Narrow Win Puts Army In Pole Position For Inter-Services Title

The Army's rugby league stars have taken a big step towards victory in the 2017 inter-services competition...

The Army's rugby league stars have taken a big step towards victory in the 2017 inter-services competition, after narrowly beating the Royal Navy 14-12.

It means their Friday encounter with the RAF in Aldershot has become the tournament decider.

The match between old rivals the Army and the Navy, played for the Jack Harrison VC Memorial trophy, was one Captain Harrison would have been proud to play in.

It also had special significance as a minute's silence was held to commemorate the centenary of the death of the Hull winger, who was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross during the First World War for being killed while protecting his men.

Army vs Navy inter-services rugby league

The action in Portsmouth saw the Navy, who'd seen off the RAF 30-10 in the opening fixture of the season, start strongly.

A brilliant solo try from captain Ben Taylor giving them an early lead.

But the Army were quickly back in the hunt. Matt Scott opened up the Navy's defence for Jamie Laing to drive for the line and feed Marcus Mercer to level it.

Army vs Navy inter-services rugby league

Micky Hoyle added the conversion - and it would be his boot that would prove to be the key to Army success as he added two further penalties before half time.

The Navy responding with a second try. Some quick thinking from Mark Robinson allowed him to dive for the line.

After the break they continued to batter the Army, who defended brilliantly, but the Senior Service kept giving away penalties.

Hoyle punished them with two successful scores, to help his side to a 14-8 lead.

Army vs Navy inter-services rugby league

No matter how hard the Navy knocked on the door the Army wouldn't yield - until the very last gasp, when Roko Kurusasa finally crossed for their third try.

Daz Bamford would have levelled the scores, but he couldn't complete the conversion.

The 14-12 score was a delight for the Army though, who also won the women's and academy matches to complete a clean sweep - leaving the Navy shattered.

Royal Navy captain, Leading Air Engineer Technician Ben Taylor, said: 

"I think there was space out there, we just struggled to find it."

"We'd have liked to put it [the tournament] to bed tonight but... we'll be watching that [the Army's game with the RAF] with keen interest next week," he added.

Army head coach Warrant Officer Class 2 Ben Taylor said: "If you'd said to me would I take a two-point win tonight, I'd have said yes.

"I'm happy with the win", he added.

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