Royal Navy Stun RAF To Take Dog Watch Trophy

The Royal Navy's rugby league stars have produced a stunning victory over last season's inter-services champions, the RAF...

The Royal Navy's rugby league stars have produced a stunning victory over last season's inter-services champions, the RAF.

They won 30-10 at Stanningley in West Yorkshire to claim the first inter-services match of the campaign, as well as the 'Dog Watch' Trophy.

It's a competition that never fails to impress, and the RAF got the best possible start in their home fixture.

Exciting winger Juit Tupua finished off a flowing move to give them an early 4-0 lead.

Royal Navy vs RAF rugby league

But the 'band of brothers', as the Royal Navy are known, were soon back in the game after inspirational stand off Darren Bamford finished a move that would bring them level at 4-4.

Tupua soon struck again though, this time picking up loose pass before showing the Navy a clean pair of heels and racing to score under the posts. Ryan Matthews duly converted.

The Navy's Josh Coupland then emphasised the old adage about never giving up a lost cause. Picking up a bouncing ball, he kept going to score an unlikely try - and with Bamford converting it was 10-10.

The Navy took the lead for the first time just before the break, after Bamford initiated some lovely passing which set full back Mike Haldenby free for a try. Bamford again converted.

Royal Navy vs RAF rugby league

After the break the Navy took control, extending their lead through Ryan Matthews. Jamie Birdsall then capitalised on an air force catastrophe at the back to make it 24-10.

The icing on the cake was the last attack. A delightful grubber kick from Bamford set up the move, with Coupland adding a second try and Bamford yet again successful with the boot. Cue the senior service celebrations.

The Navy's Chief Petty Officer Kev Botwood, who comes from Stanningley, said:

"We've had quite a lot of recent success and last year [losing out to the RAF] was a bit of a bitter pill to swallow... It's been our lads' motivation for the last 12 months."

Senior Service captain Leading Air Engineer Technician Ben Taylor said:

"They've got some talented lads - but so have we. I think we've shown that today. It's great to get a win over them... we're getting that [inter-services] title back." 

Elsewhere a first women's inter services match for three years produced an excellent contest.

Royal Navy vs RAF women's rugby league

The RAF had to turn round a 10-0 deficit to hit back and beat the Navy 16-10, with Kalie Cohen among the scorers.

The academy game also ended in an RAF win, meanwhile - the final score 38-18.

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