Another return for Royal Navy Rugby League with Origin XVIII match

After a break of 2 years Origin was back with a return to Petersfield RFC for this year’s contest. A great win on his debut as Coach for Darren Bamford as his side led by skipper Danny Johnson took the Origin trophy.

39 players were named across the two squads with only about 25% having played in previous Origin fixtures with coaches Darren Bamford for the Blues and Silivenuisi ‘B’ Buinimasi for the Maroons taking charge for the first time.

Referee Dennis Nowell from UKAF Refs Society, no stranger to the intensity of this fixture got the game underway and soon had his hands full as the big hits came in from the minute 1 and continued throughout the match. The first score went to the Blues after 15 minutes, hooker Tyler Leighton crossing left of the posts, converted by Callum Cone 6:0.

The action was unrelenting with the sides exchanging scores throughout the first half, the Maroons tied the game up, 2nd row Nathan Lee marked his last game in the service with a well taken try converted by Jack Cone 6:6. The Blues went ahead almost from the kick off as the Wests failed to deal with the restart, the ball bouncing awkwardly giving left wing Nathan Nunes an easy touch down, no conversion this time but the Blues had their noses in front again 10:6.

The game continued at a ferocious pace with the Maroons posting the next score, Fergie Donaldson gathering a loose ball touching down and with another Jack Cone conversion the Wests had the lead as half time approached 10:12. The Blues had the last word for the half though  Jack Bartlett pouncing on a neat grubber kick, Callum Cone made no mistake to give his side a 16:12 lead at the break. A breathless full on physical encounter, if not technically perfect, provided great entertainment for the spectators in the stand.

The second half was underway for barely 3 minutes when Joe O’Hanlon finished well out wide to the Blues left extending his sides lead to 20:12. Despite the missed conversion this early score seemed to knock the Wests back and although they competed well, they couldn’t manage to get back on terms.

As the match approached on the final quarter probably the crucial score came for the Blues, a couple of back-to-back penalty’s got them close in, hooker Leighton finishing off the move to bag his second of the night, an excellent conversion from Callum Cone saw his side go out to a 26:12 lead. The Wests continued to fight to get back on terms but it was not to be, the Blues defended well keeping the opposition from scoring.

The final score of the night was arguably the best of the lot, Blues hooker Leighton put a beautifully weighted kick to the corner, Easts wing Roko Kurusassa won the aerial battle and scooted round almost behind the posts to make Cones conversion straight forward 32:12. That was it for the scoring and Ref Nowell’s whistle brought a bruising physical but thrilling match to an end, the Blues retaining the trophy to make it 13 wins to 5 in the Origin fixtures.

Blues skipper Danny Johnson was presented with the Origin Trophy by Mr Richard Powell from Origin sponsors QinetiQ.