The RMA RFC was formed on the back of 8 years of former and serving Royal Marines and Royal Navy guys getting together to play charity veterans rugby matches with the inception of the Chara Bowl on our return from Herrick 9 to support those injured.
Since then we have gathered pace considerably by playing games in UK and abroad, most notably since 2014, to celebrate RM350 and to coincide with the launch of the Royal Marines Monopoly board in Gibraltar. In Feb 2016 it was decided to form the RMA RFC as a Branch of the RMA, which has quickly become the biggest Branch. This not only gave us an identity but a formal platform to work from and we have already had the honour of former British & Irish Lions Head Coach and Player, Sir Ian McGeechan OBE agreeing to become our Patron.
Yes, a bi-product of the Branch formation is to continue to raise funds and awareness for those in need of RN & RM Charity support but just as importantly to get former & serving Bootnecks & Matelots together socially and to give everyone a sense of belonging.
In trepidation the RMA RFC Committee amassed a group of 117 made up of a who’s who of Corps & Navy players, legends, rogues, guest players, and sponsors and headed out for what has become the annual trip to Gibraltar. Many had been on the trip before – the best kept secret in Corps rugby!
With plenty of social events laid on, supported by the Gib LO, Ivor Morgan and his team, there would be plenty of ‘down time’ before the games on Sat afternoon. From double amputee and tourist, Ian ‘Bish’ Bishop walking to the top of the Rock for charity, BBQ, hosted by the Gibraltar Police Social Club to a get together at the Governor’s residence, there was more than enough to keep the lads busy and together.
This year we had the pleasure of the company of His Excellency, The Governor of Gibraltar, Lt Gen Ed Davis CB CBE, Gibraltar Government officials, Commodore Jamie Miller CBE RN, many former Bootnecks, notably former RSM’s Jim Martin, Rog Tinson, Bob Ewan, Paddy Gore (Captain), Bob Armstrong, Bob Toomey, Shaun Parkin, Dan Parkes and Steve Jones to name a few as well as players like POAET Marsh Cormack, who has recently retired from the Senior Royal Navy team.
The Royal Navy back-row from Twickenham in 1997, Bob Armstrong, Steve ‘Shady’ Lane and Steve Jones played together again this year in a compelling 37-12 victory for RMA RFC over Gibraltar Vets. With a playing squad of 30 and a ‘roll on – roll off’ subs agreement there was plenty of chance for all the lads to have a run out – some more painful than others, with 2 ending up in hospital from match day injuries.
The game is always the curtain raiser for the main event; Royal Marines RFC v Gibraltar Select with both games played in a hard, intense way but in the right spirit.
After the post-match meal the auction raised over £7,000 – an impressive amount to go along with the £11,000 cheque presented to Royal Marines Charity by Graham Masarik, CEO of sponsors Eurocams.
4 days, 3 nights, 2 games and 1 group of amazing characters and players together in what was a fantastic tour and more importantly advert for the Royal Navy & Royal Marines. The only question on everybody’s lips was “when is next year’s tour??”
Huge thanks must go to the Gibraltar contingent, in particular Maurice Stagnetto, Chairman RU, who has and continues to fully support the RMA RFC.
After almost 8 years it is now time for me to hand the over the reins, in the knowledge that everything is in now in place for this to continue to grow under the leadership of a perfect person for the position, former RSM and tourist Bob Ewan.
Any former or serving RN/RM players wishing to become involved please contact RMA RFC Secretary at:
WO2 Mark ‘Stevo’ Stevens RM
(Outgoing) Chairman RMA RFC
What's your sport? Do you have a hobby or interest? Why not start your own club? Can you better this? If you would like to get a RMA sports club, Branch or interest group started contact: firstname.lastname@example.org