5th September 2017, 17:35 | armed_forces
This year's Inter-Services series opens this Friday, September 8, with the Royal Air Force facing the Royal Navy in Leeds at Stanningley RLFC.
The Inter-Services competition is the climax of the Services Rugby League calendar and is played on three consecutive Fridays this month, each of the Services hosting a day of matches.
The first round of matches sees last year's IS Champions, the RAF, take on the 2015 winners the RN in what is sure to be another cracking fixture in the final match for the coveted 'Dog Watch' Trophy.
The supporting matches earlier in the day will feature the return to the 13-a-side format for the Women's competition as the RN field a new look-side under Head Coach CPO(PT) Frazer Leach.
The RAF will look to build on an impressive match against the Army women in last year's 9s competition and a strong 2017 season.
Opening the afternoon will be the Academy fixture which has been hotly-contested over the last few years, with the RAF having the bragging rights from the win over the RN in the 2016 competition.
The choice of venue is by no means coincidental, as not only has the Stanningley Club provided a stream of players to the highest level of the professional game, but several Stanningley 'Old Boys' are involved in the respective RAF and RN Rugby League Associations.
On the light blue side, RAF RL Chief Ops Officer Fg Off Chris Gordon, 1st XIII Coach Sgt Garry Dunn and Sgt Martin Wood all played for the club benefiting from coaching by Leeds Rhinos stars Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Jamie Peacock.
On the Dark blue side, CPO Kev Botwood, probably the RN's most successful-ever player in the 20-year history of the association, spent several years at the club prior to joining up.
This will be an emotional night for Kev in this his final Inter-Services campaign as he is due to leave the service in the near future.
The running order for the day will be as follows:
3pm - RAF Academy v RN Academy
5pm - RAF Women v RN Women
7pm - RAF v RN The ‘Dog Watch’ Trophy
Admission to the Stadium is by donation to the club's chosen charities with hospitality facilities available throughout.
The next round of fixtures on September 15 sees the competition move to the South coast where the RN will host the Army as they open their 2017 Campaign.
The final round of matches is on Friday, September 22, featuring the Army who will host the RAF at the Rugby Stadium in Aldershot.