ARMY WINS INTER-SERVICES OPENER
The Army has won the opening game of this season's Inter-Services Rugby League Championship after beating the Royal Navy 36-16.
The home side ran in six converted tries to see off the defending champions in Aldershot.
They wasted little time in taking the lead against the Navy. Having camped themselves deep into Senior Service territory James Farrell latched onto Matthew Scott's neat grubber to dot down for a converted try after just two minutes.
However, the defending champions soon hit back. With ten minutes gone Luke Cooper displayed top timing and skill to pluck Sean Casey's aerial kick to ground the ball in the corner for an unconverted score.
The Senior Service were enjoying their best spell of the match and the experienced Daz Bamford outwitted and then outmuscled his opposite number as the Dark Blues moved 8 points to 6 in front.
Ill-discipline looked as though it was going to undermine the Army's attempts to get back into the match.
Michael Hoyle was sin-binned when he lead with the arm on the Navy's Jamie Birdsall. Hoyle headed to the stand to cool down for ten minutes.
A man down and tow points adrift the home side rallied. Declan Baines scooted in for the Army's second converted try and took a 12-8 lead.
They added to their advantage just before the break as Jordan Kerman crashed over for a third converted score to move 18-8 up.
The second half saw the men in red take control of the contest. Jamie Laing grounded the ball before it went out of play for another converted try.
The Army continued to inflict pain on their opponents. Even the bounce of the ball was going their way. Farrell picked up on a ricochet before feeding to Baines to go under the posts for try number five.
The home side saved their best for last. A beautifully weighted miss pass from Kieron Roche found Laing who in turn popped the ball to Uria Naulusala to canter in and conclude the Army's try scoring.
Roche was on target once more to claim his sixth conversion of the night as the army moved 36-8 in front and took a huge step towards winning their first Inter-Services title since 2013.
Last season the Navy were crowned champions thanks to points difference so the two late tries they scored will give them some hope. Fullback Sean Houghton cut through the red wall to dive home.
The Navy fullback was involved in the final try too. Houghton's hit on Danny Tooth saw the Army man cough up the ball and with the Dark Blues on the front foot John Clay was on hand to take full advantage.
However, with the final score 36-16 to the Army, they face the Air Force at Featherstone next week one win away from the title.
Meanwhile, the Army Women are favourites to win their crown after overwhelming the Navy women.
Amy Robinson collected her own chip and chase to round off the 76-0 rout. Both the men's and the women's titles could be decided later this week.