HMS Northumberland return to the rugby field after two-year break

Storyline: HMS Northumberland

HMS Northumberland’s rugby team played their first match in more than two years when they took on a side from Trondheim.

The ship, which was taking part in Exercise Cold Response 22, took 28 players to the Koteng Arena to face Trondheim Rugby Klubb.

Prior to the match, head coach POSSC Vinnie Bainitubua took the players through their war-up.

Northumberland started the game heading into a strong wind but showed some strong running, particularly from LET Brad Acott and LH Scotty Scott.

A penalty to the visitors saw captain LS Frank Gallagher opt to kick for touch for a line-out inside their own half.

Pinpoint accuracy from hooker LAC Finch saw the ball down for a maul, which Lt Henny Looze controlled from the rear.

A long pass from scrumhalf LS Brandon Lee for a planned move from fly half LCS Smudge Smith put hard-running centre LS Gallagher through a hole in the midfield.

He then got to the opposition fullback to beat him with ease after a beautiful sidestep, the defence was slowly gaining on him until he got five metres from the try line, when in the tackle he offloaded to supporting runner LS Lee to score the first try taking the score to 0-5, but was unable to make the conversion.

With confidence running through the team it was then Northumberland’s turn to do some defending and some great defensive work was happening by all, but the stand-out was LS Jack Last whose numerous big hits sent Trondheim backwards at a rate of knots.

A huge break off the line from flanker LS Ben Borman got the travelling support excited but with slow support a turnover was then conceded.

A couple of missed tackles led to Trondheim centre breaking through the defence but a great cover tackle by Fullback LET Tommy Cueto denied him from crossing the line, instead tackling him into touch for a Northumberland lineout which then gave them chance to clear their lines.

With half time fast approaching and a lineout for Trondheim on the halfway line it was Northumberland’s intention to just see the half out without conceding any points.

Some good play from the opposition sent the ball along to their winger who ran hard into LS Gallagher who then stripped the ball off him in the tackle and bumped off numerous defenders to burst his way over the try line sending Northumberland into half time 0-10 up after another conversion was missed.

Numerous changes were made over half time. Playing with the wind, the second half started with a bang after a great restart kick-off by LCS Smith, the player catching the ball got caught out by a perfectly-timed tackle by LET Fincham, this dominant tackle resulted in a turnover and a Northumberland put-in at the scrum.

From this scrum there was another strong carry from LET Acott, who once again crossed the gain line with ease. After a few strong carries from the forwards, the play eventually came to halt after a knock-on in the tackle.

Gradually as the second half was ongoing, Trondheim began to get some momentum and started to string several phases together, resulting in Northumberland being scrambled at the back.

A great turnover won by Northumberland in their own 22 was then used to take a quick tap penalty, but within one pass this turned into a bad idea as a drop ball was picked up by the opposing centre who ran in under the posts with no defence in front of him. Despite the try being scored under the posts, this conversion was also missed, making the score now 5-10 with 15 minutes remaining.

After a few words of encouragement by acting skipper LS Borman, the boys carried on into the final quarter.

The game became a bit scrappy with penalties and scrums given to both sides and not much exciting action happening, until the referee awarded a penalty for Trondheim and an alert fly half, seeing the retiring players with their backs turned, took a quick penalty and made a break into a two-on-one, which saw the Trondheim flanker under the posts for their second try. This conversion was also missed, taking the score to 10-10, which is how the game finished.


Team:                                                                         Replacements:

  1. LH(Pol) Scott                                                
  2. LAC Finch                                                      SLt Stones
  3. LET(ME) Burn                                               AB(WS) Hubberstey
  4. LS(UW) Weedon                                           ETME Dower
  5. LS(UW) Last                                                  ETME Shepherd
  6. LS(UW) Borman                                            CS Bagen
  7. Lt Looze RN                                                   POET(ME) Rose
  8. LET(WE) Acott                                              POET(CIS) Abernathy
  9. LS(UW) Lee                                                   LS(AWW) Somerville
  10. LCS Smith                                                     SLt Lyness RN
  11. LET(ME) Billing                                             MA Lawrence
  12. LET(WE) Fincham                                        POSC Bainitabua
  13. LS(AWT) Gallagher                                       CS Sargent
  14. ETME Cathro                                                 Wtr Fell
  15. LET(ME) Cueto