Match report: Sandown and Shanklin RFC v Alresford RFC, 8 December 2018


The Hurricanes Recover from Horror Start

Sandown & Shanklin RFC defeat Alresford on the road, 20 – 22, after going 17 – 0 behind.

In a strange twist of fate this fixture was again reversed, with the same reason to last years fixture, to allow a function at the Sandown & Shanklin Clubhouse. Fortunately, Alresford were kind enough to allow this to happen, and this sort of action highlights how important it is to generate revenue for the Club. In fact, Alresford relished the opportunity for hosting the Hurricanes, which would all become clear following the first 20 minutes of the game…

A tentative and slow start caught Sandown & Shanklin napping, and with no.8 Darren Carew attempting to clear the ball from the back of the scrum, the kick spiralled upwards and when it came down, was claimed by an Alresford player for the first score, 5 – 0. This only seemed to unsettle the Hurricanes, as the home side built up territorial pressure. The only praise for the away side at this time was that their scrum held and even drove back a very strong Alresford pack. However, despite this ascendancy the hosts came back at Sandown & Shanklin and following a few missed tackles, they were in again for their second score, within the first quarter. The try converted, the afternoon was becoming quite long the for the visitors, 12 – 0.
Then things went from bad to worse, when a miss-called line out was picked off by one of the Alresford forwards, and the worst start imaginable was complete, with the home side in a 17 – 0 lead, with about 10 minutes of the first remaining. Damian Seder was substituted for a knock, putting Sam Flux into the fray.

Following the restart Sandown & Shanklin soon managed to regain the ball from a penalty, and when the line out was secured, they drove the maul from just inside the Alresford half, to well within the opposition 22. This boost of energy and assertion sparked the away side into life, and a few phases later the ball was spun to prop Ben Shannon who barged his way over the try line. Tom Borrer’s conversion was just short, but the away side were coming back to life, 17 – 5.

The restart was expertly claimed Martin Richomme, and with new life in the Hurricanes, the ball was passed down the line to the Wedderkop brothers, who broke the first few tackles to keep the momentum rolling. This was followed up by strong carrying by stand-in captain Sam Rees, and Darren Carew, which dragged play into the Alresford 22 again. Following a few more phases by the forwards and a break by fly-half Sam Tyson, the ball again found its way into Ben Shannon’s hand for his and the Hurricanes second score. Borrer converted, which cut the Alresford winning margin to 17 – 12 at the half time break.

The second half began with the Hurricanes re-energised and starting much better than they had in the first half. Nevertheless, the hosts were determined to increase the winning margin and put the game out of reach, hammering the Hurricanes try line for the first ten minutes of the second half. Despite this pressure the away side held firm, and limited Alresford to a penalty kick, 20 – 12. Once Sandown & Shanklin had obtained possession and were back on the ball, they were able to play the territory game, and with the benefit of the wind behind them, this allowed the visitors to get into the Alresford half. Another meaningful line out maul was then driven deep into the Alresford 22, and following some strong carrying phases from the forwards, the ball was eventually spun down the line to winger and Man of the Match, Owen Williams, who sprinted into the corner for the third try of the game for Sandown & Shanklin. The tricky conversion was missed by Borrer, yet it was now a three point game, 20 – 17.

With around 15 minutes remaining, the knocks and injuries were starting to mount up, and as the away side rotated Henry Bagnall for a knock and Ben Shannon likewise, the home side were dropping with injuries as well. This resulted in going to uncontested scrums, nullifying what had been an advantage for Sandown & Shanklin in the earlier stages. Nevertheless, with the frenetic last ten minutes of the game being most played between the 10 metre lines, the Alresford defence was becoming desperate to stop the Hurricanes attacks and began to give away penalties at the breakdown. This allowed Flux to kick the penalty deep into the Alresford 22. Then what has become a customary weapon for the Hurricanes, a well caught line out, and strong formed maul drove right up to the hosts try line. The Hurricanes backs then joined into help Darren Carew over the line for the final score of the game, and the narrowest of leads in favour of the away side. Borrer’s conversion slid wide, 20 – 22.

The final moments of the fixture were then played out just on the halfway line, as both sides looked to find something to secure the result in their favour. Yet, in the end Sandown & Shanklin fought back to secure a memorable victory, against a strong Alresford side on the road.

Relieved Director of Rugby, Damien Marriott, reflected on the game from the Hurricanes:

“We could not of got off to a worst start if we had tried. Three very silly and easily preventable tries we offered up and gave Alresford and should have been the end of us. Especially when you consider how tight this league is at the moment, it would have really dented our ambitions for promotion. Though hats off to the 17 lads. It isn’t a game plan that any team would have wished for and to be playing against opposition with their tails up, wind and weather conditions against you, we could have folded then and there. But to dig deep like that and get the win was incredible, I would like to see any other side in the league do what we had done today”

Related links

Sandown and Shanklin RFC

Alresford RFC