THE RAF Police came within a whisker of victory at a rain-sodden Cardiff Arms Park when they played South Wales Police in a thrilling contest.
Early pressure from the bigger home side quickly got results and they notched up a try on the 10 minute mark. After a failed conversion, the RAFP bounced right back but ball handling was difficult as the rain became torrential.
Bold forays by the RAFP, particularly No15 Corporal Callum Macmillan were stopped by South Wales Police bodies. He again stepped up moments later when he challenged a Welsh attack only to be clattered by a marauding forward. The half ended with South Wales Police leading 5-0.
SWP were out of the blocks following a quick restart and almost immediately extended their lead with another try which they converted.
The RAFP bounced back with a great run by Callum Macmillan. The rain came down heavier but still the Snowdrops showed drive and guts.
After RAFP No8 Corporal Andy Melbourne was brought down just yards from the SWP try line, the RAF men were awarded a penalty which the No12 Acting Corporal Jack Lowe duly slotted over bringing the score to 12-3.
This heralded a fierce RAFP fight back which saw them win a scrum five yards from the South Wales Police line. The pressure paid off when big RAF forward Andy Melbourne stormed over for a try. Despite Jack Lowe missing out on the conversion, the Welsh were kept on the back foot and with the score at 12-8 the RAFP sensed the game was theirs for the taking.
Continued RAFP pressure paid off again when Jack Lowe went over for a try. He duly converted and took the ‘Flying Pigs’ into the lead with the score at 12-15.
But the Welsh were not done yet. Minutes later, their big No12 scythed through the RAFP defences to score in the far corner. The kick was just wide but they pulled ahead again bringing the score to 17-15.
With just minutes left on the clock, the RAF again pushed forward and won a penalty which Jack Lowe coolly kicked home. With the score at 17-18, they were ahead again, but the day was not yet done.
The Welsh police punted the ball into the RAF half as the seconds ticked away, but before the ref blew for time they were awarded a penalty and with literally the last kick of the game, South Wales Police went for the kick and took the spoils with the final score 20-18.
Victorious captain Inspector Paul Crowley of South Wales Police said he was delighted to win a “hard fought” contest.
"We wanted to break their game up and for the first half it worked, but later in the second half they upped their game and we were on the back foot.” The police Inspector praised the spirit the game was played in, saying it was a “fantastic occasion”.
RAFP team captain Corporal Callum Hales praised a “gritty performance” from the Snowdrops.
“They contained us or the first half, but in the second half they realised they were playing a good team and they panicked.”
“We played a controlled game in really poor conditions and really pulled together – like we do in the military. I was really pleased with the way we played tonight.”