Sandown & Shanklin lost in in the Third Round of the Junior Vase, after undertaking the mammoth 250 mile round trip
Sandown & Shanklin RFC made the long journey to North Kent, to take on Gillingham Anchorians in the Third Round of the London & South East Junior Vase. Both teams had never faced one another, however, with both sitting in 2nd place in their respective leagues, a close game was on the cards.
The Hurricanes enjoyed the spoils in the opening ten minutes. After the home side were too eager at the breakdown and also caught offside, this allowed the away side to kick deep into Gillingham territory. Following the illegal collapse of the first catch and drive, the Hurricanes had a second attempt to drive over the line. The home side held out, and after clearing their lines, and a penalty in their favour on the halfway, the Hurricanes were all of a sudden defending their own try line. A clever front line out move, caught Sandown & Shanklin napping for an early 7-0 lead, with the conversion going over with the help of the post.
The Hurricanes struck back almost immediately. A short restart by Sam Tyson found Harry Hopper who claimed the high ball. A snipe by Jacob Jordan provided valuable metres. Strong carries from Sam Rees and Martin Richomme, continued the Hurricanes momentum. The ball was spun wide and with Sam Flux making a break down the blindside, he fed winger Josh Wetherick, who was held just short of the try line. The ball was quickly recycled and with the home sides defence scrambling, Sam Tyson got around the defence for the first score of the game. The conversion missed by Flux, 7-5.
The play settled in between the two teams 22 metres line for the next ten minutes, as both attempted to break the others defensive lines. The next score would come the way of the home side. Another penalty allowed their fullback to kick to the corner and another line out catch and drive was driven over to increase the winning margin, 12-5. This momentum for the home side was telling, as they managed to score a further two converted tries to round off the first half, with the score line 26-5 at the break.
Despite the scoreline, the play was much more even, with both sides going from one end to the other, with Gillingham trying to build their lead, and the Hurricanes attempting to find a way back into the game. Some great play in the middle of the field, between Ben Sanderson and Tom Borrer, put Damian Seder through a hole in the defensive line. Seder sprinted through the line and was brought down by a last ditch tackle. The Hurricanes momentum was killed however, when Owen Williams was sin binned for a penalty at the breakdown. Yet this was shortly followed up by the Gillingham openside being binned himself, for not rolling away quick enough with the Sandown forwards trying to hammer their way to the try line. Moments later man of the match Zak Chiverton stepped through a whole in the line for the Hurricanes second try, 26-10. This score was nullified by a try from the home side, but was not converted, 31-10.
The Hurricanes gave a good account of themselves, but on the day could not hold out their more experienced counterparts.
1st XV Captain Sam Flux reflected on the result, post game:
“Regardless of the the long trip, we always felt we had an opportunity of progressing, but today was not our day. Absolute credit to our boys today, especially the young lads up front, Damian Seder, Harry Hopper and Jack Winter, who gave a good account of themselves. Also to debutante Dan Sayers on the flank. Overall it is an experience for the team. There are not many lads that would have made a trip of this length and duration before, and also play a game of this quality. I would also like to say a thank you to Gillingham Anchorians, they are a great set of lads and were very welcoming to us and the supporters, and understood how long a day it was for us. Finally thank you to the supporters that came all the way to Kent to cheer us on. We will be back in the cup next season, and hopefully we can go a steps further next year with the experience of this year under our belts.”
The Hurricanes now turn their attention the Hampshire Premier and maintaining their 2nd place in the league, when they travel to Gosport & Fareham 2nd XV on Saturday 1st December.
Sandown & Shanklin 2nd XV welcome Chineham RFC 2nd XV to the Fairway, on Saturday as well. 2pm Kick off, with all welcome down at the Clubhouse to watch the game.