Northwich 37 - Sandbach 5
Sat 5 March 2005
On a day when nothing went right Sandbach went down 37-5 to a determined Northwich side. With a deficit of front row players, prop David Pipe moved over to hooker and second row Dan Faulkner stood in at loose head prop. With evergreen Mark Read unavailable Staffordshire University student Richard Brookes moved up from the 4th team. There were further changes in the backs with Andy Green sunning himself James Hitchins moved to centre with Colt Jed Hall on the wing. Junior Colt Gareth Jervis, moved out of the pack to play in the centres
Things went from bad to worst as Captain Richard Pickford got lost, and with him the shirts, he arrived 10 minutes after the game was due to start. In addition Paul Kennedy who was travelling directly to Moss Farm, never made it.
Thus when the game started Sandbach were far from prepared and Northwich, warmed up and rearing to go hit Sandbach like a train. Their forwards rucking the ball back for their backs to run at Sandbach, magnificent tackling by the Sandbach half backs stopped Northwich, but the ball was rucked and taken blind, beating prop Andy Maddock, the Northwich wing sprinted down the pitch to score an unconverted try.
After this shock awakening, Sandbach rallied and with both Richard Brookes and James Hitchins jinking through the Northwich Sandbach made their way into Nothwich’s 22m area. With the forwards in support, the ball was first taken on by David Pipe, then by Andy Maddock, before Northwich took control and cleared their line. This was possibly Sandbach’s only chance of any points in the first half.
Northwich may the most of the wind and pinned Sandbach back in their own 22m, and the pressure paid off when they were awarded a penalty which they kicked, taking the score to 8-0.
Sandbach defended well and managed to hold this score until almost half time, then in an attempt to clear their line Sandbach, made a kick which in the wind went up, and up then backwards. Northwich stormed through and scored a converted try.
Hoping to play with the wind in the second half Sandbach were thwarted again as the wind dropped and the sun came out, making it a nice afternoon to watch a rugby match. Northwich started the second half as they did the first and again increased their try tally.
From then on Northwich began running in tries from all directions. And would have scored more if they had taken advantage of Sandbach’s reduced numbers. On several occasions they had three and four men overlaps but for some reason took the ball into trouble where Sandbach were able to overturn the ball.
Two dubious refereeing decisions led to a further two tries and another miss kicked ball added another. Again under pressure Sandbach tried to clear their line, the ball was sliced right into the arms of Northwich’s full back with near to no-one in front of him he went through to score.
Northwich were awarded a penalty in Sandbach’s 22m and after a great deal of discussion they decided to go for points much to the derision of the Northwich crowd who were now baying for more tries and wanted them to run it.
Sandbach did not give up and worked their way back up the field, the forwards like Steve Jones and Richard Astles taking the ball from ruck to ruck. Sandbach then set up a maul on Northwich’s 5m line and drove the ball over the line for Richard Pickford to score a consolatory try;
This second defeat in as many weeks will most likely take Sandbach into the lower half of the table, for the first time this season. Next Saturday Sandbach thirds are the senior side at Bradwall road, for their match against Wilmslow.
Dan Falkner, David Pipe, Andy Maddock, Steve Jones, Robin Pipe, Martyn Hurlstone-Johnson, Richard Astles, Richard Pickford, Colin Stent, Richard Brookes, James Hitchins, Gareth Jervis Jed Hall, Lee Thompson