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November 26, 2009
By LAC Aaron Curran
NOT content with just conquering
the depths, a Navy Clearance Diver
has also gone on and conquered the
heights -- a long way from the sea.
ABCD Alex Stuart beat a tough
field to win the 26km men's open
division of the Australian Defence
Mountain Running Championships
held in Canberra on November 7. To
top it off, it was also his first attempt at
Starting and ending at Mt Majura
Vineyard, more than 20 Defence com-
petitors took part. The championships
were held in conjunction with the '3
Peaks' 26km run (men's champion-
ship) and '2 Peaks' 20km run (wom-
The route took the runners from the
vineyard to Mt Majura, Mt Ainslie, Mt
Pleasant and back to the start.
In a sign of good timing, the heat
that hit south-east Australia was not
present and they got off to a cool early
start just after sunrise.
"I started off pretty well and was
feeling good," ABCD Stuart said.
"I went up the first hill fine but
when I got to Mt Ainslie I took a
wrong turn following some other run-
ners and from then on it was a battle
for me, but I managed to finish."
Diver running on top of the world
OFF AND RACING:
Competitiors start the gruelling
mountain running champion-
INSET: ABCD Alex Stuart.
Photos: LAC Aaron Curran
By CDRE Bruce Kafer
THE RAN Rugby Union (RANRU)
senior men's team has returned to
Australia with the runners-up tro-
phy from the Commonwealth Navies
Rugby Cup (CNRC) in England.
The team's first tour match against
the French Navy (Club Marine
National) in Paris, featured in an ear-
lier edition of Navy News. Following
this hard-fought game where the team
lost 16-5, the RAN squad travelled to
Plymouth confident of a good perform-
ance in the CNRC.
The South African Navy's short-
notice withdrawal from the tournament
reduced the international navy teams
to three (RAN, RN and RNZN), so a
RN President's XV team was added
to the schedule to maintain the match
RANRU began the CNRC by play-
ing the RNZN in cold, wet conditions.
The two teams were not only play-
ing for CNRC points, but also for the
'Shelford Stokes Shield', a new tro-
phy awarded to the winners of trans-
Tasman navy international matches.
Navy rugby's European tour
LINE OUT: Players fine tune tactics during a training session before
taking on the Commonwealth Navies.
Photo: LSPH Alex Cave (RN)
touring team in
He said he had done the North Face
in Sydney but put the '3 Peak' 26km
race in a harder category.
"I felt it in my hamstrings during
the whole race but coming down the
hills gave my toes a real working out,"
"It was definitely worth it. I hope to
do it again next year and hopefully get
some of my colleagues to join me."
CPO Peter Berry finished third in
the men's open in 2hr 19min 23sec
while CPOSN Michael Horan and
LCDR Ken Steinman finished second
and third in the men's masters in 2hr
41min 36sec and 3hr 16min 10sec
At the end of the race, medals were
awarded to the runners by the patron
of the Australian Defence Running and
Athletics Association, RADM Boyd
The shield was named after two icons
of rugby in the RAN and RNZN:
WO Geoff Stokes and Wayne 'Buck'
Both sides played enterprising
rugby, but the Kiwis executed their
game plan with precision and were
always on top. RANRU was still in the
match until well into the second half,
but the score line blew out late in the
game, and the RNZN recorded a well-
deserved 45-12 win. RANRU's best on
the day was the team captain and No 8,
POPT Matt Hilyard.
RANRU's next match was against
the RN President's XV. This game was
also played in wet weather, however,
the RAN team controlled the ball and
the match extremely well. The team
had a comfortable and morale-boosting
39-15 win, and the man of the match
was ABET Nick Stratford.
In its final match of the CNRC,
RANRU met the tournament favourites,
the RN, which had beaten the RNZN in
its previous game. Dry conditions ena-
bled running rugby, which thrilled the
crowd of more than 2000.
The RN dominated the first half and
ran in four tries, but the RAN took con-
trol in the second half -- and scored all
points. RANRU lost but the final score
of 34-12 was perhaps not a true reflec-
tion on the high quality of RANRU's
performance. It was a reminder that
improvement is still necessary if they
are to be competitive against the Brits
and Kiwis. PO Matt Hilyard again
received the award as best player on
ground for RANRU.
Following the demanding rugby
schedule of the CNRC, RANRU and
RNZN touring sides found time to cast
aside deep rivalry and focus on the
strength of the Anzac tradition when
joining sides to take on the mighty
Tavistock Rugby Football Club within
the deep rugby belt of West Country,
The local town, 40 minutes from
Plymouth, threw open its arms as the
largest gathering of locals across all
ages descended on the remote rugby
club to watch the game and experience
some spirited southern hemisphere
rugby. Following some junior skills
coaching by the Anzac players and a
traditional Haka by the Kiwi contin-
gent, the game got underway with both
teams vying for dominance in a friend-
ly, yet spirited, contest. Tavistock had a
narrow victory, much to the delight of
the local crowd. A total of 720 pounds
(approx $1400) was also raised at
the match for a number of charities
supporting returned Servicemen and
To round off the CNRC tour-
nament, a Commonwealth Navies
Barbarians team was selected to play
a West Country Select XV. Seven RAN
players were in this squad: LS Jason
Harington, who has played in all four
CNRCs since 1997, had the honour
of captaining the Barbarians and WO
Geoff Stokes coached the team. Other
RANRU representatives included
LS Max Gunn, SMN Ashley Piquet,
LS Daniel Robertson, LEUT Dean
Brown, AB Dwight Shepherd and AB
The final activity to close the
CNRC was the handing of the 'weight'
to the RAN for host duties in 2012.
The next tournament is scheduled to
take place in Australia, aligned with
the 100th year of rugby union in the
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