Sandown & Shanklin make it seven from seven in tricky conditions.
Sandown and Shanklin RFC made the short trip across the Solent to play Fareham Heathens RFC in the seventh round of Hampshire Premier fixtures. The visitors knowing this could potentially be a tough fixture and a potential banana skin, with a Heathens side that always provides a physical and stern contest.
The slow Hurricanes start, however, would have fed the Heathens energy that they could cause an upset to the visitors 100% record so far this season. Making the most of the wind and the driving rain in their favour, Fareham pinned the Hurricanes in their 22, and when the away side tried to play too much rugby, errors compounded on top of each other. This provided Heathens with possession and thye managed to outflank the Sandown defence to score in the corner. An impressive conversion, increased their early lead to 7 – 0.
Not the start the away side were looking for, they attempted to find a way back into the game, and strong carrying from Captain Flux, and hooker Chiverton were punching holes in the Heathens defence. Yet, this decent work was going to waste as the Hurricanes eagerness to get even on the scoreboard, was causing the away side to push their play and force something to happen. This allowed the hosts to pin back Sandown in their 22, but solid work by Hopper and Seder at the line out, and the impressive front row of Dawson, Chiverton and Shannon, meant that the Hurricanes set piece was on top and gave them a strong platform to defend and launch attacks.
Following a string of penalties in favour of Sandown & Shanklin, fly-half Owen Williams pushed his forwards into Heathens territory and a customary strong catch and drive was driven forward with intent, and provided the opportunity for Ben Shannon to dot down. Flux struck the post with the conversion, but this provided a foothold for Sandown, 7 – 5.
This gave the Hurricanes refreshed momentum, and with the simplified gameplan, looked to get back on even terms before the end of the first half. Strong carrying from centres Tyson and Wedderkop, helped the forward efforts as they drove forward looking for more points. The momentum provided Hurricanes with a few more penalties at the breakdown, as the home side attempted to halt the away side. Another penalty was kicked superbly by Williams into the Heathens 22. Another line out drive got the forwards moving toward the try line, and when it was dragged short of the line the Sandown forwards bounced back up to find a way over the line. After a few pick and goes were held out, Luke Hunter barged his way over the try line for the Hurricanes second try. Flux again missed the difficult conversion from the touchline, but at half time, Sandown were up 7 – 10.
After the half time interval, and with the rain at least abating for the meantime, the Hurricanes set about trying to secure their lead. Recovering the ball from the restart, allowed the forwards to set the tone again, and with Shannon, Seder and Miselbach driving deep into the Heathens defence, this created the desired space for the backline, and when Borrer set free his backs, the ball made it’s way to Tyson who stepped inside the oncoming defence and score the third try for Sandown. Flux had found his kicking boots, and the Hurricanes increased their lead to 7 – 17.
From the restart, the Hurricanes made their way back into the Heathen 22. A string of penalties in favour of the visitors kept pressure in the opposition 22. A foolish quick tap penalty from Flux, spurned another opportunity when the ball was knocked on. Then moments later, another penalty was kicked over by Flux, to increase the Sandown & Shanklin margin by three points, 7 – 20.
Off the restart, the ball was secured by Barrett, who capitalised who a short kick and raced away. As the ball came back the other way, the man of the match, Sam Dawson made a superb break from the ten-metre line and drove deep into the Fareham 22, before being brought down. By the time the ball was brought back to the other side of the field, the number of defenders had been tied in, and Ben Shannon went over for his second try. Flux converted the tricky conversion, 7 – 27.
With twenty minutes remaining, Hurricanes brought on young Connor King at hooker, for his first appearance for the 1st XV, alongside experienced back-rowers, Wayne Williams and Harrison Booth. This refreshed the energy in the Hurricanes, and another burst from the away side forwards put Michael Barrett away down the blindside and he sprinted away to secure the result for the away side, despite a tricky start. Flux converted, 7 – 34.
Director of Rugby Damien Marriott, still trying to dry out, shared his thoughts following his side’s victory:
“With these conditions today, away from home, we would have been happy if we had won 6 – 0. So to manage the victory and then obtain the bonus point, is a real credit to the lads. The skillset that was on show today was so high in such horrible conditions, and then we were very clinical in taking the opportunities that came our way and taking them.”
No fixtures this forthcoming weekend, for both the 1st and 2nd XV’s. However, with the heroics of the England boys, the Clubhouse will be showing the England vs South Africa, Rugby World Cup Final. Clubhouse open from 08.00am and kick-off is at 09.00am, so get down the Club to support the boys!
Match report: Sandown and Shanklin RFC