Royal Navy sailors from a South West warship, fresh from a major illegal drugs haul operation, took part in the First World War memorial rugby match to raise money for charity.
HMS Somerset’s rugby team took part in the 2nd Alfred Cox Cup, playing against Ide RFC raise money for the Royal British Legion and remember those that died in the First World War.
Ide RFC reformed last year, more than 100 years since they last played, to raise money for the Royal British Legion. The Ide team’s shirts bear the names of those players who died in battle and some of today’s players have a direct link to the 1907/08 team.
The Alfred Cox Cup, is named after Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer Alfred Cox who was one of the original Ide RFC players who died in the First World War.
Although the conditions were far from the early summer evening that all had hoped for, the wind and showers did little to dampen the spirit of the players who in finest Naval tradition gave their all in the face of a strong and well-drilled opposition.
The contest played by an inexperienced HMS Somerset team, from the Plymouth-based ship which recently taken part in the largest seizure of illegal drugs in UK history, was hard fought but good humoured with the final score thankfully being very much secondary to raising money, awareness and rekindling old relations.
Leading Seaman Evans, 29, said: “No one dropped their head at any point and we were even level at one stage, but what really matters is that we raised some money for charity.”
He added: “Seeing the names of the old players who died on the shirt really made you think. I hope this game continues for many years.”
Ide RFC, originally from the village of Ide, disbanded after only two seasons in 1908 however after a photo of the team was spotted in a pub inspired its reformation as a Barbarians team where players from across the region are invited to play and willingly offer their services. The club president, Nigel Gooding said the aim of the matches was to provide a lasting memorial to those rugby-playing servicemen that died and to raise money for the Royal British Legion.
The club looks forward to going from strength to strength next season with more games across the region and the Just Giving site https://www.justgiving.com/iderfc/ (copy & paste link) will remain open throughout for people to show their support.
Meanwhile HMS Somerset, the West Country’s warship is undergoing a period of maintenance in her HM naval Base Devonport, before returning to UK security patrols later in the month.