Sandbach lose on the road to the ‘Street
In perhaps their worst performance for 18 months Sandbach lost this close match against the energetic team from Coventry. With some enforced changes in the backs and the forwards lacking any cohesion Sandbach were unable to take what ought, on paper, to have been a comparatively easy win.
Broadstreet started in a lively manner, showing plenty of spirit and vigour attacking rucks and mauls and not allowing ‘Bach to settle into their rhythm. The early exchanges were strangely punctuated by a series of poor high kicks from both teams, which were in turn poorly handled by the receiving defenders. One such kick from Broadstreet caught, the normally ‘sticky fingered’ Sandbach winger Jack Leech off-guard and, as the ball bounced free, the chasing home team backline smothered Leech, recycled the ball quickly and popped it to their centre Rob Knox for an easy run-in. Stand-off Dan Richards scored the extra two points and soon followed that up with another three as Sandbach were penalised for offside in defence.
On 17 minutes Sandbach finally got their traditional game working as, from a set scrum the ball spun right to centre Dan Massey who beat his man and was able to draw in the winger before slipping the ball to Leech, who ran in the score a simple try. Less than four minutes later Massey and Leech reversed roles as this time Leech slipped the ball to Massey who ran around the hapless ‘Street winger to score under the posts. Ben Elliot, playing out of position at scrum-half, took the extra two points on this occasion.
Leechy shows ex-Bach 3rd Teamer Nick Alsopp how to do it
Ten minutes later the same situation occurred, only this time Massey failed to hold the pass, when a second run-in looked certain for him.As Sandbach started to establish themselves and put further pressure on Broadstreet, they were awarded a penalty as tempers frayed in the home defence. Elliot slotted the penalty to leave Sandbach 15-10 ahead at half-time and looking good to run away with the second half.
Unusually, Sandbach stayed on the pitch at half time and for whatever reason this change of routine signalled a complete change in performance in the second half.
Sandbach started to leak penalties one after the other, nothing serious, but often reversing and thwarting what looked a promising attack. It was almost painful to watch as we could see normally well-rehearsed moves going awry. Credit must go to Broadstreet at this stage as they seemed to sense this malaise and piled on the pressure, capitalising on a penalty kick opportunity before, 17 minutes into the half, adding their final try.Following a series of pick and drives, the home pack finally trundled over and despite claims of ‘held up’ by the Sandbach defence, the referee awarded the try to Broadstreet prop Ben Dawes. Richards again converted.
At this point Sandbach introduced 1st Team debutant Phil Anjelkovic at scrum half, allowing Elliot to move back to his traditional role at full back. ‘Phalange’ looked very sharp and confident in the role and one could sense that the team felt more balanced with this line-up. Sandbach began to make a few more excursions towards the Broadstreet line but, other than an Elliot penalty goal, fell short of scoring as they forced their opportunities, when perhaps a more measured pass would have been the way to go.
With five minutes remaining and only leading by two points Broadstreet were awarded another penalty for offside and sealed the game with another good kick from Richards.
Is this where it all went wrong?
The players were very disappointed after the game as they realised that they let themselves down rather badly. Next week however is a new game and we are very much looking forward to welcoming another new team to Bradwall Road as Hinckley Rugby Club visit for the first time. Kick off at 2.15, with a tasty pre-match encounter as Sandbach Under-8s host their opposite numbers from Hinckley on the 1st Team pitch.