The Crest of a Wave

THE Green Army may well be riding the waves of Argyle's recent good form, but our players have been taking that expression literally.

The Argyle first-team squad, plus Performance Manager John Harbin and physio Paul Atkinson, joined the Plymouth-based Royal Marines of 10 Training Squadron, part of 1 Assault Group, to experience some their state-of-the-art maritime equipment.

Setting out along the Tamar and into Plymouth Sound, the lads, bulked up in waterproof immersions suits (dark green, of course) got a wonderful view of Drakes Island, the Hoe and everything else in this unique area of coastline.

However, this was no sightseeing trip.

As the four vessels emerged in to the Sound and headed towards the breakwater, the 1 AGRM coxswains opened the throttles. These are raiding craft, used to train Marines for important landing missions in hostile territory. Able to travel at speeds of over 40 mph and stop within the boat's own length, these are highly-maneuverable craft used in the most dangerous of conflicts.

The waves entering the sound were not inconsiderable; swells of over 4 metres met the craft head on, and the experience of riding them and turning sharply would rival any of Alton Towers' most heralded rides.

After showing off the agility of the craft - and giving the players a soaking into the bargain - the party rounded the headland into the bay near Cawsand and Kingsand, before heading back to base.

"It was a fantastic day," said Harbin. "The feedback from the players was that it came just at the right time. They went into the unknown, and it gets them out of the football bubble. They didn't know what to expect.

"The Marines were excellent with them. They certainly put their craft through the paces for the boys. The players loved it. If the Marines turned round and said we'll do it again tomorrow the players would be back tomorrow, they enjoyed it so much.

"It keeps their feet on the ground and takes their mind off of football for a day.

"It was excellent."

Captain Mark Triggol, of 10 training Squadron said: “The idea was for the players to have a taste of life as a Royal Marine on the water while enjoying an exciting activity together as a team away from football. And also put themselves outside their comfort zones, which I’m pleased to see we did successfully.

"This was entirely new to them, both being on the water and working with the military. It was obvious they loved it from the involuntary grins and whoops as they were thrown around and soaked by the waves – all safely of course. Our lads also benefited from some boat-handling practice."

The visit was part of the build-up to our 6th annual Armed Services fixture, which this year will fall on March 15 at Home Park when Argyle host second-placed Scunthorpe United.

A large number of military personnel, including the families of those deployed, have been invited to attend the match along with local civil dignitaries and a number of senior military officers.  Pre-match entertainment includes a silent arms display by local air cadets, drummers from HMS Drake volunteer band and to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of WW1 members of the Royal British Legion will display their standards.  The match ball will be presented by a serving member of the armed forces.