Bathed in glorious sunshine on a warm Bank Holiday it was again the challenge of the rugby titans to battle for victory in the Babcock Trophy. The trouble was, somebody had not quite read the script! The Inter Services championship was already decided by the RAF who had managed to beat both the Royal Navy and Army in the preceding weeks! However, although competing for the ’wooden spoon’ in terms of the tri-service competition it did not detract from the sense of occasion and a capacity crowd in tremendous form to witness a fabulous Twickenham fixture even though the smug delight of RAF attendees was palpable!
This was the 101st such encounter for what must be considered the premier event of the Armed Forces sporting calendar. Gazing down from the upper south stand provided that birds-eye view of the match which ebbed and flowed and saw the Royal Navy take an early lead. But then facing a sending off, it was the Army that crept ahead and finally stormed to a 22-14 victory, with the man of the match, Pte Junior Bulumakau scoring both the Army’s tries.
So congratulations to the RAF for their glory and for the Army lifting the Babcock Trophy but this of course was also another Team Ethos spectacular event in which 430 sponsors, hosts, family and friends packed the hospitality suites for a fantastic and memorable event. It provided a great day out for all with a reception, lunch, tea and of course not forgetting the match! A resounding success on many counts; a wonderful and magical social atmosphere, a cracking game and all under clear blue skies. A truly unseasonable scorcher!
Two early Jon Humphrey penalties gave the Navy the lead before Matavesi saw red for a head butt. But three quick-fire first-half tries from Chris Leathem, Junior Bulumakau and Jamie Miller quickly handed Army the lead. James Dixon converted a penalty at the start of the second half but Ratu Vakalutukali flew over for the Navy to ensure a nervy end to the game. The win is the Army’s 62nd in the Army vs Navy game and means the Navy still have not won the Babcock Trophy since 2010. Read the in-depth report of the match action here.