Giving debuts to 5 women the army started strong and fast putting pressure on the RAF team. After a fiery start Cpl Sarah Roper was sin binned for a dubious penalty decision and the Army heroically defended their line for three sets of six with LCpl Caz Roberts and Cpl Dani Phan leading the defensive charge.
The Army then decided to exert pressure of their own and great hard yards from Cpl Bani released Capt Alex Coxon who outpaced the RAF defence only to fall just metres short of the line. From the resulting play of the ball The Army spread the ball wide and Pte Maz Claassens crashed over the line. LCpl Roberts added to the scoring minutes later showing great footwork to dance around several RAF defenders and powering over the try line. Sgt Alvie Beaney added the extra two points converting the try.
The reintroduction of Cpl Roper lifted the Army further and after linking well with Sgt Alvie Beaney she was able to send Cpl Phan through a gaping hole and under the posts to score the second try of the game. The Armies confidence started to grow and they started to play some very attractive Rugby League which was causing the RAF all sorts of problems. In particular the strength and dynamic running of front rowers Capt Charlie Maxwell and Pte Shelley-Anne Magic was creating holes everywhere which were then being expertly exploited by Cfn Rosie Ranfield and Pte “TJ” Nute. Another try before half time from Cpl Bani meant the Army came in at the interval with a commanding lead and with the RAF tiring the ladies knew they had to turn the screw to finish them off.
Capt Maxwell quickly got in on the try scoring act shortly after half time bundling over from close range before great work round the ruck area from LCpl Kareena Brookes set away Inspirational skipper Bdr Katie Garside who charged towards the line handing two players off on her way and was not to be denied a try. The RAF heads were steadily dropping now as they had no answer to the athleticism and ball skills of the Army team. The defensive effort didn’t drop either as the RAF still piled forward but the line held firm and mistakes were forced from the opposition. Another Army try from Pte Magic followed before the game was wrapped up by arguably the try of the game. Pte Shelly- Anne Magic received the ball deep in her own half before breaking the line and handing off opponent after opponent running down the line and diving over in the corner. A 60 metre try from a prop forward who easily out did the RAF backline defence for pace, strength and determination had the Aldershot crowd on their feet.
The final whistle brought an end to a miserable evening for the RAF who despite the score line had put up a valiant effort throughout. The Army however revelled in their victory and the fact they had not conceded a point showed their defensive resilience whilst playing some entertaining Rugby League Football. A special mention of congratulations to Cpl Sarah Roper and Cpl Dani Phan who due to their outstanding performances have caught the eye of Leeds Rhinos and been asked to train with their Ladies team. Job 1 done for the Army next up the Navy….
Scribe: Cpl Craig Horrigan (Coach)