Purley John Fisher RFC 15-31 Sandown and Shanklin RFC 1XV
Hurricanes Progress to Third Round of the Junior Vase with 14 men!
Sandown & Shanklin travelled to old foes Purley John Fisher with just 14 men, but come away with victory and progression into the Round Three of the RFU Junior Vase
Sandown & Shanklin retraced some old steps of years gone by, as they made the trip up Surrey 2 side Purley John Fisher RFC, for the second round of the RFU South East Division Junior Vase. This fixture once graced the fixture list for London South West 3, and would yield fast paced, high intensity and equally high scoring games. And this latest edition between the two clubs did not disappoint!
The Hurricanes made the journey with only 14 men, yet the mood was not ruined being a man down for the entire 80 minutes, nor was it dampened after an electric start by the Surrey based side, who quickly used the width of their pitch to out flank the Hurricanes defence for a very early lead, 5-0.
The visitors could have easily let their heads drop after conceding in the first few minutes of the game, but after reclaiming possession off the restart through Damian Seder, the Hurricanes were soon threatening the Purley defence themselves. As soon as the Hurricanes got into their phases, a smart pass to Henry Bagnall meant they he slid through a hole in the hosts defence. After calmly passing to Luke Wedderkop, a phase later man of the match, Martin Richomme was able to collect the ball and score to get the away side back into the game, 5-5.
The hosts struck back almost immediately, again using the Hurricanes narrow defence to their advantage and getting around the outside, 10 – 5.
Yet again, this could have easily deflated the momentum for Sandown & Shanklin, yet they rallied and man of the match Matt Miselbach fed Jack Wedderkop who was causing the Purley defence issues with some great lines against the grain. As possession was carefully looked after again, the ball was spun wide to Luke Wedderkop again, and after a high tackle stopped him short of the line, the referee awarded a penalty try to the Hurricanes 10-12.
The frenetic start of the game continued, and barely reached the first quarter of the game, the Purley forwards had clicked into gear and earned their third score of the game, 15-12, however, the tit-for-tat scoring did not stop there. As the away side regathered the ball, the old heads of Adam Tyas and Sam Flux steadied the ship with strong carries into the heart of the Purley defence. This time around Henry Bagnall was on the receiving end, as he was found in space and managed to score. With Flux missing the conversion, this provided the Hurricanes with a 15-17 score. With another quarter of the half to be played, the game settled into a slower rhythm, as the both sides attempted to play, handling errors and mistakes crept into the game.
The second half began with the home side enjoying a sustained period of pressure on the outside of the Hurricanes 22. Jack Winter, Ben Shannon and Harry Hopper, all working double time and making important tackles to keep the home side at bay. Some excellent defensive work from Seder and Hopper, meant that as the PJF pressure built, the Hurricanes stole possession back, and the stands half backs, Matt Miselbach and Zak Chiverton could clear the lines effectively. As the game approached the final quarter, the relentless defensive work from the Hurricanes kept the home side at bay, and could then eventually begin to attack themselves as the frustration of the PJF 15 was beginning to award penalties at the breakdown. The Sandown & Shanklin maul worked well and gained invaluable metres, and with play just outside the 22, another penalty was awarded to the 14 men. Flux elected to kick the penalty, but with the kick again missing, Purley cleared their lines up to around the half way line. This allowed the Hurricanes forwards to set a platform, and as Flux offered another carry into the midfield and sucking in opposition defenders, spaces were beginning to appear and offloads were starting to stick. This time around, Chiverton fed Jack Wedderkop with a smart offload, and Jack sped away to dot down under the posts. Flux converted and pushed the Hurricanes into a 9 point lead with less than 15 minutes remaining, 15-24.
Remaining clam and cool, the 14 men from Sandown & Shanklin worked their way back up the field, and were eating up time with line outs in the Purley 22. The home side were desperate to regain possession and to get back into the fixture, however as the clock ticked red they infringed and Flux attempted to kick the penalty to end the game.
In a strange fashion to end any game, let alone this one, the ball struck the post, but bounced down to Charles Little who smartly followed the kick in and collected the ball. With the home side defence some what stunned, Charles stepped past the last defender to score. With Zak Chiverton slotting the conversion, the Hurricanes were victorious 15-31 with 14 men.
Captain Sam Flux was delighted and full of praise for the 13 men that travelled all this way.
“I could not praise the boys that turned up today enough. Purley John Fisher have always been a tough opponent, and the task was even harder with 14 men in all. However, I trusted that if we all stuck together and didn’t complicate how we wanted to play, I felt we could have done something special today, in which we did!
The lads gave their all today for the club, and for that they should be commended. Hopefully it will give them the confidence, that with a full squad or not, we have the ability to challenge most teams and we look forward to the next round of the draw on Wednesday!”
The Third Round draw for the London & South East Junior Vase will take place on Wednesday, and Sandown & Shanklin are now the leading Hampshire team remaining in the competition, after fellow Hampshire Premier sides Basingstoke and Fareham Heathens were knocked out. The third round will be held on Saturday 24th November, in under two weeks time. For more details, follow the link to the London & South East Division website.
Next weekend the attention for the 1st XV turns back to the Hampshire Premier, with another stern test, as the Hurricanes welcome third placed FordingbridgeRFC to the Fairway, on Saturday 17th November. Kick off set to be at 2.30pm.
The 2nd XV look to continue their good form, with an away trip to Alton RFC 2nd XV, who sit below the Hurricanes in the table.