As You Were: More Inter-Services Hockey Success For RAF & Army

The RAF men and Army women have retained their Inter-Services Outdoor hockey titles on a goal-packed day of action in Aldershot...

The RAF men and Army women have retained their Inter-Services Outdoor hockey titles on a goal-packed day of action in Aldershot.

In the women's competition, the Army kicked things off by showing they had no intention of giving up their title with an emphatic 5-2 win over the RAF.

The airwomen quickly put that disappointment behind them against the Royal Navy, however.

Inter-Services outdoor hockey 2018

They were 4-0 up by half-time and continued their onslaught after the interval.

Soon after the break, Senior Aircraftwoman Katie Vickers made it five and she then scored another to complete a 6-0 drubbing.

She told Forces Network she was pleased with the way the team lifted themselves:

"Last season was a big improvement, this season's another really good improvement.

"We're really looking to move forward... It's about time we got what we deserved."

The RAF players were left hoping the Navy women would produce a great result out of the bag and they defended really well against the Army, who controlled the match without dominating their opponents.

Heidi Devy, though, broke the Navy resolve with the first goal.

Then Amanda Potgeiter added a second midway through the first half.

The Navy had done well to keep it at 2-0 at the break but the second half was a different story.

The Army pulled away as Sharon Stones made it 3-0 before the Navy's Rachel Clarke pulled one back.

But Army skipper Major Cheryl Valentine quickly added a fourth from a penalty and there were three more Army strikes from Shelly Hodgson and two more from Heidi Devy to complete a 7-1 win and ensure they kept their title. Maj Valentine said:

"We've got an awful lot of experience and talent in the team and I think teams will always struggle to cope with that over 70 minutes."

"They can keep us out for a bit but I think our ability will come through in the end and that's what we hope for, so we're happy."

In the senior men's competition the RAF, who had outgunned the Army 8-2 on day one, were without star player Liam Sanford, who is on England duty in Malaysia.

The Navy sensed a chance to stake their claim and put everything into their challenge.

With Scottish over-35 international Al Guick, Welsh equivalent Dan Makaruk and Rich Jenkin, they were more than competitive against the Army.

They were 2-0 before half-time up from short corners thanks to Jenkin and George Cave, dominating the first half.

But the Army hit back after the break with goals from Tom Goodwin and John Hamilton to level the match.

Then, with moments left, the Navy's John Hamilton smashed the ball into the net to give them a 3-2 win. Their captain, Aircraft Engineering Technician Vince Richardson, said:

"We always knew after yesterday, the defeat that they had, that they were going to come out strong, so we put in a big effort in the first half.

"We knew they would always come back at us but we knew with our fitness and determination we could get through again. The late goal at the end was what we deserved, really." 

The RAF then ruthlessly set about their Senior Service opponents. They were three up after 10 minutes, Andrew Siemann notching the first from a penalty strike, Luke Beddoes adding the second from a short corner and Scott Perry adding another from a penalty corner.

But the Navy kept at it and scored probably the best individual goal of the tournament, with Rich Fisher turning on a sixpence to fire home.

Just before half-time, the RAF added a fourth from David Brogden and after the break the Navy really went for it, replacing their goalkeeper Greg Turner with another outfield player.

Royal Marine Al Guik assumed keeping responsibilities and made a string of great saves. But, eventually, he was beaten from the spot by Siemann.

Inter-Services outdoor hockey 2018

The floodgates then opened and another three goals were added to make it 8-1.

It's a third successive title for the RAF - and without Liam Sanford.

Elsewhere there was success for the Army Masters, the RAF women's masters, and also an Inter-Services crown for the RAF Under 25s.

They drew 1-1 with the Army before beating the Navy 3-2 in the decider, showing the strength in depth the light blues have in this sport.

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