Ray Makes History After Royal Navy Bow
March 23, 2022
Prop Jack Ray made history recently by becoming the first Cornwall RLFC player to gain representative honours playing forces rugby league.
The former Castleford Tigers academy graduate, who joined the Choughs last month, donned the colours of the Royal Navy in their 48-0 win against London Chargers.
The friendly, which took place at the Victory Stadium, Portsmouth, is part of a series of warm-up matches that the Navy will play to prepare the side, coached by Steve Lockton, for September’s Inter Service games.
With the Navy enjoying a brilliant run in the Betfred Challenge Cup before a fourth round exit at the hands of Championship outfit Batley Bulldogs, Lockton opted to hand 11 players their debuts in a much-changed side to that which lost at Mount Pleasant.
With regular skippered Ben Taylor absent, the Navy were captained by Danny Johnson, who was joined in the front row by Cornwall’s Ray.
Under glorious spring skies and in the shadow of Portsmouth’s famous Spinnaker Tower, the Navy scored the first of their 10 tries early in the piece through winger Nimilote Nabure.
Although spirited throughout, the Chargers were forced to defend their line for long periods in the opening 40 minutes and the visitors’ defensive rear guard was breached again shortly after Nabure’s opener by Sean Houghton.
Further Navy tries arrived through Jack Bartlett, Eden Quantock and Joey Sugden with Houghton adding two sets of extras. Then, five minutes shy of the half time hooter, Ray powered through the Chargers’ line to cross under the posts to cap an impressive debut with a first Navy try. Houghton knocked over a regulation goal and at the break, the Navy led 30-0.
The one-way traffic continued after the turnaround with Danny Dainty finishing off a fine move which was started by Kini Dakuliga deep in his own half. Another four-pointer stretched the Navy lead but the Chargers then had a spell of pressure which the hosts did well to weather as they looked to keep the London outfit out.
The Navy defence held firm and with both sides emptying their collective interchange benches, two more home tries were scored as time ticked down. Firstly loose forward Charlie Mattison matched Ray’s efforts with a debut try before the gloss was put on an impressive Navy showing when Dakuliga became the 10th Brother to cross the Chargers’ whitewash.
Navy: Dainty, Nabure, Sugden, Bartlett, Coupland, Steinberg, Houghton, Johnson, Tilley, Ray (Cornwall RLFC), Sims, Quantock, Mattison. Interchange: Tuinabunawa, Cross, Bertman, Dakuilga, Hutchinson, Hannah, Leighton.