Sandown & Shanklin defeat visiting Alresford in fourth-round action in Hampshire Premier, with the Hurricanes maintaining their 100% start to the season.
The Hurricanes [Sandown and Shanklin RFC] welcomed Alresford RFC to the Fairway in their fourth league fixture of the season. Off the back of a resounding victory on the road to New Milton & District RFC the previous week, hopes were high for the hosts.
Nevertheless, the home side didn’t get off to the best of starts, when the visitors made the most of a passive start by Sandown, and managed to outflank the defence and score in the corner. The missed conversion a let off, it was not an ideal start to the game for the Hurricanes.
The home side struggled to clear the determined Alresford forwards at the breakdown to start with and made decent territory from the boot of Flux, when the away side repeatedly infringed at the breakdown. Once the Sandown forwards finally clicked into gear, a rolling maul gave the home side a great attacking platform, and with the ball spun down the backline, making it’s way to Man of the Match Ben Sanderson, who accelerated away for the hosts first score, which was converted, 7 – 5.
With the momentum back in favour of the home side, another sweeping attack in the Alresford half broke the opposition’s defence, and centre Sam Tyson capitalised by dotting down. Flux converted the try to edge the home side into the lead for the first time in the game, 14 – 5.
Again it wasn’t all plain sailing, with a series of penalty advantages coming to the away side, but they couldn’t find a way through the defence, and in the end, elected to kick a penalty to cut the deficit, 14 – 8.
This spurred the home side on, with superb carrying from prop Sam Dawson, making the most of his first full start for the Hurricanes, along with Carew, Chiverton and Hunter helping get on the front foot. With the patterns of play starting to click, eventually space opened up and when the ball made it’s way to fly-half Owen Williams, he was able to sprint clear of the scramble defence to dot down, 19 – 8.
A customary strong Hurricanes maul was stopped just outside of the Alresford 22, and the ball was spun wide. With the centres finding full-back Sanderson in space, who evaded defenders before being brought down. Support came from Flux, who then finished off the move by carrying past supporting defenders, to dive over the try line. The conversion missed, but the Hurricanes were ahead 24 – 8.
The half was brought to an end, with another back line move with put Tyson over for his second score of the game. The ball made it’s way to the wider channel and with Sanderson again creating the space for Tyson to take the ball and score. Flux converted, for a 31 – 8 lead at the interval.
The second half began with the Hurricanes picking up where they left off in the first half. Carrying from Flux who then offloaded to substitute Richomme who broke through the line to put Alresford on the back foot. A few phases later, fly-half Williams found Chiverton in space who sprinted in to get the first score of the second half. Flux converted, 38 – 8.
Despite being the ascendancy the visitors set about trying to find a way into the game and changed up their game plan, going very direct. A string of penalties in a row, meant that the home side held the opposition out, but lost flanker Wayne Williams to the sin bin. Subistitue James Pemberton entered the fray and upped the aggression and impact at the breakdown. Yet with the home side down to 14 players, Alresford eventually made the numbers advantage work in their favour and scored in the corner, 38 – 13.
The Hurricanes impressively struck back almost immediately. Following another steepling restart by O Williams, the ball was reclaimed by the Hurricanes forwards. A phase later Flux charged at the defence, and managed to offload superbly into Wedderkop’s hand who then had a free sprint over the try line. Flux converted for the hosts to nullify the Alresford score before, 45 – 13.
Still, down to 14 players, the Hurricanes pressed on, and a series of lineout catch and drives pushed the home side into the Alresford 22. This eventually opened up the space for Hooker Chiverton to burrow his way over the try line, after the opposition forwards were forced to stop the maul. Flux convered, 52 – 13.
The visitors did well to repel the attacks. Sandown ended up with a scrum on the Alresford five metre, and despite being held out, for a few phases, scrum-half Borrer found an overlap on the blindside, and sublime handling by the players involved put Tyson over for hat-trick of tries. Flux missed the conversion, but the final score 57 – 13 was a strong end result for the Hurricanes.
Final reflection from Director of Rugby, Damien Marriott:
“The way in which we played this afternoon was really promising. We made a few changes from the victory against New Milton last weekend, one being Sam Dawson with his first league, who start was excellent. Young Rob Newton Jnr on wing, also had a great game this week.
We knew that Alresford would hold on to the ball for long periods and try to put us under lots of pressure. So we challenged the team to get the ball back quickly, get it well away from their pack and tire them out. Hoping this over the course of the game, and with the power of our bench, we could then manage the game and this was executed. Defensively our mind-set was second to none. Much improved from last week and again our attack was firing. But it will be tested next week away to Farnborough RFC”
Tries: B Sanderson, S Tyson (3), O Williams, S Flux, Z Chiverton (2), J Wedderkop
Conversions: S Flux (6)
The Hurricanes make the trip up the county to Farnborough RFC, on Saturday 12th October, in a bid to maintain pressure on the early league leaders and maintain their own 100% start to the season.
The 2nd XV have a week off, following their fourth successive victory and sit at the top of Hampshire Division 3.