In what is becoming a regular occurrence, Her Majesty’s Prison Northward hosted a football match this month between prisoners and visiting British Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary personnel.
The sailors were in the Cayman Islands with RFA Argus, the UK ship which is patrolling the Caribbean during the 2012 hurricane season. The match was played within the confines of Northward, with security paramount at all times.
At the previous such match, which took place in April of this year, the Prison gave the visitors, the crew of RFA Fort Rosalie, a thrashing by winning 7-0. This time around, however, it was a different story.
As the game got underway, the ship’s team got off to a quick start with Captain Deano Keating scoring within the first minute of play. Three minutes later, Stephen Pitman scored from a volley outside the 18-yard box to give the visitors a two-goal lead.
The prison team, known for its attacking style of football, appeared to have no answer to its opponents whose defence appeared to be impenetrable. The Royal Navy scored again from a corner kick that connected with the head of Mike McGowan, beating the prison keeper. The first half ended with a glimmer of hope for the prison side, when Andre Ebanks launched a rocket from the edge of the box that sailed past the opposing keeper.
The second half began with wave after wave of attacks from the Northward side as they tried to mount a comeback. Ricky Rankine launched a missile from the centre of the prison defence; George Roper took it down like a professional and back heeled it to Andre Ebanks for the Prison’s second goal of the game.
Northward’s efforts continued, but in the end they ran out of time. At the sound of the final whistle, the score was 5-4 with the visitors just edging out the hosts.
The match was played in the right spirit throughout, with the teams trying their utmost to win, but not at the expense of fair play and sportsmanship. It is important to note that activities such as this can assist prisoners with their rehabilitation, giving them a sense of pride and equipping them with life skills such as working within a team and maintaining physical fitness.
After such a competitive fixture, both teams are keen for a rematch. This will take place later in the year when the Argus ship returns to Cayman.