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02 June 2015

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The Spitfires returned to the prestigious Bournemouth 7s as holders of the Elite Plate. By the close of the second day of fierce competition the RAF 7s team earnt their place on the podium again.

Fielding a handful of debutantes as well as some familiar firepower the Spitfires began the campaign against St Paul's Pirates. The RAF side took early control through scores by Cpl Toby Mann and SAC Steve Parker and looked comfortable at halftime, 12-7. However, the Pirates rallied after the break and levelled the scores before stealing the result in the dying seconds with a third try.

Against 2014 champions Black Sheep the Spitfires found the going much tougher, though stayed in touch with a score from try-machine Flt Lt Tchad Collins-Francois. Succumbing 24-5 to the eventual Cup winners the Spitfires faced the pressure of a must-win game to progress to Day 2.

Against old foes Glantaf Goats in the final pool game the RAF men stole the initiative, with SAC Adie Gillespie going under the posts. The pace and power of Collins-Francois wowed the crowd as he went the length of the pitch for a 14 point lead. A spirited fightback from the Goats took things close but a SAC Daz Oliver try on debut secured the crucial victory 19-17.

Semi Final opponents the Ponty Butchers flew out of the blocks with two unanswered tries. Making a strong impression overall, Oliver's power pulled the Spitfires back into it, finishing two tries in reply. With a final place hanging in the balance it was the Spitfires' turn to steal a late victory with Gillespie's fast feet undoing the Butchers - 19-14 and a chance to retain the coveted Elite Plate title.

Facing the Carmarthen Warriors to keep their trophy the Spitfires exchanged scores through the first half. The Warriors' tries were scored by a Fijian, Army 7s ringer but were countered by two stunning scores by Collins-Francois, flying down the wing and brushing off all challengers. From 21-19 at halftime it took more slick interplay between Cpl Toby Mann and Gillespie to steal control, with a 70 metre sprint from the latter extending the lead. Another followed when SAC Juite Tupua pounced on a Warriors mistake on their own line. A handsome winning margin was secured when Cpl Callum Hales crossed late on and the Spitfires were Plate champions again, 46-25.

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