After the traditional exchange of New Year greetings, and passwords for PlayStations, training started with the lethargy normally associated with the Cheshire X-box squad. However, it wasn’t long before Andy, Paul, Nick and new coach Stuart made the boys realise Christmas was truly over.
Sandbach 7 – 7 Newcastle-under-Lyme
Newcastle kicked off, immediately putting Sandbach under pressure from good rucking and ball stealing, but the defence worked hard to withstand the pressure and run it out on several occasions. Initially, Newcastle looked stronger in the scrums, but it wasn’t long before our forwards matched them in strength and determination.
From a Newcastle kick, Rai took a brilliant low catch, and made great yardage with a strong straight run. Constant good tackling by all the Sandbach squad stopped Newcastle making much progress. On more than one occasion in this tight game, Jimmy made good steals and forced the play into the Newcastle half. Danny P, Alex, and Joe demonstrated determination and persistence making strong quality runs.
Defensively Kieron and Rhys made an excellent try saving tackle on the line, stalling a final Newcastle attack and bringing the first half to an end.The second half started with a great run by Greg, putting Newcastle on the back foot. The game settled into a period of mid field to and fro. Chris replaced Kieron at full back position.
Two great drives by Sandbach almost led to success, whilst at the other end Danny P prevented a potential try coming from a good move by Newcastle. A sustained period of pressure from Newcastle ensued. Max came on for Guy. A series of good tackles by Newcastle and good rucking resulted in a try in the corner which was comfortably converted by the opposition.
Undeterred, our boys took advantage from a penalty around the half way line, which resulted in Alex driving hard despite having three Newcastle players hanging off him and ultimately stopping him inches from the line. Joe Curwen saw the opportunity and forced his way over for a well deserved try. This was ably converted by Kyran.
A fantastic tackle by Matt Hopton in the centre of the pitch on Newcastle’s biggest player allowed Sandbach to make good ground and finish the last few minutes strongly.Overall a good tight well fought and well refereed game ending with the honours even, with one try and a conversion to each team.
Sandbach 0 – 7 Newcastle-under-Lyme
The game started with a fantastic catch by Mathew Murray which created the first Sandbach attack. However seconds later, the ball was at the opposite end of the field with Kieron forced to make a try saving tackle on the line. This momentarily halted the Newcastle attack but led to a series of scrums beneath the Sandbach post, this took the momentum out of the game but our forwards matched the opposition strength and our defence held strong.
The game then opened up for a period due to some good quality kicking from both teams. Fast runs by Kieron brought the ball out of defence and allowed us to make good ground into the opposition half with Max following up with similar good runs.
Two strong drives by Ollie, saw the half end on a strong note for Sandbach , but still no score.
The second half started with Rhys moving to full back, Guy replacing Tom at prop, and Danny P back on the pitch. With only two minutes of the game underway, Kieron, replaced the injured Danny Jakeman .
A good interception by Rhys, and a strong tackle by Max halted a good Newcastle attack. The pressure continued with Newcastle eventually moving the ball across the full width of the pitch and running in a try which they duly converted. Jarvis then replaced Max and a series of great tackles by Kofi, Matty and Kieron ended several Newcastle attacks.
A good tackle and run by Rhys forced Newcastle back into their half for several minutes before they could raise any form of attack. The game ended with valiant defending by Sandbach but resulting in a win for Newcastle.
by our guest reporter, Steve Murphy
The boys showed great determination and spirit. Players worked extremely hard in the scrums, rucks and mauls, there were some wonderful examples of quality tackling and great work by the backs kicking and running the ball out of defence.
Overall a great effort by everyone, very well done!
This week’s medals for players of the week go to: Tom – for his determination, strength, and aggression.
Mattie – for his continuous improvement, showing good catching skills, strength, and confidence in his drives.
Kieron – for his great tackling and his electrifying runs out of defence.
Finally, a worthy mention goes to George, for demonstrating an ever growing confidence.