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Racketeers triumph

A DOUBLE triumph for the men and women at the Inter-Service Lawn Tennis Championships crowned a cracking

summer for RN sport. Both tennis teams successfully

● Picture of concentration... LLogs Vernon Ralph (815 NAS) propels himself upwards in the pole vault

Picture: SAC Kearney, RAF Cosford Track to the future

THE Royal Navy Track and Field team exceeded expectations in the 2010 Inter-Service championships at RAF Cosford.

The haul of 15 medals was a slight improvement on recent years, with a mix of medallists from perennial achievers and emerging talent, writes Paul Winton. A strong wind benefi tted

jumpers and throwers, but prevent- ed good sprint times and posed a severe challenge for endurance athletes in the fi nal third of each lap.

LS(MW) Andy Dawkins (SRMH Crew 7, currently HMS Ramsey) and CPOPT Neal Edwards (BRNC) have been the top performing Royal Navy athletes at Inter-Service level over the past ten years. Both now qualify as veterans

(over 35) where they are top-three- ranked in UK. Dawkins won the shot putt in a keenly-contested tussle with his regular

Army opposition, after

warming up with a third place in the hammer, later just missing out on another medal in the discus. Edwards fi nished a close second in the 400m hurdles where the RAF victor accepted he was the fortunate recipient of the starter’s discretion to avoid disqualifi cation. As ever, these two athletes set the tone and example for the remainder of the RN team with medal-winning performances in the opening track and fi eld events. The women’s 800m was arguably the most exciting track event of the day.

LPT Julie Stroud (Raleigh) and Lt Emma Bakewell (Sultan) both approached the race with a sequences of excellent results and performances, including personal bests. The entire fi eld were closely matched in a fast-run race; Stroud’s strength and determination carried her to a deserved silver medal. Bakewell engineered fourth place as both women again set PBs and pondered sub-2m 20s timings next year.

ET(ME) Daryn Jackson (Sultan) burst on to the scene this season, setting the best sprint times by a Royal Navy athlete for many years.

Making the most of his natural

ability, he gradually refi ned his raw talent over the season, culminating in bronze medals over both 100m and 200m,

thereby upsetting

the traditional balance with the other two Services as he won the fi rst Royal Navy men’s sprinting medals for over 20 years. Future sea service presents career and sporting challenges, but he has ready capacity to further develop strength, power and technique to realise improved performances in 2011.

LReg Shelly Prescott (Drake)

matched Jackson’s achievement in the women’s sprints as she fi nished 3rd in both, equalling previous placings, albeit not in the same year. AB Kenisha Asquith (Diamond) was close behind in both races.

Surg Lt Gordon Irvine (Sultan) made his debut at this level in his fi nal few weeks of service. Competing in the 3,000m steeplechase, he ran a brave race to fi nish second with a storming sprint fi nish. His long duel battling for third-fourth place reaped dividends as the long-standing, but fast-fading, second-place runner

was caught and passed. Std Sol Marong (FPS) returned to the Royal Navy team after a two-year absence, fi nishing third in the men’s 400m – exactly the same placing and fractionally faster than his last outing at this level. Mne Jim Galvin (42 Cdo) has a strong multi-events background reaching back to his schooldays. While long-term injuries prevent him undertaking some specialist events within a decathlon, he has committed to a wide range of events over the 2010 season. Just missing out on sprint medals,

he won silver and bronze in the high and long jumps respectively with his best performances of the season and was ecstatic with a long jump approaching seven metres. Another double medallist

was Lt Irish Sirmons (Navy Command). A regularly strong performer at British League-level, predominantly in the hammer for which there was no Inter-Service event, she won silver at both women’s discus and shot putt, just missing out on a medal in the javelin.

Ably backed by LLogs Rhian Hanson (SFM Portsmouth), herself a previous Inter-Services multi medallist, the combined performance of these two throwers was the best by RN women for many years. Team spirit was abundant amongst the 15 men and 9 women comprising the Royal Navy team as many covered a number of events. ET(ME) Marcelle John (NBC SFM Portsmouth) exemplifi ed this as she scored points in fi ve individual events and both relays; NA(SE) Nicole Lindo (RNAS Yeovilton) was not far behind – the joyous smile on her face as she registered a legitimate distance in the women’s triple jump was a noted highlight.

LMA Glen Long (CTRM) wore his lucky ‘black Pusser’s socks’ in the long jump,

triple jump and

pole vault, aided by the ever- willing LLogs Vernon Ralph (815 NAS) in the triple jump and pole vault.

Berry (Dauntless), Lt Jon Wright (Triumph),

Distance athletes Lt Ellie CPO(PT) Wayne

Hodkinson (Excellent) and AET Dave Scott (RNAS Yeovilton) confronted strong opposition, their efforts were matched by POAEM Si Parry (RNAS Culdrose) and LAET Phil Palmer (4 Sqn, RAF Wittering) who did so twice each in 800m and 1,500m.

The RN will host the 2011 Inter-Services Track and Field Championships, with real potential for further success if individual and team performances continue to develop.

The RN men fi nished mid-table in the Southern Men’s League Division 3 West (SML 3W) after fi ve matches over the summer. The standard in SML 3W is

lower than Inter-Services level so competition at this level provides an excellent opportunity for a wide range of athletes and age groups to establish and develop athletic performance.

Interested/emerging athletes should make contact with local PT staff or Paul Winton on 9380 23644.

swept away the opposition over the two-day championships and particular praise must be paid to the RN Ladies who unceremoniously dumped the Army and RAF out of the competition by winning 11 of their 12 rubbers to secure the win and break the Army’s dominance since 2007, writes Lt Richie Moss. After the fi rst day’s play the ladies had won all six rubbers. On the second day and after only two matches the competition was over and the title was in the bag by 11am. Men’s tennis is also very much in the ascendency and the team built on last year’s Inter-Services ‘A’ win at Wimbledon and this year’s Inter-Services

‘B’ win in

Aldershot, by successfully retaining the Inter-Services title, a feat never achieved. Indeed, the last time that both men and ladies won at this level was back in 1992. Last year saw the emergence

of a great talent – ET(WESM) Scott Nicholls, so there was huge pressure on him as he faced his fi rst match ever as the RN No.1 but he ably demonstrated his talent.

In his fi rst match against RAF

No.1 (Flt Lt Chris Evans), Scott won easily in two sets despite the fact that Chris was hitting hard on both wings from the baseline. Meanwhile, RN No.3, CPO(PT)

Steve Losh (back from sea and short of match practice) drew upon his wealth of experience to fi nd a way past the Army No.3, Cpl Taff Williams. In Round 2, promoted to the ‘A’ team after his exceptional display at this year’s Inter-Services competition,

ET(ME) Richard

Drew faced a considerable challenge in his fi rst A match: Flt Sgt Mark Lane, a stalwart of RAF tennis who has played this tournament for many years. Despite being 23 years older than Richard, the RAF veteran had vast experience to draw upon and repeatedly found the corners of the court with his forehand and backhand slice.

● A winning forehand from Lt Oliver Craven in a three-set thriller against the RAF in the men’s doubles Picture: Lt Richie Moss

superior agility provided him the means of winning a very close match that had the potential to go either way.

played a superb match against the Army No.1 L/Cpl Lawrence Tere to thoroughly vindicate his position as Singles No.1. Steve Losh faced Flt Lt Jon Bond in his second match. On the big points at the end of the set, it was Steve’s experience (again) that proved to be the deciding factor. Richard Drew faced the Army No.2, Pte Jonny


several years’ experience of Inter Service tennis behind him). To his credit, Richard found a way to mix up the play during the fi nal few games but by this stage Pte Abosi had already got the vital break in the second set and was able win a very close match. At the end of day one, the RN

Abosi (with Meanwhile, Scott Nicholls Richard’s nerve held – his

crucial rubber in this fi rst round was taking place on the adjacent court.

Jackson were able to draw upon their success at the ‘B’ tournament in April (where they had won both doubles matches) and beat the Army in straight sets. This crucial win opened the lead over the Army to 7-5.

Richard Drew and Mne Nathan

championships at the United Services Sports Ground, Portsmouth.

Scott Nicholls (Neptune) capitalised on his No.1 ranking winning the men’s singles against Richard Drew (Diamond). In her last RN Championships

faced the No.1 Army pair. Their big-serving opponents presented a considerable challenge but yet again the RN duo won the pressure points. With three matches remaining,

an overall RN victory was not certain until the RAF No.3 pair defeated their Army opponents – thereby denying the Army the chance of equalling the RN tally at that point.

led the Army by 5 rubbers to 4 with everything to play for. The fi rst two doubles matches of the second day were vital – the RN team needed to maintain their winning momentum. Steve Losh and Scott Nicholls

proved their pedigree with a straightforward win over their RAF opponents. However,

the In round 2 Steve and Scott

The RN No.2 pairing – Capt Simon Brand and Lt Oliver Craven – confi rmed the result by prevailing over their RAF opponents in three sets. Although the fi nal two RN matches were lost, the team had done enough to win the championships and retain the trophy.

at the Inter-Services had already scored successes in the RN

as a serving member of the RN, Surg Lt Lara Herbert (INM Alverstoke) went out in style by winning the ladies singles against Lt Cdr Katharine Rackham (JSCSC). There were also wins for: men’s doubles – Capt Brand (JSCSC) and Lt Craven (MOD) who beat Drew and Mne Jackson; ladies doubles – Lt Cdr Rackham and Surg Lt Cdr Southorn (Sultan) beat Surg Lt Herbert and Musn Hudson (RM School of Music); men’s veterans singles – Capt Brand (JSCSC) beat R Reynolds; men’s veterans doubles – A Mills and M Pepperday beat R Reynolds and T Reynolds; and fi nally in the mixed doubles – Lt Cdr Rackham and Mne Jackson beat S/Lt Driscoill (MWS) and Musn Hudson.

Some of the players competing

More details at www. and free coaching at Portsmouth Indoor Tennis Dome, (opposite HMS Temeraire), Mondays 7-8pm.

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