Success gets the ball rolling on sports diplomacy

This article has photo gallery Published on LCDR David Roberts (author), Unknown (photographer)

Location(s): Langkawi

Topic(s): Sport, Soccer

Lieutenant Natasha Stewart returns the volleyball. (photo: )
Lieutenant Natasha Stewart returns the volleyball.

HMAS Success took to the field of sports diplomacy recently, playing a keenly fought game of soccer and two games of volleyball against members of the Royal Malaysian Navy during a visit to Langkawi, Malaysia.

Both sides played in a spirited fashion, with yellow and red cards issued to each team in the soccer match; however, it was the visitors who won the day, three games to none.

Captain of the Success volleyball team, Chief Petty Officer Naval Police Coxswain Renee Young, said it was the friendships established that mattered and not the score.

"It was a wonderful experience and opportunity to play against the Royal Malaysian Navy ladies," Chief Petty Officer Young said.

"In the end, the relationships which were built from this experience were worth more than the win."

Success took to the soccer field with a squad of eager players ranging in experience.

Rumours the opposition had recruited 'ring-ins' caused Success a few early nerves, but they were laid to rest at the 20 minute mark when Sub-Lieutenant Lloyd Nash zigzagged through the defence and scored the first goal.

A series of yellow cards followed for both sides before the referee awarded a red card against Success, giving the Malaysians a penalty shot from inside the goal box from which they equalized the scores.

In a show of good sportsmanship, the home team allowed Success to play with a full squad in the second half.

They may have regretted that decision seven minutes later when Able Seaman Marine Technician Grant Watson scored, putting Success ahead 2-1.

Petty Officer Marine Technician Nathan Ginger headed in a corner kick 30 minutes later but the Malaysian Navy struck back quickly.

The home side left their comeback too late, however, Success wining the soccer friendly, 3-2.

The two matches of volleyball were also keenly contested.

The Malaysian team jumped away with a seven point lead in the first match until the ball was turned over and the serving skills of Able Seaman Maritime Logistics Supply Chain Courtney Smith came to the fore.

Success took back the lead and eventually the game.

The second match was a much tighter affair but Success eventually won again.

Success has represented the country and the Royal Australia Navy favourably on a number of occasions since the warship was deployed to South East Asia last month.

The crew has renovated a medical clinic in Dili, Timor-Leste, and hosted senior Indonesian military figures while alongside in Jakarta.

The battle tanker also earned high praise from her American counterparts when she refuelled two United States destroyers in heavy seas this month.

She returns to Darwin in September for Exercise Kakadu - the Royal Australian Navy's premier international engagement activity.