Sandbach faced their toughest test of their campaign when they hosted unbeaten league leaders Sutton Coldfield on Saturday. Although they could not pull off a victory, the home team gave their visitors their toughest test of the year and nearly nicked it in the final quarter in front of a bumper crowd.
The visitors, oozing in confidence, came out strongly and were comfortable in retaining possession as they worked Sandbach from one side of the pitch to another, until the gap came and they were able to go five points up with in five minutes. Sandbach soon found their feet and started to establish themselves in the game, forcing mistake after mistake from the visitors. Ben Elliott was at hand to punish such mistakes, quickly racking up three penalties, before Sutton hit back with one of their own to make it 9-8.
Unfortunately that was not how the half finished, as Sutton broke and crashed over for their second try of the half, making it 15-9 to the visitors at the break, but with only six points separating the teams Sandbach went in knowing they were close as they were matching the table toppers in most areas.
That hope began to shine through, as Elliott latched on to a cute kick from Cargill, for him to dive over and impressively convert himself from wide out. However Sutton had not read the script and reacted sternly with confident, clinical finishing as they scored two tries in quick succession, giving them the bonus point and a 27-16 lead. Sandbach regrouped and came back strong again as Josh Longson was driven over for his second try in two games leading to a scintillating finish, as not satisfied with a losing bonus point, the home team wanted their first major scalp of the season. Unfortunately it was not meant to be and the visitors held strong to the final whistle, knowing full well they had been in a contest with every facet of their game questioned.
Sandbach will look to bounce back when they travel to Syston this weekend.