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Ray and Griffiths Help Brothers Defeat Royal Air Force

September 26, 2022

Jack Ray helped the Navy Brothers to victory – Keith Woodland Photography

Front row duo Jack Ray and Jonny Griffiths both starred for the Royal Navy Rugby League side as they defeated their Royal Air Force counterparts 22-12 last Friday.

The match, played at Burnaby Road Portsmouth under the shadow of the Spinnaker Tower, saw the Navy Brothers make a winning return to Inter-Services competition. The victors also claimed the much-coveted Dog Watch Trophy.

With Ray and Griffiths named as starting props, it was the Navy who took an early lead when Kini Dakuliga crossed the whitewash after James Tilley pounced on a loose ball and shipped play to Darren Bamford. He fed Gavin Duffy who in turn found Dakuliga who broke the deadlock.

Bamford found his range from the tee straight away and the Brothers were 6-0 ahead.

The next passages of play in a keenly contested affair saw no quarter given by either side with the next points not arriving until the 25th minute.

Second row Brodie Lee Butler broke through the Air Force defence up the middle and he found Brothers’ skipper Ben Taylor who powered towards the try line but was held up. From the next play, Bamford suffered a similar fate but Tilley’s quick play-the-ball saw the Brothers’ hooker burrow over from dummy-half.

Jonny Griffiths in action for the Royal Navy – Keith Woodland Photography

Bamford struck the woodwork with the conversion but the Navy would hold a 10-0 lead going into the turnaround.

The Air Force came out in determined mood for the second stanza but the Navy repelled everything that was thrown their way. The Navy’s strong rearguard then paved the way for a third try – a real team effort with Butler and Dakuliga involved as Duffy finished well for an unconverted try.

The game was seemingly put to bed by the Brothers when they scored again as Tilley grabbed his second of the match to cap an impressive showing personally and Bamford knocked over a routine extra two points from bang in front. 

And with time ticking down, Bamford slotted over another two points from fully 40 metres out after the Air Force had infringed at the ruck.

But credit to the Air Force, who never raised the white flag and scored two converted tries in the final five minutes. Firstly full back Kieron Prescott went over and Elliott Kerry converted before centre Juite Tupua doubled the Air Force tally.

Kerry knocked over his second goal from as many attempts and despite the Air Force’s valiant late showing, the Brothers had sewn the game up long before any comeback was launched. 

Navy: Houghton, Dukuliga, Duffy, Bartlett, Haldenby, Bamford, Joel, Ray, Tilley, Griffiths, Lee Butler, Holland, Taylor. Interchange: Mattinson, McKenna, Dainty, Quantock, Mattison.