Stoke Festival 1 - Sandbach 0
Sun 24 April 2005
Stoke Festival 24tth April 2005
Squad: James Barry, George Hubbard, Fred Green, Chris Jackson, Kieran Leese, Nathan Norwood, Danny Owen, Robert Coggon, Jake Harrison, Megan Standring, Harry Broady, Alastair Thompson, Anthony Dowell, Charlie Rogerson, Adam Lockett, Max Bonar-Law, Joseph Jackson, Stephen Lynch, Joe Stock, Loucas Thomas-Garrett.
The Sandbach squad split into their familiar Sharks and Tigers teams for the Stoke Festival. With Stafford not turning up on the day, this left only 2 games each in the pools before the semi finals.
Match 1: Sandbach Sharks 20 Newcastle 10
Try scorers: Kieran Leese, Robert Coggon, Danny Owen (2)
It was a long wait before Sandbach’s first game but they got off to a flying start with some good pressure, asking Newcastle to defend hard in the first half. The first try came from Kieran Leese after a period of pressure on Newcastle’s line. Sandbach continued to drive Newcastle back, tackle after tackle. The second try came from Robert Coggon, again after sustained pressure, with Danny Owen getting the final try of the half with some superb running (helped by his new streamlined haircut!) The second half saw Newcastle fight back and despite Sandbach putting in some strong tackles saw Newcastle score twice through some good running down the wing. Sandbach responded from a scrum, running some beautiful lines for Danny Owen to score. Robert Coggon saved a certain try in the last minute but sustained a head injury which put him out of the remainder of the tournament.
Match 2: Sandbach Tigers 25 Burton B 10
Try scorers: Joe Jackson (2), Charlie Rogerson (2), Megan Standring
The Tigers first game saw them take the lead early with a try from Joe Jackson after some great tackling from Joe and Charlie Rogerson. Burton equalised but this first half saw good running from both sides. Adam Lockett made a darting run down the wing but was tackled just short of the line. Minutes later Adam also tackled a particularly nippy Burton runner to stop a certain try. From some loose ball, Charlie Rogerson picked the ball up and scored in the corner to take the lead again. Joe Stock made a huge impact, driving towards the line only to be beaten by a foot in touch. Joe Jackson then scored just before half time to take the score to 15-5.
Following a run from Charlie Rogerson, Anthony Dowell picked up the ball, and passed to Megan Standring to score. The next few minutes saw end to end play with Burton running the length of the pitch to score but with Adam Lockett showing his tenacity by chasing him the whole time, just not quite making up the ground. Charlie Rogerson responded immediately with a try and Harry Broady made a great run down the line but was tackled near the line.
Match 3 Sandbach Sharks 0 Burton A 10
Burton took the first strike in this match with their big runner driving through 5 Sandbach players. Despite some great tackling especially from Danny Owen Burton got their second before half time.
The second half saw Burton trying to use their impact player again but Chris Jackson showed no fear and made a fine try saving tackle on the big guy! The pressure was all from Burton but Sandbach defended well.
Match 4: Sandbach Tigers 10 Stoke 30
Try scorers : Charlie Rogerson (2)
Some good running from Stoke saw them gain the lead but Sandbach soon equalised after Harry Broady passed to Charlie Rogerson just before being tackled, enabling Charlie to make a run for the line, Stoke replied with another try but from the restart Joe Jackson meant business and there was no stopping him as he drove through Stoke finally passing to Charlie Rogerson to score.
Some great tackling from Adam Lockett, Harry Broady and Megan Standring showed that Sandbach were not about to give up. It was 10-10 at half time but the second half saw Sandbach tiring and Stoke started to run rings around Sandbach, scoring 4 tries with some great running.
Semi final : Sandbach Sharks 15 Stoke 20
Try scorers : James Barry, Kieran Leese, Chris Jackson
The first semi-final started well for Sandbach. James Barry drove over the line for the first try but Stoke scored from the re-start. Kieran Leese got the second try after Danny Owen drove hard on the line. The final try of the half came from Chris Jackson who ran the length of the pitch with such a look in his eye no one dared tackle him! The second half proved to be a different story as Stoke started to claw back. Not for the first time today Sandbach lost possession under pressure within their own try line allowing Stoke to score. Despite some great tackling, in the last play of the game Stoke stole a try to win the semi-final.
Semi final : Sandbach Tigers 5 Burton 15
Try scorers : Joe Jackson
Burton started well and after an initial period of pressure took the lead. Some great tackling from Charlie Rogerson and Adam Lockett couldn’t prevent Burton from scoring a second. Just before half time Sandbach came back with a great try from Joe Jackson but it wasn’t enough as Burton went on to score a third to win the semi-final.
Overall, both teams reaching the semi finals was a fitting end to a great season’s rugby by a squad that has thoroughly enjoued its rugby and improved hugely throughout the season. Thanks go to Stoke for hosting a great day and we look forward to a well earned rest and a new season building on the success of this year.