Royal Navy Rugby League are Inter-Service Champions... Again!

Storyline: Rugby League

Three top-quality matches filled with incident, emotion and some fantastic Rugby League brought this year’s Inter-Services to an end, with both RN Men’s teams triumphant, retaining their respective titles.

Added to the team honours, RN Seniors hooker James Tilley received the Scott Stevenson Player Of The Series trophy, matching that current Head Coach Darren Bamford won last season, double treble success for the RN Men.

The RN Women's team put on an excellent 2nd half-performance against the RAF, highlighting the Wrenegade's development and progression under coach Matt Bayliss.

On the day, though, the RN side came up just short against their RAF Counterparts, a last-minute score for the RAF flattering them with a 26:14 victory. 

Post-match, the Wrenegade’s said goodbye to stand-off Emma Swinton, who has (finally) retired from Rugby League. ‘Swinners’ has the honour of not only being one of the original 2008 Wrenegades, but she was the first ever RN try scorer in the Women's IS against – yes, you guessed it, the RAF.

We also said goodbye to Wrenegade’s Team Manager CJ Kane, who is leaving the post, hopefully temporarily, after seven years both as a player and team Manager. Good luck to both, and thank you for your contribution to the Wrenegade’s cause.

The Academy fixture opened the day’s proceedings, and to be fair, the RN looked in control throughout the game.

Coach Adam Birkett’s Academy Brothers backed up a superb performance against the Army with another dominant display against the RAF to win 30-10.

A physical encounter boiled over on a couple of occasions, but led by skipper Luke Warrington, the RN hit steady scores throughout the game to keep them well ahead. 

A well-deserved win on the day confirmed the RN Academy as IS winner for the second year. To round off a great Academy Day, 2nd Row, Jonny Stoppard was awarded Player Of the Match for a powerful and committed performance.

The day's final contest was the Seniors fixture, playing for the ‘Dog Watch’ trophy and the Babcock Cup.

Despite losing to the Army in Round 2, the RAF could still have a big say in the destination of this year's IS title, so it was all on at kick-off. RNRL was down by four after only 8 minutes against a physical RAF side. It was not until the 25th minute that the RN returned on terms after a no-hold-barred RL with the defences on top.

Ben Chambers equalised for the RN, which was followed barely 5 minutes later, and the RN were in front 10:4. Back came the RAF to level up the scores at 10:10. That was the halftime score, an excellent watch for the neutrals but very tense for the respective teams’ supporters. 

RN moved ahead after the break to lead 16:10 and then spent almost 15 minutes in the opposition half, building pressure on the RAF line. Almost inevitably, this pressure led to a flashpoint, which saw a player from each side being shown a red card. 

Another Ben Chambers try and conversion with 15 minutes left eased the RN out to 22-10, and they were looking comfortable with 10 minutes left. Almost unbelievably, the RAF returned with a converted try to close the gap to 22:16. However, the Brothers rallied and kept the RAF at Bay until full-time to take the IS Seniors Title for the second consecutive year.

That brings the season to a close and what a season it has been. Congratulations to all involved, Coaches, backroom staff, Exec Committee and especially the players!