army v navy 
Saturday 4th May 2024


Match Report | RAF Women up and running in Devon sun

The Royal Air Force Women’s showed their quality and clinical finishing with a healthy 34-12 win over the Royal Navy at Brickfields Stadium.

The Royal Air Force Women’s showed their quality and clinical finishing with a healthy 34-12 win over the Royal Navy at Brickfields Stadium.

The Navy had the first sight of clear space, Rose Dixon making a break up the left. But she did not have the pace to turn this into a try, unlike RAF winger Carys Williams-Morris, on the end of some lovely play from Daisy Fahey to open the scoring.

Fahey created space for the Welsh international with a dummy and perfectly-timed pass, but there was more robust play in the build-up for the RAF’s second try on the quarter hour.

A penalty was kicked to touch, and after the forwards had the Navy in reverse gear with their drive it was a straightforward task for the backs to finish the job, centre Rebecca Di Filippo cutting onto an offload to score between the uprights.

The Fahey/Williams-Morris combination yielded dividends for a second time a couple of minutes into the second quarter, but while this gave the RAF a 17-0 lead it also sparked the best period for the Navy.

To that point the Senior Service had been looking to spread the play, but when they kept things tight it brought better results, and after the forwards earned a couple of penalties they set up the platform from which Rebecca Addis crashed over for the score.

The reaction said it all, but the hard work was undone on the stroke of half-time when Williams-Morris came off her wing to make a crucial run and neat offload to De Filippo, who crashed over in the corner.

So the RAF led 22-5 at the break, which became 27-5 in some style 10 minutes after the restart. Repeated penalties pinned the Royal Navy back in their own territory, and the RAF made them pay with lovely handling from Sarah Graham and De Filippo that put Orla Proctor through the line. The debutant still had to finish, and with a strong hand-off the centre was over.

There was a similar run from Navy flanker, Rowann Sinclair, at the other end. Unfortunately there was no similar finish, as the supporting players were unable to turn pressure into points.

A lineout in a promising position in the RAF’s 22 was lost, too, although the Navy were keeping themselves in the light blues’ half to keep their opponents quiet.

Then having been on the back foot for 15 minutes, and disrupted by Graham’s departure to injury, Proctor broke the deadlock with an eye-catching long-range try that took the RAF over the 30-point mark.

There was a consolation score for the Royal Navy as the clock ticked past the 80. Full back Jasmine Abel broke through and got to within 15 minutes of the line. But Williams-Morris’s try-saver was high, and referee Matt Wray awarded both a penalty try and a yellow card to the winger.

Both teams had opportunities to finish with a flourish. But Fahey missed a penalty and the Navy could not turn an Abel break into points and the light blues lifted the trophy.

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