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Royal Navy Sporting Success

Inter-Services Canoe Polo Championships
Inter-Services Canoe Polo Championships

Exchanging their larger ships for kayaks the Royal Navy extended their dominance of the waters to include HMS Temeraire swimming pool over the weekend of 17th/18th Nov as they won the Inter-Services Canoe Polo Championships.

Teams from all three services and from the MoD descended on Portsmouth for 48 hours of “belle ad mare”.  Competition was fierce and relentless; however, some resolute performances from the Navy ensured that the results were falling in their favour.

Whilst the RAF had tried putting all their best players in their A team, the Army had been more tactical and spread their talent throughout both A and B teams.  This meant that the first real test of the RN A team came against the Army B towards the end of the first day’s play.  The game was hard fought but a convincing victory by the RN set the scene for the competition.  The RN B team taking on the Army A team immediately followed this; a heated game ensued but slowly the RN B broke the Army dominance of the game.  Emboldened by the ground they were making the RN team started to pressure the Army in their own half and pulled the game level at 3-3.  As the seconds ticked away it looked as if a major upset was on the cards, and although the game finished as a draw it was a major victory for the RN teams.

As the second day wore on the RN Ladies team were left facing the RAF Ladies in their last game knowing that a win would clinch the whole Inter-service Championships for the Navy.  The game was intense and arguably the most entertaining of the weekend as the RN edged themselves ahead in the first half.  The second half charge from the Navy was marshalled by Lt Serena Dobson allowing some passionate play from NA Kirsty Moffatt which resulted in a convincing victory and an insurmountable lead in the competition. 

With the Womens’ and Inter-services gold secure it fell to the RN ‘A’ to play the RAF ‘A’ in the final game in order to decide who claimed the mens’ gold.  Being unbeaten for the entire tournament the Navy had the edge in points, with a draw being enough to secure top spot.  The game was played out with fervour but relentless defending from the RAF made it difficult for the Navy to establish a lead.  It came eventually from the arm of PO Andrew Davies with another in the second half from PO Leigh Chapman, RNAS Culdrose, giving the RN a 2-1 lead but with 45 seconds left on the clock the RAF tried one last push into the Navy danger area.  With some aggressive manoeuvring and a little luck the RAF managed an equaliser leaving no time for a RN response. 

Presenting the prizes Colonel D Hook Royal Marines, Deputy Commander 3 Commando Brigade said, “After a hard fought competition I was delighted to see both the RN Women’s and Men’s teams win their respective titles, as well as the Combined Inter-services trophy.  The Navy has dominated this event for the last 15 years, in a highly competitive discipline due to the high quality, commitment and dedication of their paddlers.  It is clearly a talented squad but the Navy are always on the look out for new players to build on our competitiveness and strength in depth in all kayaking disciplines.”

After narrowly losing last year the team felt that this weekend righted some wrongs.  The RN top scorer for the competition LA Mark ‘Taff’ Dolan, RNAS Culdrose, upon scoring a penalty, said: “I’ve been living with ghosts for a whole year since I missed a penalty in the last few seconds of the final game which lost the RN last year’s Inter-services.  Now I feel like I can sleep at nights again.”