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Royal Marines lead the race for Virginia Gauntlet glory

23 April 2019
Royal Marines narrowly lead the United States Marines Corp in the race for the coveted Virginia Gauntlet Trophy.

Commandos have been taking on their counterparts from the States in a range of sports during the two-week event at the USMC base in Quantico, Virginia.

Following a resounding 6-1 victory in the football, the Royal Marines have also collected a win in the three-day Ryder Cup-style golf tournament.

Although their perfect start to the games was brought to an abrupt end after defeat in the basketball, going into the final stretch the Royal Marines squad hold an overall 2-1 advantage.

Dispersed across five states, there are 253 men and women from the Corp participating in 19 sports.

Lieutenant Colonel Steve Crouden RM

The Virginia Gauntlet Trophy competitions reach their climax on Friday in a boxing showpiece event, but there are powerlifting, rugby, skeet (clay shooting) and functional fitness titles still to contest before the grand finale.

In the football, the Green Berets staged a ruthless comeback to win 6-1.

After going a goal down in the opening ten minutes, the Royal Marines dismantled the USMC outfit at the Butler Stadium in the grounds of Marine Corp Base (MCB) Quantico.

Sergeant Travis Mackie said: “We were slow in the first ten minutes and we went 1-0 down. That was a wake-up call for us, after that we got it together and dominated.”

Meanwhile, at MCB Quantico’s Medal of Honor golf course, the Royal Marines triumphed in a three-day thriller.

After the Royal Marines won day one, the Americans rallied to take day two and level up affairs before the travelling Brits took the decisive third day to win.

Warrant Officer First Class James Clutton Said: “We made a really good start on the first day, opening up a good lead but the Americans really got it together to take day two. It made it all to play for going into the last day, but we managed to hold our nerve and triumph.”

After those big victories, confidence was high heading into the basketball and there was hope the British could compete with the Americans at their own game.

They were defeated, but it was in no way an embarrassment for the Royal Marines as the USMC took a narrow victory 73-62.

Now the Royal Marines will look to get back to winning ways and extend their advantage, starting in the powerlifting on Wednesday.

Outside of the main Virginia Gauntlet Trophy competitions, the Royal Marines have also been in triathlon and water polo action as the sports tour side of the trip gets into full swing.

Elsewhere, the paddle sports squad have been kayaking in Mallows Bay in Maryland, while the Brazilian jiu-jitsu team have trained at Renzo Gracie’s Academy in Midtown Manhattan in New York City.

There they have worked alongside the likes of Ultimate Fighting Championship legend Georges St-Pierre, mixed martial artist Jake Shields and American grappler Gordon Ryan.

“Dispersed across five states, there are 253 men and women from the Corp participating in 19 sports,” said Lieutenant Colonel Steve Crouden.

“We’ve had great support to get here. That’s down to support from our own sponsors, the Royal Marines Charity and the hierarchy too.

“Of real significance is the support of Colonel William Bentley (commandant of MCB Quantico) and his staff. We could not have had a better welcome.”

Around 30 minutes north of MSB Quantico at Fort Belvoir, the Royal Marines archery team took on Belvoir Bow Hunters Club and the US Army Wounded Warrior Program in an indoor competition.

In a close event, Warrant Officer First Class Steve Wilson took the top prize with Corporal Seb York taking second in the Olympic Recurve and Sergeant Clare Walsh claiming the women’s event title.

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