|Royal Marines Football Association|
Royal Marines FA at Peebles June 4th 2011
Standing L to R Richie Harley, Mikey Husbands, Stevie Marr, Shaun Johnson, Sam Woodin, Ian Mulholland, Shaun Welburn, Shaun Foster, Dan Boere.
Kneeling L to R Sam Logan, Karl Rickard, Si Bochenski, Craig Mulholland.
The Marine Alexander Lucas Memorial 7 a-side Festival of Football
By Captain Stephen Marr Royal Marines Assistant Chairman RMFA
This was the 3rd year the festival of football tournament had been run in the memory of Alec Lucas, who in 2008, was killed in action whilst serving with 45 Commando Royal Marines in Afghanistan. The tournament raises money, not only for local charities, but also the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund, and the previous 2 events have raised over £40k. Mr Adrian Lucas, Alec’s dad, with the support of other family members and the close community of the town of Peebles as well as key individuals from 45 Commando, including the Commanding Officer Lt Col Oliver Lee RM, have established this event as the premier 7 a-side tournament in the East of Scotland. Due to 45 Commando, who normally represent the Corps, being deployed on Op Herrick, the RM Representative side where requested to participate, to which they readily accepted.
It was on Friday June 3rd, the hottest day of the year so far, that the Royal Marines Representative Football Team boarded the minibus in Plymouth for what turned out to be an epic 12 journey to RMR Tyne our lodgings for the evening. After settling into our fully equipped accommodation, which included a full size gym complete with climbing wall, 30’ ropes and 12 blue crash mats (our pits for the night), we ventured ashore to prepare for the following day’s events, discussing team selection and tactics etc.
Saturday morning was a complete contrast from the day before, cold and wet, with a dark menacing sky greeted the squad as we awoke at 0630 to complete our journey north of the border to Peebles, which lies about 25 miles south of Edinburgh. We arrived in Whitestone Park, Peebles to be greeted by some familiar faces, the base party from 45 Commando had also entered a team as had FPG RM. All RM teams had been drawn apart in 4 leagues of 4. Some of the other teams entered included the local rugby team, in our group, as well as an ‘all-stars’ team which included former Scottish International Stevie Crawford and former Corps Captain, Sgt Craig ‘Buster’ Brown RM from FPG RM. The town had come out in force to support the event on a less than favourable day for the weather. However with lots of activities and various stalls there was plenty to keep even the youngest spectator interested. The football eventually got under way, and the first RM team in action was 45 Commando. The Corps team gave the other RM sides raucous support before they themselves were in action against Dalmore from Edinburgh, not going exactly according to plan the Corps found themselves 1-0 down in the early stages of the 1st half, however with some cobwebs being blown away and the other RM teams supporting, the Corps team got into their stride winning 2-1. The Corps second game was against Peebles Rugby Team, yet again the Corps conceded but eventually ran out 7-1 winners. At one stage though this game was descending into such a farce that the Corps Assistant Manager, WO1 Shaun ‘Welly’ Welburn RM (DST Leconfield) had to come on to restore some order, before he had even touched the ball he was well and truly nutmegged, by a rugby player! Much to the amusement of everyone watching and all the players. Our last of the group games was against a youthful Peebles Rovers Team, who had started brightly, and with the game toing and froing the Corps side needed to keep the pressure on Peebles, who were playing an attacking style that left them vulnerable at the back, which the Corps side exposed and were worthy 3-1 winners. The other RM teams weren’t fairing as well, dropping points despite some good performances, meant they failed to progress through the group stages. This left the Corps team to carry the flag into the ¼ finals. The 1st of which still had some RM interest with the All Stars team, and a spirited performance saw them enter the semi-finals. The Corps ¼ final was a close game against Nedipath, a tense, scrappy game that saw very few chances which we won 1-0. So into the semi-finals, which saw the Corps up against our very 1st opponents from the group stages, Dalmore, who had just scrapped through their last game on penalties. An edgy game ensued, with both teams squandering good opportunities to secure the match, which finally ended 0-0. So to sudden death penalties. The Corps dead ball specialist, Mne Dan Boere (ASC Bovington) stepped up to take the 1st one, the Dalmore goalkeeper providing some antics reminiscent of a certain Mr Bruce Grobbelaar, dived to his right and saved! The Dalmore player stepped up and coolly fired the ball to the bottom left corner of the Corps’ goal, giving Dutchy Mulholland (HMS Cornwall) no chance. The Corps side were very disappointed to have gone out but they had given some great performances throughout the day. The final was to be contested by Leithen Rovers who had graced the previous 2 finals and Dalmore. Yet again a close game with both teams looking dangerous but lacking a clinical finish meant the game ended in a stalemate at 1-1 after normal time. The Leithen Rovers side held their nerve during extra time to win 2-1and lift the Alec Lucas Memorial Trophy.
The 2011 tournament raised a fantastic £16,000, included the raffle and auction from the dinner held that evening, which included an auction prize of a framed Corps Football Shirt raising £200. Mr Lucas added: "We are absolutely delighted with the amount of money which was raised." Which coupled with the previous year’s meant that they had raised over £58,000.
A committee meeting will decide where the funds will go, although, as in previous years, the Royal Marines charities and local youth football will be the benefactors.
The author would like to thank Mr Lucas and everyone involved in the organising of the tournament for their hospitality and wish them all much success in future tournaments.