It was a very long and hot Wednesday for the Warriors. First as many as possible met over in Parc y Scarlets where the very nice Rupert Moon had arranged for us to get some kit from the Scarlets following the Warriors being stolen.
With the kit then in boxes and carrier bags it was over to New Dock to meet the rest of the boys for the game. Initally it looked as though we might struggle in certain positions but at least we had Paker's faithfull promise to play a full game. As time went on more & more (and more) players turned up.... luckily Neil was happy to only play a few minutes.
Anyway a sarting XV was chosen and duly kicked off:
The Warriors was established 14 years ago to help give players with learning difficulties the chance to experience rugby and this was certainly an experience to remember.
Having started the evening by being presented with a new kit from the Scarlets the team crossed the road to New Dock to face a team from the Royal Marines.
Currently based in Swansea between tours the Marines were looking to raise money for ‘Help for Heroes’ and the Warriors were very happy to oblige. Containing a strong Fijian presence, it was no surprise to find they wanted to play running rugby and keep the large crowd very entertained.
A record number of 39 players turned up for the Warriors and at times they could have done with them all on the field as the Marines cut loose from the off.
There was no shirking from the Warriors though with; Darren Pollitt, Simon Delaney and Nathan Lawson all getting stuck in. They managed to frustrate the Marines with some strong tackling but eventually they got away for a try after some 15 minutes of almost non stop attack.
Both sides played a full part in the game and when they had the ball the Warriors were also happy to attack. Sion Bennett made an impressive debut at 10 and they looked to have the defence stretched on occasion but the Marines cover defending was excellent throughout. The Warriors found it hard to get on the front foot as they struggled at the breakdown against bigger opposition and consequently tended to have poor ball. David Carpenter and Martin Pegler made some nice runs but it was all against the run of play.
After a slow start the Marines scored at regular intervals. John Hudson led the way with a brace of tries while local boys Andy Thomas and Ian John finished sweeping movements. The handling and pace of the backs was a feature of the game with Josefa Lauvanua and Amani Navonu prominent. The Warriors managed a little respite when Matthew Kirkham scored just before half time.
In such an open game there was plenty of skill to admire from both sides although it was inevitably the attacking skills for the Marines such as Richard Rodgers and Veresia Valemei and the defensive qualities of Ricky Lelli and Robert Hughes for the Warriors. One sweeping Warriors move had the crowd on their feet as the ball went left and right through several phases, Roger Thomas showing good hands to keep in going and Jason Bennett running strongly, but frustratingly, having made some 60 yards they again conceded a turnover and the Marines quickly countered to score at the other end. Matt Drummond scored the Marines 10th try as the game entered the final quarter but the sportsmanship which prevailed throughout a tough game of rugby was evident when Eric Horridge and Harold Rounds swopped teams. Horrigde won some quality line out ball but Rounds made the bigger impact when he sieved through his team mates to score.
Simon Jenkins then had a personal golden spell for the Warriors, converting Rounds try, scoring himself with a strong run and converting that to secure the Warriors Man of the Match award.
The pace and quality of the game (played in scorching heat) was a testament to both sides but more importantly hundreds of pounds were raised for ‘Help for Heroes’ and it is hoped this will become an annual fixture.
Warriors: Anthony Randal, Joshua Crowther, Neil Parker, Lee Rowlands, Richard Evans, Sion Bennet, Dean Gilasbey, Colin Talcon, Eric Horridge, Simon Delaney, Jonathan Kerr (cpt), John Horwood, Gwilym Lewis, Simon Jenkins, Matthew Kirkham.
Subs (ALL played): Nathan Lawson (prop), Martin Pegler (centre), Richard Pegler (15), Simon Jones (9), Andrew Pegler (Centre), Darren Pollitt (2nd row), Luke Messagario (6), Chris Morris (wing), Roger Thomas (2nd row), Mathew Jones (center), Sion Thomas (wing), James Dew (prop), Jason Bennett (prop), Robert Hughes (2nd row), William Brown (2nd row), Liam Carpenter (wing), David Carpenter (wing), Ricky Lelli (prop), Adriwn Williams (prop), Huw Jenkins (prop), John West (2nd row), Martin Evans (centre) Harold Rounds (8), Rodderick Vilsoni(9)
Royal Marines Logistics (with own notes): Paul Sorby (10), Amani Navonu, Josefa Lauvanua, Matty Mattetani, Harold Rounds, Versia Valemei
Dominic Maton, Smudger Smith, Jinxy (2 brilliant conversions), Wllzy concussed), John Hudson (2 tries), Penny Lane (hoofing flanker - 6), Matty Drummond (1 try of the game), Kevin (fatboy) Lewis (12 min sub), Andy (Tomo) Thomas) (1 try 80 meter sprint), Ian (Taff) John (1 try), Richie Rogers, Raza, Roders Vilsoni, Rick Jeffery (dropped ball), Eric Horridge (Warriors guest star/2nd row)
It was a cracking match and which the (very)large crowd enjoyed. Some of the Marines didn't realise the nature of the Warriors team but even once they had it made very little difference. They paid the Warriors the compliment of going full out for the result and although the match was played in a good spirit it was pretty hard with some big hits going in. Liam Carpenter was on the end of a spectacular hit that had the crowd on its feet (especially those who had to move out of the way), and Darren 'Polly' took a kick ahead only to be engulfed in a sea of blue and green.
Just to round off the Commandos faced a New Dock XV the next day and there was plenty of Warriors interest. For the home team Juice, Rob Hughes and John West all featued whilst for the Mariens Harold Rounds was back in his usual colors and Gwilym managed to scav a game and join him. Unlike the Warriors game the weather was rough and the marines also struggled in the live scrums where they had very (very) inexprienced players. despite this they ran out convincing winners (I think) 34 - 12 which throws the Warriors result into a quite good light.