Sandown & Shanklin RFC defeat Farnborough RFC, in their away fixture in Hampshire Premier, continuing their 100% start to the league season
Sandown and Shanklin RFC travelled up the county to play Farnborough RFC in their fifth league fixture of the season. The visitors looking to maintain their 100% start to the season, meanwhile the hosts searching for their first victory of the league season.
In damp and tricky conditions the Hurricanes kicked off and instantly started putting the pressure on the Farnborough attack, and managed to steal a turnover in the first few minutes. With the conditions playing their part and preventing either side from really spreading the ball wide quickly, a succession of handling errors and scrums occurred, as both teams adjusted to the weather.
Initiative was with the Hurricanes early on, and a penalty was awarded to the away side, thirty metres from the try line. Flux elected to kick the penalty, but the kick ended up sliding narrowly wide of the posts. The home side managed to clear the lines, but the Hurricanes were back in the Farnborough 22, following another penalty which was this time kicked to the corner by Flux. The resulting line out was driven toward the Farnborough try line and despite the home side trying to cleverly not engage the maul, opposition forwards had been dragged into the drive, which was then driven over and scored by Zak Chiverton. Flux this time knocked over the difficult conversion, for an early 0 – 7 advantage.
Sensible play from the Hurricanes and their forwards who earned the territory through strong running and not trying to push many passes or offloads meant that their momentum gained a few more penalties in their favour. Again they were kicked to the corner for the catch and drive, and were halted this time around by the Farnborough forwards. Still, maintaining possession, the forwards recycled the ball and man of the match, Liam Little fed Flux, who charged over from ten metres to score the Hurricanes second try and his second in as many weeks. Converting his own kick, Flux doubled Sandown & Shanklin’s lead, 0 – 14.
Following another tricky restart, the Hurricanes secured possession and looked to play the game back in the Farnborough half. With a lineout on the halfway, the home side reclaimed the ball and set about attempting to find a foothold and a way back into the game. A series of errors from Sandown & Shanklin almost cost them dearly. First with the opportunity for the ball to be cleared, and then, fortunately, a scrum awarded to the away team. They set about clearing again, but the kick was charged down, and was held short of the try line. In desperation flanker, Hopper was adjudged to impede at the breakdown and was shown the yellow card and the Hurricanes were down to fourteen men. However, the visitors defended manfully, as the hosts battered at the door to find a way through. When another attacking thrust was halted and turned over, Sandown learned their lessons and cleared their lines. They then managed to switch defence into attack, by putting pressure on the Farnborough attacker and force the turnover. Then quick thinking saw the Hurricanes attack outflank the host’s defence, and safe handling set up Chiverton for his second score, after stepping through the scrambling defence. Flux converted the conversion from the angle, to increase their lead to 0 – 21.
The Hurricanes forwards worked hard with the front row of Dawson, Chiverton, and Richomme carrying hard and keeping themselves busy around the park. The final try of the first half came from Wedderkop. With the forwards working hard to provide quality possession for the backline, Little fed his half-back partner Williams, who found centre Tyson and then darted through the defence. A phase later some more quick handling from back row Miselbach set Wedderkop free and into the corner. Flux just missing the conversion, but the Hurricanes went into the break, 0 – 26.
Following the half time interval, Farnborough started the brightest and tested the Hurricanes defence. A sustained period of attack just inside the Sandown 22 by the hosts saw Hopper and Rees come to the fray with their tackling and disruption at the breakdown. The Farnborough winger managed to squeeze down the line but was tackled out of play to prevent the score. The Hurricanes also survived another charge down and finally cleared their lines to ease the pressure.
In the middle of the field, the visitors could put pressure on the Farnborough set-piece, and after a turnover at the scrum, the ball was spun quickly to winger Barrett who then sped toward the try line. He was stopped short, and with the ball recycled quickly again, the ball made it’s way to Wedderkop for his second of the game. Flux again converted the tricky conversion, 0 – 33.
With the condition worsening for periods, the game became quite attritional as the Farnborough attack attempted to find a way through the strong Hurricanes defensive line. Chiverton was substituted for Ben Shannon who made an immediate impact. With possession secured by Flux after diving on a loose ball, the Hurricanes attack outmanoeuvred the Farnborough defence and Sandown flooded through, with Tyson making the break. A smart offload moments later to Shannon saw him charging over the try line. Flux missed the conversion, but the score was now, 0 – 38.
Moments later another attack in the Farnborough 22 was curtailed as the home side strayed offside. The penalty was kicked to touch and with the hosts attempting to not engage the maul again, the Hurricanes were switched on enough to transfer possession, and Frenchman Richomme charged over to score. Flux again pushed his conversion wide, 0 – 43.
The final score came from Ben Shannon to secure his brace of scores from the bench. After making a break on the halfway line and charging through he was tackled just outside the Farnborough 22. Possession was recycled and taken up to the Farnborough five metre line. Shannon by this point was back involved and he picked up the ball from the base of the ruck and dived over. Flux converted the conversion and secured an impressive fifty point victory for the traveling Hurricanes.
In the absence of Director of Rugby Damien Marriott, 1st XV Captain Sam Flux reflected on his side’s victory:
“We did very well today, bearing in mind the conditions and the efforts of the hosts today who were desperate to get their first win this season. We had a game plan and did not look to overcomplicate anything, by causing ourselves too many issues. Liam put in a decent performance at scrum-half today. As well as Rob on the wing, the wet weather could have been treacherous, but he managed it well despite being under pressure several times. Most importantly the effort by everyone to prevent the opposition from scoring today was impressive. Especially considering how close Farnborough were at times to scoring.”
Tries: Z Chiverton (2),S Flux,J Wedderkop (2),M Richomme,B Shannon (2)
Conversions: S Flux (5)
Sandown & Shanklin next week welcome Eastleigh RFC 2nd XV to the Fairway. Last season they caused the Hurricanes some issues in wet conditions and a stern test will be expected again. The Hurricanes 2nd XV are back in action and are making the long trip to Aldershot & Fleet RFC. Both the 1st XV and 2nd XV are putting their 100% starts to season on the line again hope to maintain such an impressive start to the year.