Conks Conquers, Sutherland Smothers and Beezer Showboats!
In their first away trip in National League 3 Sandbach travelled to Nottinghamshire to face the experienced team who came 5th in this league last year. We had heard that they were a big side and when we met their affable programme seller, a giant of a man, we began to believe that all our worst nightmares had come true.In the event, the Mansfield squad were just about the same size as us and the game looked set for good contest under the blazing afternoon sun.
The majority of the first half was spent in the centre of the pitch with very little action straying outside a 20 metre zone either side of the half-way line. Sandbach probably edged the set pieces but Mansfield were the better team in the loose. Sandbach marked the scoreboard first at 10 minutes with a Benny Elliott penalty kick. Unfortunately for Mansfield, their kicker had his wrong boots on and missed two kickable opportunities and leaving his side trailing 0-3 at half time.
The 2nd half started in a similar fashion to the first although we could begin to see opportunities opening as the home team began to tire. Six minutes into the half, Benny Elliott scored his second penalty as Mansfield strayed offside at a scrum.
Sandbach then introduced 18 year old Tom Concu at prop and super-fit Tom Hard came on at hooker. These two players just added the fizz needed to break the resolve of the resolute Mansfield pack, their speed around the pitch and generally energy levels drained the home team defence and their concentration levels dropped.
Sandbach’s first try came as Matt Pollen, pressured a defensive clearance kick and Andy Nash ran through to gather the loose ball, beating one man before passing the ball to Matt Beesley to score. Beesley embarrassed himself by swan diving over the line in Chris Ashton style: Too much television Beezer! Elliot took the extra points with another good kick.
Sandbach saved their best try until last as fast hands across the backs gave Jack Leech the ball on the half-way line. Somehow ??..... Leech managed to duck under and avoid three tacklers before racing towards the corner, oozing past the Mansfield full-back to score the try of the match. Elliott missed this conversion.
With their forwards now blowing hard, Mansfield began to spin the ball across their three-quarters (why didn’t they do that earlier?) and really began to stretch the visitors defence. In fact they crossed the line, only to be held-up and then missed a 4th kickable penalty.In summary, a tough encounter with glory going to the Sandbach forwards who battled for nearly an hour to subdue their Mansfield counterparts. Once that was done the Green backline finished the job.
Fantastic hospitality in the clubhouse afterwards; thank you Mansfield! Thanks also to the 30 or so supporters who travelled all the way across to watch the game. The team are forever grateful for your efforts.
The next home game at Bradwall Road, Sandbach, is this Saturday (15th September) when the legendary “Nuns” (Nuneaton) visit Cheshire. This is undoubtedly the highest level sporting (any sport) contest ever played in Sandbach, and to mark the occasion we want to break all attendance records at Bradwall Road. As an incentive we are offering free entry to the ground, if you cut out this report (from the newspaper) and bring it along. All under-16s are free anyway. Take this opportunity to get close to the action, see 36 top class sportsmen pit their skills, speed and strength against each other. The Bar will be open from 12.30. Burgers, bacon rolls, teas and coffees are all available.