The 100th annual rugby match between the Army and Navy first XV took place at Twickenham Stadium on 29th April this year. Geospatial intelligence experts Envitia sponsored an executive box and invited along valued clients and partners for a fantastic day out at this prestigious and ever increasingly popular event.
This year ticket sales for the game were sold out in four days, a huge surprise that an amateur sports event attracted over 82,000 fans. The fans were as noisy and boisterous as ever, the imaginative fancy dress and banter that occurs contributes to the day as much as the contest on the pitch.
Our hand-picked guests included representatives across the Defence Industry and Government, who benefit from utilising our geospatial technologies by delivering enhanced decision making capabilities, in mission critical environments.
Our customers enjoyed a three-course meal, against the backdrop of the under 23s Oxbridge vs UK Armed Forces match, which was taking place in the stadium as a warm-up to the main event. By the time dessert was served, we could hear the 82,000 strong crowd gathering in the stadium for the Babcock Trophy match, in their various attire.
At 15:00 we gathered in our seats, excited for kick-off. The match itself was an ebb and flow affair, the Army opened strongly and dominated the first 15 minutes of the game, Lance Corporal James Dixon was at hand to open the scoring with a penalty. From the restart the Army then rocked the Navy further when Junior Bulumakau scored a try in the right hand corner with Matt Bowden unable to force him into touch.
The Navy needed to respond and to their credit they did. With the ball illegally slowed, Navy fullback Jon Humphrey was gifted a penalty to pull back three points. It was a period where the Navy were getting parity but they were struck a heavy blow following a TMO intervention for foul play. Gareth Rees was the guilty party for illegal use of the boot and he was sent to the side for ten minutes in the sin bin. The Army though reached half time having been unable to capitalise with only a solitary Dixon penalty to show for their one-man advantage.
We spent half time back in the box, conversing about the match, Brexit, politics and a little around the geospatial world, all over some rather tasty cheese and biscuits and red wine.
We took our seats after half-time keen to see an exciting finale to the match. The Army didn’t disappoint, they had an explosive start to second half, which culminated in a try in the right hand corner by Chris Leathem. After a try by the Navy – Ben Priddey, the Army held a 23-10 lead with 25 mins to play. The Army supporters felt it was enough for the win, the Navy supporters clung on to the hope of a comeback – as per 2016.
The Army didn’t take any chances, they followed with two penalties. Six minutes to go and the Navy were two scores behind. Though they celebrated a final try by Dave Fairbrother which signalled the end of the match. As the referee’s whistle brought the end to the game on the 100th Army Navy Match the sea of Red in the crowd went wild and the sea of Blue stood and watched calmly.
After the match, Envitia and guests enjoyed afternoon tea back in the box while discussing the eventful game. We would like to thank all who attended and made it a thoroughly enjoyable event.
Dr Sarah Cole, Lead Business Development Manager