THE Royal Navy and Havant showcased Vets Rugby with an epic battle under the floodlights at Burnaby Road in midweek.
They showed that vets rugby in the area is very much alive and kicking.
In a competitive affair the Royal Navy Mariners eventually ran out 35-30 winners.
It meant the Navy side maintained their unbeaten record as they work towards the Inter-Services tournament later this season.
Havant captain James Hewett welcomed the opportunity for his side, the current Hampshire champions.
He said: ‘It is fantastic to play under lights on the best rugby facilities in the area.
‘We always regard it as one of the big occasions in our season.
‘The games are always very competitive and this was no different.
‘It was a great advert for our level of the game.
‘The lead changed hands on a number of occasions and the score stayed at 20-20 for a long period of time.
‘After we had John Barefoot sent off for a high tackle around the hour mark we conceded a couple of tries.
‘In a frantic finish, though, we were fighting back but just run out of time.’
Havant’s oldest player, Brian Marsh, is 59 and the youngest at 35 years is Steve Cruddas.
Some are still playing first team rugby for clubs.
‘I don’t think people realise just how competitive vets rugby can be,’ added Hewett.
‘It allows people to keep playing for longer in a competitive environment.’
Havant won the title for the second successive year by beating Gosport & Fareham.
Portsmouth and Southampton Trojans are also regular challengers.
The Royal Navy Mariners take on HM Prison Service at Cardiff Arms Park on March 7. They are back in floodlight action in Portsmouth on March 21 when they host The Mighty Oaks.