Sandown & Shanklin RFC travelled across the Solent to play Tottonians RFC in their re-arranged fixture, after the original game was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch and the weather conditions a couple of weeks ago.
The Hurricanes didn’t get off to the best of starts, with the home side starting the brighter of the two teams. This was summed up by the visitors making a few errors and the Tottonians forwards then obtaining momentum as a consequence. Then with the defence caught a cold, the host’s scrum-half sniped through and scored the opening try of the game. The try converted the home side had earned themselves an early 7 – 0 lead. Sandown & Shanklin looked to fight back and were finding success with their forward patterns, yet, silly errors were creating penalties against them and preventing the away side from building meaningful territory and possession.
When the Hurricanes managed to string a few phases together, they had the Totts defence going backwards, as strong running and footwork from Damian Seder and Harry Hopper was starting to cause the bigger Tottonians forwards issues. With the Sandown & Shanklin midfield starting to dictate the attack, the home sides defence started to stretch. The ball was then spun down the line to Flux, who then superbly offloaded to the onrushing Matt Miselbach who then finished the opportunity well, despite several defenders trying to stop him. The conversion slid wide, but the Hurricanes were back into the game, 7 – 5.
However, the home side struck back moments later, slotting a penalty kick over to extend the margin, 10 – 5, as the Sandown penalties were again starting to hurt the momentum they were trying to generate.
As the first half wore, the Hurricanes were able to pick holes in the Tottonians defence and use their stamina and handling ability to out manoeuvre the host’s defensive line. Another attack down the blindside and quick handling from centres Tyson and Miselbach got the ball into Ben Sanderson’s hands, who then finished off the move by barging his way over the try line, in his obscenely coloured new boots. Flux again missed the conversion, as the kick pushed across the face of the goal, but the Hurricanes were back on level terms, 10 – 10.
The visitors finished the half with a flourish, following some great work by the forwards up front, the ball was spun wide and this time on the edge of the defence another Flux offload found winger, Owen Williams, who flirted with the touchline and last-ditch tackles sprinted away and then under the posts for the third Hurricanes try of the game. Flux converted and this put the Hurricanes into the lead at the half time break, 10 – 17.
The second half began with the Hurricanes looking to increase their margin and the half-backs Jordan and Mitchell were directing traffic, as the visitors got themselves up to the opposition 5-metre line. With a penalty in their favour, the Hurricanes took the option of the scrum, however, a number of errors compounded on another and the possession was turned over to the hosts. Then moments later Totts had broken free and scored a breakaway try under the posts, and levelled the scores with the successful conversion, 17 – 17.
With play taking place between the teams 22’s both sides were trying to find a way to crack each other’s defences. The ill-discipline from the Hurricanes was still hurting their advances, as it allowed the home side the ability to clear their lines. Moments later, following some strong running from Martin Richomme and Sam Rees, the away side had accrued a penalty just outside the Totts 22. Flux elected to kick the penalty, and Sandown & Shanklin had edged themselves back into the lead, 17 – 20.
With the Hurricanes nudging ahead, they were soon threatening the Tottonianss 22 again, and with the sustained pressure was putting the Tottonians defence under increased stress. This time the carrying of Ben Shannon and Sam Flux, helping to keep the defence honest. This created space out wide, and when the ball found its way to, Man of the Match, Matt Miselbach’s hands, he went over for his second score of the game. The conversion successful, the margin was extended, 17 – 27.
With bonus point try secured, the away side set about trying to find another score to secure the result and make the final moments of the game a much calmer period for the away side. In the dying moments of the game, a well-claimed line out by Damian Seder saw the Hurricanes work their way up to the Tottonians five-metre line. The ball was moved wide into the centres, and a quick phase and switch back to the blindside which found prop Ben Shannon in acres of space, for him then to barge his way over the line. Flux converted to end the game 17 – 34. The Hurricanes now regain the 2nd spot in the Hampshire Premier table, following last week’s defeat to Bognor RFC who had overtaken them.
Sandown & Shanklin return to action this Saturday (2nd March) when they welcome New Milton & District RFC to the Fairway. Kick-off is at 2.30pm and the Club is also hosting a VP’s Curry Lunch prior to the game.
The 2nd XV are on the road to Fordingbridge RFC 2nd