South Leicester 16 : 21 Sandbach 1XVA result that may have surprised the pundits, but one that was fully expected by the young Cheshire team as they attempted the complete the season double over 3rd placed South Leicester. Sandbach have lost no less than 5 games this season by six points or less; all games were lost within the last 5 minutes of the match. It’s interesting to note that had they won those five games they would have actually been 4th in the league and snapping at South’s heels!
So armed with that knowledge and fully aware of the South Leicester game plan, they kicked off confidently expecting to win and knowing that they would get kickable penalty opportunities and that their backs could put pressure on the home team defence. And that is just about how the game panned out.
Not long into the game, indiscipline from the South hooker was punished by Benny Elliot with a fine 3-point penalty kick. That lead was doubled in short order as the home team conceded yet another 3 pointer.
On 20 minutes, Cheshire U20 captain, Josh Longson picked up at the back of the ruck and jinked his way towards the South try line. An outrageous dummy pass sent the final defender way off course and allowed Longson to score the try. Elliot, unluckily missed his easiest kick of the day.
Now leading by 11 points, Sandbach continued to pressurise the South Leicester defence and in particular their line-out, which had been previously identified as an opportunity by the Bradwall Road analysts.The continued pressure eventually told as a half-hearted chip kick by Leicester, fell into the arms of Rich Murray, who needed no encouragement to sprint away and score the second ‘Bach try; converted again by Elliot. Leicester replied promptly with a penalty kick, but were unable to improve upon that score as the teams went into the half time break, with the visitors leading 3 – 18.
South Leicester came out blazing in the 2nd half, but other than their set-piece scrums were unable to gain any real ascendancy in the game. Their scrummage did however win a number of technical infringement penalties three of which were translated into points.
Eventually the South scrum scored their team’s only try with a well-controlled pushover. Despite the South pressure, Sandbach continued to defend like demons, with massive tackles and many players truly putting their bodies on the line for the team. Always however we knew that pressure could be relieved by a kick to the line where the home team struggled to win much more that 50% of their own ball.
Elliott finally made the match safe with a final penalty, but one must only admire the performance and total commitment of all 18 team members.
Next week, Syston, another Leicestershire side visit Bradwall Road KO 3.00pm.
READ THE SOUTH REPORT HERE: