The end of September saw the return of the annual Inter Regional Tournament take place at HMS Temeraire. With entries from six teams, a two league format was introduced, maximising game time for all teams.
The Royal Marines finished top of league 1 winning both games convincingly and progressing to the semi final where they defeated Eastern Region. Similarly, Western Region, in league 2, also gained 6 points in qualifying and beat Fleet Air Arm in the semi final. With both teams reaching the final undefeated this was shaping up to be a close, exciting match.
A high energy start to the final saw the RM secure a goal after 12mins, only for it to be ruled out for a foul on Western Region’s ‘keeper. Both teams continued to battle but at 34 mins the RM had a player dismissed for serious foul play, leaving them fighting with 10 men. As half time neared opportunities presented themselves to both teams but solid defending denied any score.
The second half started in similar fashion to the first half, with high energy and Western Region keen to put their one man advantage to use. The breakthrough came at the 75 minute mark when LPT Bricknell of Western Region picked up the ball 35 yards out and made a superb run towards the RM penalty area, sending the defender the wrong way and placing a right footed shot into the top right hand corner of the net. 1-0 Western Region.
The advantage wasn’t held for long, however, and at 83 mins a penalty was awarded to the RM after a hand ball in the opposition box. MNE McKecknie stepped up and powered the ball straight down the middle to score, the teams were back on equal terms.
5 mins before the final whistle, another blow came to the RM when they had another player dismissed for foul play, leaving them facing extra time with a two man disadvantage.
Western Region kicked off the first half of extra time and after 12 minutes LH Hird was fouled inside the area with the referee awarding Western Region a penalty. LPT Bell stepped up to the spot, blasting the ball into the bottom left hand corner, the RM ‘keeper went the right way but was unable to stop the power of the strike. Half time 2-1 to WR.
The RM kicked off the 2nd half and after only 5 minutes Western Region’s LH Isted ran cushioned the ball inside his own half, travelling into the opposition’s penalty area and unselfishly laying it back to teammate LPT Bricknell who slid the ball past the ‘keeper. 3-1 to Western Region.
With 5 mins to go the tiredness was evident, however the RM, with a two man disadvantage, kept battling and after 10 mins CPL Roberts got one back for the RM. 3-2.
Nearing the final whistle, in the last minute, the RM managed to hit the back of the net again but saw it ruled offside. FT 3-2.
A very exciting and eventful match for all watching with the RM matching Western Region’s fitness, despite being two men down, however the extra men playing advantage eventually proved too much and Western Region lifted the Trinity cup with LPT Bricknell named Man of the Match.
A big thank you to all the officials who were outstanding, and to all the staff who made it possible and in particular, the sponsors of the cup - Trinity Insurance Services. Managing director of Trinity, Mark Austin presented the cup to Western Region, who announced that they will continue to sponsor the Inter Regional tournament until 2019-20 season, Mark added that he hopes the relationship with the RNFA continues to be strong and mutually beneficial.