TEN years on from the 2007 memorial match to celebrate the life of Royal Marine Craig Hodgkinson, the Royal Navy Rugby Union Senior XV and Glasgow Hawks renewed acquaintances in a charity fundraising match in front of a full house at Old Anniesland last night.
“We are delighted to play here this evening, to mark the anniversary of the memorial match for Craig and to raise money for the Craig Hodgkinson Trust. It is also great preparation for us as we look to defend our Inter Service Rugby title against the Royal Air Force and the Army in April,” said Navy head coach Ash Coates.
For two visiting players it was a particular pleasure to be north of the border. Submariner, Matt Harvey, playing at lock, lives in Scotland so it was the chance for him to be back on familiar ground; and replacement Tom Hughes grew up in Scotland and learnt the game with the Helensburgh youth team.
It was a crisp, clear evening and both sides were out to play free flowing rugby, producing an action-packed 80 minutes of entertainment.
Much to delight of the home crowd it was the Hawks who put the first points on the board, after sustained pressure and some good straight running lines, space was created for Brendan McGroarty at outside centre to cross the line. The conversion hit the post and Hawks took a five point lead.
But the Navy truck back to take a 5-21 lead into half-time thanks to tries from a mystery player, Richard Cadywould and Eldon Myers, all converted by Jonathan Humphrey.
The Navy dominated possession and territory at the start of the second half, but the home side began to show their mettle, and they closed the gap to 10 – 21 through a Ross Miller try, and heartened by this score the hosts launched another onslaught which eventually resulted in another score, this time for Andrew Jardine.
In their eagerness to escalate their momentum, Hawks left themselves open to a counter-attack from replacement Rhys Dimmock-Williams, who went all the way – and another successful conversion made it 17 -28 with 15 minutes left to play.
More exciting play followed from both teams, with some lovely offloads and strong support play but neither side was able to make the decisive break.
Navy: Humphrey; Welling, Raumakita, Myers, Bowden; Cadywould, Moore; Mason (c) Evans, Robinson, Pascoe, Harvey, Trehan, Taylor, Fox. Subs: Hughes, owen, Jones, Mason, Cooper, Dimmock-Williams, Basher, Davies.
Hawks from: L Venerio, J Steele, R Jackson, A Jardine, B McGroarty, D Milne, E Oag, L Tee, K Rowe, C Woods, P Steele, H Shulte, L Brimms C Harrison, A Owry; S Findlay, P Henderson, G Strain, C Barnes, L Skinner, G Stewart S Rodgers, J Gemmell, A Linton, A Redmayne, G Newton, F Hastie, T Spinks, S Leckey, R Miller, C Brodie, J Thomson.
Referee: Duncan McClement