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10 June 2016

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Following their semi-final exit at the Bouremouth 7s, the Spitfires launched back into action at the Summer Social 7s, Richmond.

Opening against Dr Jekyls they posted an early score by captain Flt Lt Lloyd Owen, stemming from a turnover by Armed Forces captain Flt Lt Tom Rock. Early in the second half Cpl Toby Mann and Rock combined for Lloyd to add a second. The win was sealed when Rock dummied to go in under the sticks to make it 17-0.

Game 2 opposition, The Mavericks, didn't fancy it and the Spitfires got a 20-0 victory awarded for the no-show.
The final pool game pitted the RAF against Esher Bees and again the Spitfires led off with a brace by captain Lloydo, shaking his potent pace and power. A third score followed, starting with a lineout on their own line, stolen by Fg Off Matt Tibbatts and carried upfield by SAC Juite Tupua for Mann to do the finishing. The Bees stole one back before the break, an Esher beefcake bouncing off a few Spits on his way in.

In the second half SAC Sam Hutchinson got on the score sheet before Esher pulled another back. However, the Spitfires made sure of the pool win through scores by Cpl Steve Parker and Mann, posting a final score of 39-10.

The QF was played against Welsh side The Warriors and it was the Spitfires that conceded first, having been turned over. Rock scampered through for an equaliser with a trademark dummy-sidestep combo and a halftime lead was opened up when SAC Iwan Davies set up Fg Off Stu Philpott. The lead was extended in the second half, again finished by Philpott after a patient build up. The Warriors pulled another back and mounted some late attacks but the Spitfires held out for a 17-14 win.

Atonement beckoned in the SF, facing the Soy Galacticos who knocked the Spitfires out last year. Strong early defence set the tone and Rock/Mann/Lloyd interplay got the latter in for the first score. Davies fed Parker for another and Tibbatts set up a further try, chipping through for Rock to battle over. Domination continued after the break, Philpott adding to his tally after a Galacticos error. Reclaiming the kick-off, superb handling carried the ball to SAC Kai Stevens whose outstanding offload fed Tupua, emphatically avenging last year's loss and earning a final place, 34-5.

The Spitfires stepped out for their first final of 2016, to face a Seventy 7s team that had been impressing all day. The Seventies were first on the board, and the Spitfires riposte was thwarted with Philpott held up over the line and penalised. Despite stealing the lineout the ball went down out wide and the Seventies pounced to extend their lead just before HT. From the restart Tibbatts carried strongly and the Spitfires maintained possession but the eventual chance went begging with a wild pass. However, the RAF men won the resulting lineout and put Tupua over in the corner. The comeback never gained momentum though and yet another turnover was capitalised on by the Seventies to carry the day 19-5.

A disappointing end to an otherwise fruitful day, including a Players' Player award for Hutchinson on debut. The Spitfires will next step onto Saracens' home turf, Allianz Park at 7s & the City

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