Sappers Take Coveted Woolwich Cup With Win Over Gunners

The rugby league season is well underway and that means league action for the Army corps teams...

The rugby league season is well underway and that means league action for the Army corps teams.

In the second round of the Lawson cup, an age-old rivalry was played out at Gibraltar Barracks as the Royal Engineers took on the Royal Artillery.

The Sappers versus the Gunners is always a fierce fight whatever the sport but it was the engineers that completely dominated the first half, scoring four tries to one.

Taking advantage of an early penalty turnover, the Sappers worked their way towards the line and Gavin Nichol got things going just three minutes in.  

An artillery knock-on right in front of the posts gifted Andy Ward his first of two tries, with Mike Lynch slotting home the conversion.

A high tackle set off a succession of minor brawls, resulting in a sin-bin for a punch to the head.

At the restart, tempers still flared but after several phases, the engineers wrestled back control.

Ward, seeing the gap, gave the Sappers a 16-point lead, with Lynch the man to convert.

Nichol, the man of the match, was brilliant with ball in hand, something which showed in the lead-up to Ernest Petueli's fourth try, with Lynch again making the kick.

As half-time approached the Gunners had to pull something back.

A quick dart from Tex Vanicagi was converted by Bombardier Sullivan, making it 22-6 to the Sappers at the break.

And it turned out to be a game of two halves. While the engineers had been so dominant in the first, the Royal Artillery flourished in the second. 

First, after some deliberations, it was decided that Prop Westwood got in near the sticks to double their score.  

That was followed by an amazing solo run, a Sapper mistake giving the Gunners the breakaway and their third try.

At 22-18 and with just one score between them a great kick, picked up by Manama Cakau, stretched the engineers lead.

Gunner Marafono made it 28-22 with just three minutes left but after a very even game, it was the Sappers who came out on top.

The Lawson Cup continues but the Woolwich Cup - fought annually between these two teams since 1999 - is once again in engineer hands.