Dynamic duo behind Royal Navy’s dominance

Royal Navy coaches Steve Lemon, right, and Brian Petty show off the inter-services trophy. November, 2011.
Royal Navy coaches Steve Lemon, right, and Brian Petty show off the inter-services trophy. November, 2011.
Laura Ryan in control for Fareham Ladies against Aldershot & Farnham. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

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TWO local coaches have masterminded the Royal Navy’s rise to the top of inter-services hockey.

Brian Petty, who hails from Gosport, has managed naval squads throughout the past 20 years.

In 2007, he joined forces with Steve Lemon to lead the charge against their fierce rivals – the RAF and Army.

They have helped deliver the most prolific period in Royal Navy Hockey Association (RNHA) history – with more titles secured in the past nine seasons than in the previous 93.

And last month they propelled the men to their latest triumph – a third consecutive inter-services indoor title.

Crushing victories over the Army (8-3) and the RAF (7-2) saw the squad crowned champions in Aldershot.

Thirteen of the 15 goals were netted by players who have represented Fareham in the past three years, as the Royal Navy’s link with local clubs continues to bear fruit.

Richard Jenkin scored five, Rowan Edwards bagged three and Danny Makaruk netted a brace.

Lee Milton, Matt Brokenshire and Sean Trevethan also found the net, while west country men Luke Dalton and Dave Potter topped up the tally.

Mark Dixon, Russ Garner, Richard Smith, Jon Bishop and Adam Duke completed the victorious squad led so impressively by the south-coast double act.

Petty began his love affair with the sport during his school days at Brune Park in Gosport.

Coached by the legendary John Law, he never envisaged he might one day become a fixture in navy hockey.

After a full career as a Royal Navy Regulator, service pensioner Petty was voted in as a life member of the RNHA.

He now works in Bristol for the Crown Prosecution Service but continues to manage the naval assault on the inter-services competitions.

Lemon, from North End, was part of the Portsmouth City Boys School side who were crowned under-16 national champions 25 years ago.

He was just one of hundreds of sporting success stories to emerge from the stewardship of City Boys teacher and City of Portsmouth Hockey Club coach Pete Atkins.

Now 40, Lemon is one of the most successful coaches in the county – with links to Scotland, England, Combined Services and Hampshire, on top of the Royal Navy, Havant, Andover and Fareham hockey clubs.

The former dockyard apprentice now works at HMS Temeraire after becoming the full-time Royal Navy sports officer for swimming and hockey in October 2010.

On top of the success of the senior side, the duo helped Navy Air to the inter-services inter-command tournament (ISICT).

They head to the University of Bath on Sunday to continue their bid for a place alongside the leading civilian clubs in the National Indoor League.

Elsewhere, the Army won the men’s masters and also the ladies’ inter-services events, while the RAF triumphed at under-23 level.

But there was no doubt who were the stars of the show – and they have two special leaders to thank.