Another slip in the last few seconds saw Sandbach lose this close encounter as Bournville (AKA The Chocolate Men) score a try to clinch the game.
On a crisp but bright winter’s day Sandbach visited Bournville at their new home at The University of Birmingham. And so it was under the amazing University Clock Tower that the Sandbach boys came determined to break their run of 4 successive losses.
After a late arrival at the ground, Sandbach took a while to get into the game and, as with their last game, conceded a number of early penalties. Thankfully the Bournville kicker wasn’t able to punish the visitors as he would have hoped. He did however chip one penalty into touch and allow his forwards to take the resulting line-out and drive the ball over for an early try.
After the initial onslaught from the home team the game settled for 15 minutes, until a fine breakout by Sandbach winger Rich Murray was recycled quickly to the magnificent Josh Longson to score for the visitors. Elliot failed with the conversion. Interesting point here that all kicks, from both sides, in the first 30 minutes were poor and the ball sounded heavy….. Thereafter both teams found kicking easier and the ball flew well…….Change of Ball??
In the 32nd minute Sandbach were awarded a kickable penalty and Elliot duly took the points to lead Sandbach into the break 5 – 8 to the good.
The second half started much as the first with heavy pressure from Bournville, especially in the ruck and counter-ruck where their “FIRE” call seemed to signal a burst of energy from all players. Eventually after 10 minutes of pressure with the ball spinning across both sides of the pitch, Robin Eatough, broke the Sandbach defence and slipped the ball to his winger to score a fine try. The try was converted.
As the sun dropped lower and the floodlights came on, the teams exchanged a pair of tries from forward power, although Sandbach had to score theirs twice before the referee finally allowed the points. From a line-out Ally Burton took the ball at the back of the maul and touched down perfectly (photo evidence exists J ) only for the play to be pulled back and exchanged for a Sandbach penalty. This time Matt Beesley repeated Burton’s effort and convinced the ref that a try was the right decision. Elliot converted.
Within three minutes of this score Bournville had scored a copycat converted try at the other end to take the score to 19-15 in their favour. Not to be outdone Sandbach came back again 5 minutes later as Beesley popping up in the backs crashed over for his second, which was again converted by Elliot. 22-19 to Sandbach with just 8 minutes remaining.
In the dying 5 minutes, Sandbach came very close to sealing the game when a great move across the backs was halted by a dropped ball when the line beckoned.
In literally the last minute of the game Bournville came back again and Sandbach were unable to clear their lines. The ball went wide and that man Robin Eatough broke the line again and this time took the points himself. The conversion failed and the ref blew for ‘No-Side’.
Perhaps a disappointing result for Sandbach, but the game really illustrates the difference in standard at this level. One missed tackle or dropped pass is the difference between success and failure. It’s difficult to isolate any particular aspect of the game that is letting Sandbach down at the moment….. or nothing that a good helping of hard work won’t resolve. The lads can expect the toughest training week in their lives over the next few days. Sticking together as a team and working their socks off as a team will be the perfect preparation for the visit of Mansfield to Bradwall Road, next Saturday for a 2.15 kick-off.
Motto for the week ahead “No pain, no gain!!”