy rain overnight, which made the pitch very soft with several areas of standing water. The rain had relinquished as the referee got the game under way however the pitch would take a lot of punishment throughout the course of the 80 minutes.

Once again the fixture provided tough rugby and tough conditions

Koroiyadi vs REME

Darrell Ball making a tackle

Both teams enjoyed some good phases in the opening stages of the game and the REME had the first opportunity to open the scoring but a penalty attempt fell just short of the cross bar, letting the visitors off the hook.

 

The REME were able to keep the pressure on their opponents however, keeping them pinned inside their own 22 and they eventually got the opening score with their tight head prop finishing off a nice attacking move. 0-5.

 

The home side came right back at the Sappers from the ensuing kick off, receiving the ball and quickly shipping it right where a nice move in midfield saw them open up space on the wing for them to go over for another Try making the scoreline 0-12 following the conversion.

A day for forwards...

After going down by two tries early on, the Engineers knew they couldn’t let the hosts get the next score. They responded in the best possible way setting up shop inside the REME 22 following a penalty. From the lineout the forwards put together a nice drive and pushed the ball over the tryline with Maku Koroiyadi touching down for the score. James Dixon added a great conversion from out wide to close the gap to 7-12.

 

As half time approached the REME were enjoying a good spell inside the Engineer’s half putting pressure on their opponents. Both sides made handling errors as the ball became increasingly slippery but the hosts did a good job of keeping the ball inside the Sapper half forcing them to play from deep.

 

Eventually the pressure told and the hosts added their third Try of the half. They launched their attack from a lineout 5 metres away from the Sapper Try line and following a quickly taken penalty they crossed over once more to extend their lead going into the break 7-19.

 

The Engineers would have been disappointed to concede three Tries in the first half, as well as the last one so close to the break and knew they would be in with a tough task in the second period to close the gap and hold their opponents to as little as possible in the final 40 minutes.

 

Head Coach Ben Hughes made a couple of substitutes at half time with the experienced Garry Windle coming on at Hooker as well as Aporosa replacing Gill at Scrum Half.

 

Fly Half James Dixon vs REME

The visitors came out firing and immediately set about chipping into their opponents lead as the referee awarded them a penalty in the opening two minutes. Dixon slotted through from close range closing the gap to 10-19.

 

The Sappers kept up the pressure playing some good rugby inside the REME half controlling the ball as best as they could despite the awful conditions. Koroiyadi was once again excellent from the base of the scrum, using his strength to drive back defenders and gain positive yards on his carries.  

 

The referee soon awarded another penalty to the visitors and Dixon once again slotted the ball through the uprights to add another three points, 13-19.

 

The visitors had definitely picked up their game in the second period and were doing a great job at pinning the REME deep inside their own half. They took advantage of the boggy pitch especially in the left corner, putting in lofting kicks that forced the opposition to play the ball from deep.

By the midway point in the half conditions were becoming increasingly difficult. The REME half of the pitch had worn considerably and the muddy conditions were heavily affecting ball handling and the players’ footing. Mistakes were frequent from both sides and the close score line made for a tense final twenty minutes.

 

The REME were putting up stubborn defence, working hard as the Sappers tried to find a way through. Once again it was a penalty that allowed them to close the gap further, as Dixon converted his kick putting the Sappers within three points.

 

The Engineers had the advantage in territory making it difficult for the REME to get out of their half and launch a decent attack. As the final few minutes wound down it was the Sappers who were in the driving seat and looking favourites to score. Conditions were so difficult for both sides however and the ball often popped out loose at key moments.

 

The visitors set about on one last attack and were awarded another penalty just on the REME 22 allowing Dixon the chance to level the match with the final kick of the game. As he had done all day, the young Fly Half kept his cool and despite the conditions under foot he converted through the posts giving the Sappers a deserved draw after an excellent second half showing.

 

It was difficult to even tell the players apart at the end of the 80 minutes but both sides put on another great contest of rugby. The Sappers now look ahead to their final regular season game back at home against their old rivals the Royal Artillery. A win would secure them a spot in the Corps Final, quite possibly against the REME once again so it’s all to play for…

 

Next game up…

 

 

Man of the Match – James Dixon – Played well at Fly Half and produced an excellent kicking display despite the horrendous conditions under foot slotting through a conversion and four penalties – including a critical last kick of the game to earn a draw.

 

 

Reported by J.Fowke

Dixon converts a penalty with the last kick of the game

Royal Engineers vs Royal Artillery
 

The Army’s oldest Corps rivalry continued March 5th as the Royal Engineers hosted the Royal Artillery at Chatham in a game that had added incentive, with the winner advancing to the Corps Final at the end of the month to take on the REME at Aldershot.

 

Both sides had enjoyed good campaigns up to this point, but form counts for little in a game as big as this one as the Gunners looked to avenge last year’s loss at Larkhill.

 

The Sappers welcomed back some familiar faces, with Ricky Reeves starting in the front row Jope returning in the back row and Bakoso & Wessells returned in the back line.

 

In contrast to twelve months earlier at Larkhill, it felt like a Spring day as the sun was out and conditions were perfect for rugby. The Sappers started the game well and found themselves inside the Gunner 22 early on where a penalty for offside gave James Dixon the chance to slot through an easy three points giving the home side an early 3-0 lead.

Skipper Darrell Ball raises the Jones-Drake Trophy

It was a tight contest up front

A few minutes later though the hosts were down to 14 men as centre Gerhard Wessells was shown a yellow card for taking out a dummy runner giving the Artillery a good opportunity to make the most of their advantage and put the Sappers under pressure. They certainly made the most of their advantage as they put heavy pressure on the Engineer's although to their credit the Sappers worked hard to repel the Gunner attacks.

 

Eventually though the pressure told and a nice chip over the defence allowed the Gunner hooker to chase and touch the ball down for a Try in the corner giving the visitors the lead 3-5. The Sappers came back well following the Try and put together some nice phases of their own and shortly after re-took the lead with another three points from the boot of Dixon, slotting through a good kick from just inside the Gunner half. 6-5.

 

The Engineers did a good job keeping the scoreboard ticking over, slotting through another penalty from the Gunner 22 following some nice play in midfield where Bakoso almost finished off in the corner. Dixon kicked the three points once again and extended the lead to 9-5. As half time approached the Engineers were awarded another penalty from midway inside the Artillery half. Dixon continued his impressive form and slotted the ball through the posts once more, 12-5.

 

The Artillery came back though in the final moments and threatened a score of their own, the home side kept up their good defensive effort, however gave away a penalty on the touchline. Thankfully for the hosts the kick sailed wide and the Engineers took a small lead into the break.

Gunners on the attack...

Bakoso made a welcome return to the Sapper Line up

The visitors made a strong start to the second half, making immediate inroads into the Sapper 22 following a turnover. They were soon awarded a penalty for the Sappers not releasing the tackler and they slotted through to close the gap to 12-8. The Artillery kept up their pressure with much of the play taking place inside the Engineer half.

 

The Sappers had a tough job clearing their lines and, in a reversal of the first half, were struggling at the scrum, with the referee awarding several penalties and free kicks against the hosts. The penalty count was mounting up against the Engineers and eventually the visitors converted another kick through the uprights to close the deficit to just one point 12-11.

 

Despite giving up the three points the Sappers could at least clear their lines and go on the offensive themselves. Maku Koroiyadi did what he does best and made good ground piling through tacklers and help set up the Engineers in good field position where a penalty allowed Dixon to re-establish a four point lead, 15-11.

 

The Back Row combined well on the ensuing kick off with Koroiyadi, Jope and substitute Vee Veikune making good ground into the Gunner half. The ball was then shipped wide allowing the backs to get into the game and make more good territory putting the Gunners firmly on the back foot.

 

Following a penalty the hosts elected to go for the corner – a decision which paid off moments later when Koroiyadi crossed for the Engineers first try of the game. A good conversion put the Sappers in the driving seat, 22-11 with time winding down in the match.

 

The Gunners were by no means done though and they came right back at the Engineers. They put the Sappers under pressure at the scrum and threatened the try line as the game wound into its final few minutes. Following a lineout on the far side of the pitch the ball was worked quickly and simply along the back line where their winger collected and skipped through two last ditch tackles to go over for the Try which was converted bringing the score line to 22-18 with just minutes left, setting up a tense finish.

Sappers vs Gunners

The Artillery had just minutes left to try and steal the match, however the Engineer defence held firm and the referee shortly after blew for full time, 22-18 to the Engineers.

 

In a tense game the two sides produced some good rugby and the Engineers came away with the spoils, lifting the Jone-Drake Trophy once again and advancing to the Corps Final with four wins and a draw over the course of the season.

 

They will look to build off their strong forward base and work in more of their attacking flair as they face off against their other rivals the REME who they will once again meet in the Final on March 26th at Aldershot.

 

Be sure to come down and support the Sappers as they look to regain the Championship Trophy after an absence of several years!

 

Next game up…

 

Reported by J.Fowke

The Sappers retain the Jones-Drake Trophy

Royal Engineers vs REME - Army Corps Final
 

Four years had passed since the Royal Engineers last lifted the Army Corps Championship Trophy following their victory over the RLC in 2010. The Sappers, now in the Final once again in 2014, faced the current holders, the REME, a team they hadn’t beaten in the Final since 2008.

 

Another Chapter in this impressive rivalry between two great teams was to be written on Wednesday 26th March at the Army Aldershot Stadium. The two sides produced an entertaining 19 all draw in their regular season meeting in February, in a mud bath at Arborfield. The two best sides in the Competition now faced off for the Corps Championship Trophy which saw the REME, top in points scored, go up against the Sappers who had the best defensive record throughout the Season.

 

The Engineers had a strong squad for the game, Skippered by Darrell Ball, featuring a strong backline to compliment the front row. The backs were also looking sharp with Aporosa & Dixon providing the 9/10 partnership and Wessels anchoring things in the centre. Winger Taniela Bakoso was also making his Final appearance in a Corps shirt along with Garry Windle who started on the bench, hoping to make it a good send off!

Darrell Ball wins the lineout - Picture John Walton

Darrell Ball wins the lineout

Mclaren breaks a tackle on his return to the starting lineup - Picture John Walton

Dixon got the game underway and the Sappers got off to a positive start inside the REME half. Following a penalty the Sapper attack made its first breakthrough. Koroiyadi received a nice offload from Dixon to burst through the line. The ball was then shipped quickly to the right where Matt Curgenven offloaded on the wing to the supporting Sema on his inside to cross the Try line for the best possible start for the men in Maroon & Blue! Dixon slotted through the conversion and the Engineers took a 7-0 lead.

 

The REME came back and almost immediately had an opportunity to close the gap with a penalty on the 10 metre line just to the side of the posts. Fortunately the Sappers were let off the hook as the kick sailed just wide. The Engineers then came back at their opponents, with Aporosa impressing at scrum half, exploiting gaps well in the REME defence to gain good yards upfield. Unfortunately the Sappers couldn’t capitalise on their opportunities as mistakes crept in.

 

The warning signs were there for the REME though as the Sappers strength in attack was clear to see. Sema also carried well on the wing, using his size and speed to gain extra yards. After another good attack the Sappers had the opportunity to extend their lead with a penalty just to the right of the posts. Dixon slotted the ball through and the Engineers made it a 10 point game.

Dixon was again impressive at Fly Half - Picture John Walton

Pic

Bakoso speeds down the wing - Picture John Walton

The REME restarted and set about replying to their opponent’s good start. They soon made their mark on the game, following a Sapper drop out on the 22’. The REME used the space in front of them to ship the ball wide, where their Full Back made a break through the defence. From there, the ball was passed quickly to the backs on the right side of the field and they crossed the try line to close the gap to 10-7 following the conversion.

 

Despite their good start the Sappers were dealt a warning that they had to make the most of their opportunities, or they would be punished. Things got better for them though as they went a man up following a yellow card for one of the REME second row after great defence at the breakdown from Koroiyadi to steal the ball.

 

The Sappers added a penalty with the man advantage to take a 13-7 lead, however they were soon down a man as well following a yellow card for winger Sam Sema. Just moments later the Engineers were down to 13 men after Scrum Half Aporosa was also sent to the sidelines.

 

Approaching half time, the Engineers were now under plenty of pressure inside their own 22 & down to 13 men. They kept cool heads though and continued to excel in the lineout, stealing a REME ball and clearing their lines. Eventually though the REME started to close in on the try line and a resulting penalty allowed them to close the gap to 13-10, which is how the two sides went into the break.

Wessels commanding at Centre - Picture John Walton

As the second half got underway the Sappers continued to impress. The forwards put together a textbook driving maul and came close to scoring, however the ball was knocked on just before the try line. The REME cleared their lines but Full Back Matt Curgenven was taken out in the air collecting a high ball and James Dixon slotted through another penalty to make the score 16-10.

 

The Sappers were playing composed rugby and looking threatening. They were beginning to create more chances however weren’t quite able to capitalise and cross the whitewash.

 

Despite making handling errors and giving away penalties inside the REME 22 the Sappers kept coming back and building the pressure on their opponents. The REME were finding it hard to break out of their own half and soon the elusive Try came.

 

The Sappers drove from well from a lineout inside the REME 22, with Jope being tackled just short of the line. The job was finished by Koroiyadi though who picked up just a yard short and touched down for the Try. Another good conversion from Dixon gave the Sappers a 23-10 lead.

The game was entering its final stages and the Sappers continued to press and extend their lead. The REME were on an attack of their own, however Koroiyadi once again turned the ball over in a tackle allowing Aporosa to pick up and counter. The ball was then delivered across the pitch to Bakoso who almost reached the Try line but was brought down just short. Support arrived quickly though and Aporosa sniped from the base of the ruck to get the ball down for the Try. 28-10.

 

The Sappers could have added more to their total however the REME defence kept up their great effort despite the continued pressure. As the clock ticked into the final minutes the defending Champions kept going, as Champions do, and fought right until the end. They looked to add another Try before the 80 minutes was up, however it wasn’t to be their day as Bakoso collected a loose ball intended for the REME backs and set off down field, putting together a nice one-two with Curgenven in the process. He then barged off a tackle and offloaded to substitute Lordi Waqa but the ball was knocked out of his hands into touch.

 

PRE GAME MOTIVATIONAL MONTAGE

Pic

Jope on the attack - Picture John Walton

The 80 minutes was now up and the referee blew for full time, meaning the Royal Engineers were once again Army Corps Champions after a break of 4 years. It was a superb display of rugby from the men in Maroon & Blue, with the entire squad putting in a great effort for the full 80 minutes.

 

The REME fought right to the end though and played their part in an entertaining game. The two sides have enjoyed a fantastic rivalry over the past 7 years and there will be no doubt more great games to come.

 

For now though, the Sappers will enjoy their success after a great effort throughout the entire Season, saving their best game for the Final and going undefeated. With a good mixture of youth and experience the future looks positive and it won’t be long before preparations begin to defend their title next Season.

 

 

Ubique!

ROYAL ENGINEERS RFC - ARMY CORPS CHAMPIONS 2014

Man of the Match – Man of the Match – Maku Koroiyadi – Maku once again asserted his dominance on the rugby pitch with some impressive ball carrying using his awesome power to consistently break through the REME defensive line as well as using his strength well in defence to cause turnovers in tackles and at the breakdown. He deservedly received the MoM award following another superb performance this season!

 

Pictures were kindly passed on by John Walton - More available via his Flickr Page - *** Search John Walton (51) ***

 

Reported by J.Fowke