Marines and Paras ready for Trafalgar Cup battle
By Kirsty Saynor
The 2014 Trafalgar Cup, played between the Royal Marines Rugby League (RMRL) and the Parachute Regiment, takes place on Thursday July 17 at Hyde Park, the home of Taunton Titans RFC.
The cup, played in years when military commitments allow, was first contested in 1998 and the Royal Marines are currently 6-5 up in the series despite the Parachute Regiment claiming an 18-22 victory last season at Colchester Garrison.
The Marines will be looking to restore the trend in their favour after having had a solid season so far, enjoying steady improvement throughout.
The squad has recently returned from a successful tour to Sydney, Australia, where they played three games in eight days, winning the final game versus a NSW Tertiary Select XIII comprising of university student Rugby League players.
Prior to Sydney, the Marines retained the Courage Cup with a convincing 42-6 victory over the RAF Regiment at RAF Honington and contested credible draws against the Royal Artillery (26-26) and Fleet Air Arm (22-22).
Marines Team Manager Colour Sergeant Ben Mardle said: “This game is the highlight of our season. The tour to Australia was all to help build up to this game and there is always a friendly rivalry between us and the Parachute Regiment.
“Getting any opportunity to play in big games is so important to us. Obviously the lads have many other commitments and it’s only a short season so to play in games like this is not just good for the Marines as a whole but for each individual player and their development.
“Some of the lads are Rugby League players but others are rugby union converts so they get a chance to test their skills. It’s pressure but it’s at home and hopefully we will get a decent crowd so it should be a good day. It’s the last fixture and the pinnacle of our season.
“We’ve had a really strong season so far and played in some harder fixtures than normal, the tour in Australia was against military and civilian teams so it was of a very high standard but we did well. As long as we keep doing the things we have practised we are confident of winning the Trafalgar Cup back for the Royal Marines.”
Gates will open on the day at 5.00pm, with the match ball and trophy being delivered via helicopter by Go Commando mascot Colonel Kev Ted prior to kick off at 6.00pm followed by the presentation of the cup and post-match reception.
Entry is free to all and the RMRL would like to see a big show of support for what is a highlight of their calendar.
The game will be played at Taunton Titans RFC, Hyde Park, Hyde Lane, Taunton, TA2 8BU.