Sandown & Shanklin 2nd XV push Aldershot & Fleet to the limit
The toughest test for the Hurricanes 2nd XV team this season proved to be the away trip up the M3 to Aldershot and Fleet RFC! Not only getting there was littered with issues, but the game was somewhat overshadowed by unsportsmanlike behaviour by the hosts and yellow cards for players after tap penalties.
The game started like any other for the Hurricanes with a high kick-off into the October sky by regular dead-ball specialist Mitch Farrant. The catch was taken well by the hosts, and they started an attack with there forwards, this was to be the backbone of their attack. A characteristic strong Sandown defence repelled the attack for numerous phases, before Chris Perfect was thought to have been impeding play at the breakdown, following a superb double tackle on two opposition front-row forwards. The penalty was kicked deep and the resulting rolling maul gave the home team their first points of the game.
The Hurricanes went straight back on the offensive and a great catch looking into the sun from Kyle Draper was returned with interest, after Draper shrugged off the first defender and handed off the second to continue his progress. The home team then went off their feet at the breakdown in their efforts to win the ball back. Moments later in an attacking position, the Hurricanes had a scrum and Number 8, Wayne Williams picked up the ball from the base and glided past the first two defenders and then blast through the fullback to reach over for the visitor’s first points. The conversion added and the Hurricanes were level.
The jubilance was short-lived though as Draper sustained a leg injury in the build-up to the try and Aldershot & Fleet rung the changes. Despite not reducing to even numbers as stated in Hampshire RFU laws. The home side had their way for the next quarter and built a lead on the scoreboard with a couple of tries. The Hurricanes however never took a backward step, and made the hosts work hard for their scores. Impressive tackling from the back row of Williams, Connor King at 6, Dan Sayers at 7, and the Perfect brothers, kept the home side honest. The backs played their part in the defence also when the ball was shipped out led by Captain Liam Little and Mike Cooper (vc) they did force errors from the opposition. The second try for Sandown came from Mike Cooper, after powerful phases from the forwards barrelling over the gain line and gaining territory, it caused the home side to infringe again. A quick tap from L Little pushed the home team back and having gained 10 yards he popped to Cooper who managed to find a gap and power through the final defenders attempted tackle. Forward passes halted some opportunities for the visitors to really get points on the board, both Sam Buckingham and Charles Little threw passes adjudged to have gone forward but both atoned for their mistakes. Firstly Little with great play at full-back, picking up and scraps and running them back with purpose and making important last-ditch tackles. Then Buckingham with a superb individual effort, showing both speed and strength.
Buckingham went on to score a try after cutting an excellent short line with broke two tackles and then powered past the last defenders. Farrant kicked all conversion and showed his skill again in a aggressive and testing match, only missing two penalties but finding touch with all attempts.
The only blemish for the Hurricanes was the yellow card to Dan Sayers. In an inevitable event where he could do nothing to avoid receiving a reprimand, he tackled a player after taking a tap kick but was unfortunately too close. The same happened later in the game as the Aldershot & Fleet Number 8 tackled L Little from a few feet away, following a quick tap penalty. The 6”5 to 5”7 mismatch ended with the man in hosts back-rower in the sin bin. This would be costly, as Sayers picked and went from the base of the attacking Hurricanes scrum this time and used his pace to make his way through the defensive line, to score down under the posts and set up a nervy final few minutes for the hosts. In the end, a fantastic game played in great spirits by the Hurricanes under immense pressure by a team who did everything they could manage to try and take the victory. Final score, 44 – 31 to Aldershot & Fleet.
Captain Liam Little was pleased with his side’s effort. He went on to say:
“Hats off to the entire team, with some who played in positions that they have never played in before. There was a team effort and after a terrible trip to get to the game we managed to come together and put in a very impressive performance away from home. I couldn’t be prouder, we just need to iron out the creases in our game and hopefully get back to winning ways next week, when we welcome Alton RFC 2nd XV to the Fairway. ”
Match report: Sandown and Shanklin RFC