16-NOV-2019: IRONSIDES BABAS V ROYAL TANK REGIMENT ANNUAL MATCHIronsides Rugby Babas v The Royal Tank Regiment
16th November 2019
Waking on the morning of match-day, there was sunshine and the promise of a perfect autumnal day for one of the most important fixtures in the Ironsides calendar, Ironsides Rugby welcoming The Royal Tank Regiment. By kick off however, the skies had turned grey and the light was flat, DSP sodden from previous days of rain. Sprits were high in both squads and a good level of support boosted by the presence of three Chelsea Pensioners; Sandy Sanders, Ben Corbett and David Hewitt, all former Warrant Officers. What a pleasure to welcome them, not only for the match, but pre match drinks and post match meal with both teams – Thanks must be extended to the boys for agreeing to attend and to those who organised it.
So, with KO fast approaching, both teams making final preparations down on Garratt Green, we were in for another treat with The Royal Tank Regiment Pipes and Drums leading both squads onto the pitch along with the Chelsea Pensioners and a Guard of Honour made up of Ironsides minis. This was immediately followed by a minutes’ silence and with four Veterans playing in the Ironsides team this was a particularly poignant moment.
A fast and physical start from both sides, as expected. 10 minutes in Ironsides scrum 10 metres out, RTR drove us off gaining a penalty. This set the tone for the afternoon with the battle upfront, which continued until the final whistle.
Around the 16 minute mark, a sniping blind side run from Ironsides 9 Mike Crofts, this pressure resulting in line out to Ironsides 5 metres out, swiftly followed by a few good quick phases, Crofts looking industrious, sets centre, Tim Homewood up for the first try of the afternoon, picking a great line and walking in under posts at 18 minutes - Homewood converts his own try, 7-0
It took nearly half an hour before RTR really threatened the Ironsides line. RTR gaining a scrum 8 metres out. 27 minutes, RTR 14 crosses the line but the kick dragged wide. 7-5 to Ironsides.
The majority of the game taking place between the 22’s and arm wrestle continued with the occasional flourish…both teams trying to play on a very sticky DSP.
Ironsides 13 unlucky not to dot down a kick chase on stroke of half time. Just beaten to the ball by RTR defence.
Second half - Early pressure from RTR resulting in a converted try 45 minutes in. RTR 15 who looked threatening all afternoon, crosses the whitewash. 12 -7 to RTR
50 minutes in, Physios where busy, bodies down from both sides as big hits continued.
On the hour mark, scrum to Ironsides 8 metres out. Another sniping run from Crofts followed with a strong pick and drive from No 8, Jonathan Kirwan (JK). Kick dragged wide. 12-12.
67 minutes, RTR score. Converted, 19-12.
The Tankies, lifted by their score, came strongly from the restart and for the next 10 minutes or so applied a lot of pressure, Ironsides ‘D’ held firm. The tables finally turned and Ironsides worked their way to the RTR 22, Ironsides pressure told, a second try from JK. Missed conversion, 19-17 to RTR.
A frenzied final few minutes followed with both sides trying to secure the win…neither side giving way.
FT 19-17 to the Tankies.
Lloyd Bryant, RTR 9 and was the main liaison during the organization of this years game said,
“Thanks boys! Thanks again for an amazing weekend. Even the REME* who are attached to us commented on how brilliant it was. Boys, you have outdone yourselves. Thank you so much! See you next year!”
*Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers
Four Veterans representing Ironsides. L-R
Del Biggs, 31, Lcpl 9 Para, Royal Engineers - Elliot Hennell, 33, Gdsm, Grenadier Guards - Carl Burnett, 40, Gnr, Royal Horse Artillery - Mike Crofts, 33, Capt, The Royal Tank Regiment.
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