Top level Rugby came to Sandbach on Saturday as Derby RFC came to town for the opening game of National League Rugby at Bradwall Road. The large crowd were treated to a feast of points from the home team in the highest level of sporting contest played in Sandbach for decades (if not ever).
The opening 10 minutes were a tight and tense affair as the teams, who had never met before, tested each other. Derby played the ball close to the forwards and showed a good rolling maul technique that withheld possession from the home team for long periods. The initial deadlock was eventually broken by a Benny Elliott penalty awarded for a deliberate offside by the Derby forwards. It took another 15 minutes of hard work from both sets of forwards before Sandbach span the ball wide to give Elliott a simple try in the corner, which he failed to convert.
Final try of the half came to Prop Matt Beesley as a just reward for some excellent bullocking charges throughout the opening period. In this instance Beesley took the ball on the opposition 22 and delicately side-stepped three defenders (thanks to Carl Cooper’s SAQ work here) before charging over the full back to score in the corner. Half time score 13-0
In the second half, coach Simon Verbickas began to flex the new laws for rolling substitutions and introduced centre, Marcus Broad for his league debut and Josh Longson in the back row. Youngster Longson made an immediate impact and Derby couldn’t seem to get to grips with a Back Row forward with the speed and agility of a winger. Longson worked well with Ross Sutherland and stifled a series of excellent Derby moves, turning defence into attack with speed and alacrity.
After weathering this series of attacks from Derby, quick ball from Cargill set Broad free to run at the Derby defence and a subtle sidestep and delicate delayed pass to Matt Pollen gave the other debutant centre an opening that he took to score under the posts. Elliott converted. With the Derby forwards now tiring Sandbach were winning more possession and from his own 22, Dan Massey ran most of the pitch and fed the ball to Pollen who wasn’t going to miss from 5 metres. This try was probably cream of the crop and again gave most deserved recognition to Massey who had up until then been restricted to a brilliant defensive display. Pollen’s 2nd Try was again converted by Elliott.
At this level, any lapse in concentration will be punished and within 4 minutes, lively Derby Stand-Off Phil Robinson, had picked an elegant line and ran through to score an unopposed try. In the final 5 minutes, the Sandbach fitness told as Elliott scored one more penalty and then ran one more try to complete his brace for the match.
Sandbach nonagenarian Geo Jones, sponsored the match and refused to pick an individual Man of the Match, but rather awarded both teams a Jug of Beer for a “splendid afternoon’s entertainment”.
See the Derby Match Report Here: http://www.derbyrugbyfootballclub.com/seniors/match_reports_2012_13_1st_XV.php
The next National League Game at Bradwall Road is on Saturday 15th September when Midland giants Nuneaton come to play. This again will be an excellent opportunity for Sandbach residents to come down and watch two teams of top class athletes as well as supporting your local club. Entry is just £5.00. Come and see our fantastic facilities, have a drink at the bar, or perhaps a freshly cooked burger and chips with a coffee from Café Symphony at SRUFC. You will be made most welcome!