Page 83 - The Rifles Bugle Autumn 2019
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3 RIFLES’ football team this season faced the challenge of attracting footballing talent and surpassing last year’s achievement of playing at St George’s Park in the Major Units Infantry Cup competitions. Due to the Battalion deploying on Op SHADER, the football team had a reduced audience to select from and was a mixture of both established players coming to the end of their service and new talent. Although the season started slowly due to our own busy program and other opponents pulling out of fixtures due to their commitments, the team formed up and trained hard, supported by the Battalion’s formation of a platoon of footballers, allowing us to concentrate to a greater degree on training. This resulted in the team reaching the quarter finals of the Army Cup, where we played the Infantry Training Centre Catterick – themselves managed by a Rifleman,
captained by a Rifleman and with 11 Riflemen playing for them! Sadly we came up against a better team at this stage, losing 2-0. This left the team looking to progress in the Infantry Cup; a 7-3 win over 3 PARA put us into the semi-finals, but despite a home draw against 2 LANCS we were on the wrong end of a 2-1 loss. However, the team was crowned Champions of Scotland for the second year running amongst other Army teams. The future for the Battalion’s football team looks bright – a lot of young talent has joined the Battalion and with Regimental football camps planned for next year, hopes are high for an improvement on last season’s strong performance in 2019-20.
Capt Harry Kharikou OIC Football
       Cross Country
Following the success of the 2017/18 season, which saw the Battalion secure first placed Army team in Scotland, the Cross-Country team has continued to grow in strength and size.
The start of the 2018/19 Tri Service Scotland Cross Country League saw the first race hosted by the Battalion in Dreghorn Barracks. The route was planned by SSgt (QMSI) Shackleton over a punishing route out onto the Pentland Hills. The result was an easy win on home turf, where we swamped the field with over 30 runners – not all of whom were volun- teers! Unfortunately our strong start to the season coincided with the Battalion’s deployment on Op SHADER 8, rendering some of our most talented runners unavailable for the remaining races of the 2018/19 season.
Despite the depleted pool of runners, the team continued to compete, challenge and threaten the outcome of the league. Through dogged perse- verance and grim determination to compete, the team committed to endure the long drives each Wednesday to Inverness, Leuchers, Lossiemouth, Kinloss and St Andrew and managed to compete in all but one league race. This steadfast attitude ensured that for the second year running, 3 RIFLES secured first Army team in the Tri Service League.
In addition to the Cross-Country league, 3 RIFLES LAD competed in the Edinburgh Marathon Festival, raising money for the Army Benevolent Fund. WO2(AQMS) Basford set himself a challenge to complete the marathon in under 3hrs 30min despite never having run a marathon before. He achieved his aim by completing the race in 3hrs 19min, having taken on his body weight in energy gels, raising £358. The LAD also entered a senior and junior team, headed up by SSgt Ashton and Cpl Gilbert, into the Hairy Haggis Marathon Relay Race. With some of the team members dressed in MTP and carrying weight both teams completed the race in respectable times, raising approximately £1000.
Next season will be a new challenge for the 3 RIFLES team. We are already planning on breaking
the RAF hold on the Tri Service League when many of the seasoned runners will return to the team. The team captain, WO2 (AQMS) Basford, is already developing a junior and female team and hopes to encourage new runners to join and participate.
Maj Harry Harrison OIC Cross Country
      Final race complete – Glencorse, home of 2 SCOTS
    Race 3 – Forres, near RAF Lossiemouth

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