AK 26 vs Sandbach 7
Archie Irlam- Mowbray
Sandbach arrived at AK who have a very good setup in terms of pitch numbers etc, with Richard expecting to ref for the 4th time in 5 away matches (I must say though AK had very good reasons to ask us to ref. so it was not an issue).
I must also add the both teams respected the 2 minutes silence impeccably.
The AK team had some very big lads, with at least 5 over 6 foot, we knew we would be under pressure in certain set pieces.
The early encounters favoured Sandbach and we were camped in AK’s half for the first quarter of the match with some very encouraging displays. Sandbach rucking was the best we had seen this season and couple a good clearance by Jordan R and a good run from Matt Reel all looked positive.
However we were then caught napping by “Will” who is AK’s 6 foot plus centre who ripped through our defence to give AK the lead. Whilst disappointing Sandbach rallied and learned from their mistakes and we pretty much contained Will for the rest of the game.
Jordan R kept the score down to 7 nil with some superb defence – yet again.
James Moore was then replaced due to injury by Alex Walker on the flank.
By this time AK had started to use the kicking game and had our backs turning to chase back on many occasions. However on one of these occasions just before half time Luke Pickles chased back to retrieve a kick, in his own 22. Once safely fielded he opened his legs and started towards halfway, by this time Josh Brookes had got back to support Luke. Just inside AK’s half Luke shipped the ball to the Sandbach number 8 (Josh) who showed that his new found sport of Athletics training had not been a waste of time by showing the AK defence a clean pair of heels. Luke then slotted the kick for the extra’s and we went into half time at 7 apiece.
At half time acting Manager Andy made 5 changes, all with players who have all been in a starting line-up for Sandbach on previous occasions. David made way for Archie, the Taylor brothers made way for Tom Stock and Jack Bayes, Christian made way Joseph Beckett and Matt made way for Alex Wardle.
For some reason my recollection of the rest of the game is a little hazy (i.e you have had the detail already).
The second half started as competitively as the first had finished and then unfortunately one of our players was yellow carded for a trip. This meant that the players on the pitch had to step it up another gear and in the end we conceded 2 tries during the sin bin and then one when we were back to a full 15.
My limited second half notes show James Finucane with an excellent tackle in the build-up to AK’s last try and also an excellent Solo break by Luke Pickles
It was also good to see George Morgan back on the pitch after getting injured in early season training, he put in a solid 10 minutes on the wing.
I must comment that one of AK’s players through a punch in the last minute of the game, which the ref did not see and I did not see so we cannot comment. However it would be remiss of me not to mention that AK’s touch judge did bring this to the attention of the ref. and gave the AK player a good talking to. It is good to see that AK support our philosophy of good, hard, clean rugby and on behalf of Sandbach I would like to thank AK for their hospitality and true rugby spirit.
I am now taking a break from coaching, knowing for well that the manner in which Sandbach played will only bring some big Wins in the months to come. Guys, I was very impressed by this performance.
MOM – forwards Ollie Taylor, back Luke Pickles.