Following the disappointing first league loss of the season, Sandown & Shanklin looked to get back on track, yet knew that visiting Bognor RFC would be a tough nut to crack in order to get back to winning ways. The Hurricanes welcomed back Sam Tyson and Sam Rees to the starting line-up, alongside Jacob Jordan at scrum-half. A cold crisp, yet fine late October afternoon served up a great 80 minutes of rugby from both sides.
The visitors got off to a flying start within the first 5 minutes. As the Hurricanes attempted to get into their patterns of play, a turnover and some swift handling found the Bognor fullback, who sprinted through the line to get the game going, 0-7. The Hurricanes struck about almost immediately through the boot of Sam Flux, with a penalty from 30 metres out, to get the home side off the mark, 3-7. This got the home side going and following a smart claim by prop Martin Richomme from the restart, the Hurricanes broke downfield. Another penalty was accrued and kicked to within seven metres of the Bognor try line. The following line-out drive was dragged down by the opposition defenders, with the referee awarding a penalty try for the impressive Sandown maul, 10-7. As the momentum really grew for the home side, as strong carrying from Man of the match Sam Flux and Darren Carew got the Hurricanes on the front foot, and deep into Bognor territory. Following another effective line-out, the Sandown maul walked from just outside their 22, and rumbled downfield into the Bognor 22, before another penalty advantage was awarded to the home side. Despite this, the Hurricanes wanted more, and with the ball spun into the midfield, centre Sam Tyson stepped his way through the defence and sprinted under the posts. Unfortunately, Tyson was held up over the line, but quick thinking from fellow centre Jack Wedderkop, resulted in him simply dotting the ball down for the Hurricanes second try and to extend their margin, 17-7. Bognor, however, struck back before the half-time whistle, with a scrum just inside their half, their strong carrying 8 picked up from the back of the scrum and went the distance with some very lackluster tackling from the home side. The try was converted for a narrow 17-14 margin at the halftime break.
Following the half-time interval, the Hurricanes were first to get the scoring back underway, again the boot of Flux keeping the scoreboard ticking over with a penalty just inside the Bognor 22, 20-14. This kicked the hosts into their next gear, following some strong work through the middle by Zak Chiverton and Luke Hunter. The resulting backs move created an absolute cracking score, with most of the back line managing to get a touch of the ball. From a Sandown line out, a break from Cameron Mitchell, who was then tackled offloaded to Wedderkop, who then followed up with another offload to Ben Sanderson, who then managed to softly tip the ball into Tyson’s hands for him to dive over and score. The conversion drifted wide of the posts, but the Hurricanes were up, 25-14.
A few moments later, another penalty from Flux increased the margin to 14 points over the visitors, 28-14. This, however, did not quell the Bognor enthusiasm, who then managed to reply with a try of their own, with the Hurricanes down to 14 men, as Josh Wetherick was sent to the sin bin. With the man advantage Bognor used the man overlap to score out wide, but could not convert the kick, 28-19.
The scoring was not, however, as the dominant Sandow scrum, with a fresh Christopher Skelley causing their front row issues, the home side were soon again on the ascendancy. As more strong running through the middle of the park by the forwards and some great support play by man of the match Harry Hopper, quick ball was generated and passed down the line. With a simple 2 vs 1, Owen Williams fed winger Ben Sanderson for his 1st Hurricanes try in the corner, again with the conversion missing, the lead was now an unassailable 33-19.
The 80 minutes were up and marked with one last penalty from the boot of Flux for a 36-19 victory to the Hurricanes.
Director of Rugby Damian Marriott was in buoyant mood following the game:
“The last two weeks have been very difficult for the club, being well beaten by two great sides in the same number of weeks, could have completely derailed our ambitions, especially for such a young team. Yet as we try and push on for promotion, we showed today we great character in what really was a must-win game, so early into the season.
Having JJ (Jacob Jordan) back this week was huge for us, as again he showed why he’s up there with perhaps one of the best scrum-halves in Hampshire premier. His tempo around the park just lifts the whole squad and the lads just seem to flow as a unit making it so enjoyable to watch. A big shout out has to go to the pack today, especially our Skipper Sam who lead from the front. As well, against such strong opposition and the threat that Bognor have up front, our scrums were very dominant. Adam Tyas was a major part of this, he must have lost his WiFi this week and hasn’t played on his computer or something, he clearly was taking his anger out on them as he was everywhere and produced his best performance of the season at lose-head so far. Next week away to New Milton is going to be the next tough test and they’re a great side, but on the back of this performance I know the lads will be buzzing to be out there playing again on Saturday”
Next up the Sandown & Shanklin is an away trip New Milton & District RFC, which will be another big test for this young Hurricanes team. The Sandown & Shanklin 2nd XV will also be playing this Saturday (3rd November), and will be hosting Fawley RFC 2nd XV at the Fairway, kick-off 2.30pm. All are welcome to come along and support.
Image: Chris Perfect