By Sara E. Martin, Army Flier Staff WriterOctober 18, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (October 18, 2012) -- Fair weather greeted the Fort Rucker Fliers as they took the field Oct. 13 against Mobile Battleship in a friendly yet competitive game of rugby.
Although the final score read 61-17 in favor of Battleship, the Fliers claimed success.
As the teams met on the field, Mobile Battleship did not have enough players to make an official team, so the Fort Rucker Fliers lent one of their team members to their opponents in order to continue with the game.
"This is a good, friendly game of rugby. We want everyone to have a good time, so we gave them a player so the game could be played traditionally instead of sitting players out," said Tim Commerford, civilian at the 110th Aviation Brigade.
The good-hearted move turned out to be the Fliers downfall as the player that was provided to Battleship was the one who scored the majority of tries for the team.
The kickoff, initially, proved to be in the Fliers' favor as Adam Rex, 6th Military Police Detachment firefighter at Allen Stage Field, soon made the first try, bringing the Fliers the first five points of the game. The conversion kick was missed immediately afterwards, though, preventing them from taking another two points.
Battleship did not let the Fliers take the lead for long. Soon after the initial try by the Fliers, Battleship made it to the try line as well as made a successful conversion; bringing the score to 7-5.
But the Fliers' spirit remained high throughout the game and proved that their team's competitive nature was as strong as their camaraderie as they continued to charge aggressively for possession of the ball.
A box-kick was attempted by the Fliers, but possession went to Battleship who took the ball and made another successful try. The conversion kick, though, was nullified.
"The ball was not placed perpendicular to where the player placed the ball on the try line, he took an advantageous kick dead center," explained Mark Young, Fort Rucker Flier assistant coach.
The borrowed player, Grady Marsh of Panama City, scored the following three tries for Battleship.
The Fliers did not lose hope, however, for in the phase following a scrum Michael Christensen, 6th MP firefighter at Tabernacle Stage Field, made a successful try and conversion for the Fliers.
A line-out put Battleship back in possession of the ball, giving them another opportunity to score, which they took advantage of.
During the following kickoff, Fort Rucker put up a long and steady fight, but Battleship took advantage of their fatigue and made another successful try and conversion. At the end of the first quarter with 90 seconds to go, Marsh scored again for Battleship.
A wide conversion was partnered with Battleships next try, giving Fort Rucker a push to score a try in the very next play with a successful kick by W01 Jesse Haddix, 1st Battalion, 1-145th Aviation Regiment.
After several knock-ons, or fumbles, Battleship, via Marsh, was able to get another seven points on the scoreboard.
The Fliers refused to give up as the next few plays brought them within reach of the try line, but after a scrum that was in favor of Battleship they were pushed back.
With 25 seconds left to go in the game, Marsh scored again against his team with a dummy pass, bringing the score to a somewhat crushing score of 61-17 in Battleship's favor.
Though the team technically lost, coaches and players had no hard feelings towards Battleship.
"I am very happy with the game. We scored all the points," Commerford joked. "We just gave them all to the other team. It's all for fun, these are our friends. It's a social gathering as much as a game."
Grady Marsh also saw the benefits of playing against his teammates.
"It was a lot of fun and a great experience playing against my own team. I was able to see from a different perspective and I can bring that back to practices to make us even stronger," he said.
The game followed with a rugby tradition of both teams coming together to share a small meal and cold drinks. The festivities were concluded with the man-of-the-match custom, where the player with the most spirit during the game is recognized.
The Fort Rucker Fliers are looking to expand the team and welcome any new participants to practices every Tuesday and Thursday night at 6 p.m. at the rugby field next to Beaver Lake.