Sandbach 41 - Holmes Chapel 5
Sat 19 February 2005
On Saturday, Sandbach entertained Holmes Chapel 2nds at Bradwall Road, Holmes Chapel, who next season celebrate 20 years in existence, are currently at the bottom of the table, but results over the past few weekends meant that they would not be a push over, beating Bowden two weeks ago a side that on the previous weekend had put Sandbach to the test.
This week Sandbach thirds were not their usual mix of youth and experience, as the Junior Cots were staying overnight in Kendal for their Lancashire and Cheshire League C match on Sunday. This meant that the youngest player on the side was Steve Meaden, and meant a return to playing after injury for Paul Harvey, who had not played since October. In addition this game saw the return of Roger Hancock, six stones lighter and all the better looking for it. The last time that Roger played was before the introduction of the new kit, so he stood out like a sore thumb when he came on the pitch. With Rogers’s inclusion in the squad it meant that the number of players who have turned out for the third team this season was 90, the equivalent of 6 different teams. It also meant a return to form for prop Andy Maddock, and Jack McEvoy.
Holmes Chapel elected to kick off, and they were quickly up on Sandbach beating them to the ball, unfortunately Holmes Chapel knocked the ball on, which was picked up by hooker Andy Ennis, who took the ball on, crossing the gain line the referee played advantage. Jack McEvoy in support passed the ball to Lee Thompson who stormed through the Holmes Chapel defence, before being popping the ball to Richard Astles who drove at the Holmes Chapel line. With the Sandbach pack in support and Holmes chapel taken a bit by surprise Sandbach drove the ball over the line and Richard placed the ball down with ease.
From the kick off Holmes Chapel kicked deeper, into the arms of Steve Jones who took the ball forward, from the ensuing ruck Colin Stent was able to get the ball out to the backs who again moved the ball up the right hand side of the pitch. With forwards in support the ball again was rucked and the ball spun to the left. Andy Ennis again taking the ball on before popping to Andy Green, who from his full back position had joined the line. Andy then passed to Stuart Millward who jinked inside to score an unconverted try.
In as many minutes Holmes Chapel were 10 points down, but the initial shock over they rallied, although Sandbach’s heavier, more experienced pack dominated the scrums it was in the lineout that Holmes Chapel excelled. Once they did get possession of the ball it was quickly kicked down field searching for touch. Sandbach managed to battle back into Holmes Chapel’s half before winger Stuart Millward was pole axed by a crunching tackle, which meant that he had to leave the field to be replaced by Paul Harvey who took up the full back position in place of Andy Green.
Sandbach again tried to drive the ball over Holmes Chapel’s line, first Martyn Hurlstone Johnson taking the ball on then Richard Pickford, who was deemed to be held up. As attacking side Sandbach were awarded a 5m scrum and went for a push over try, unfortunately it was Richard Astles this time who rounded the ball but it was unseen by the referee, so it was back for another scrum. This time the ball going out to the backs and Mark Read managed to body swerve his way over the line. For a try converted by Chris Watson.
Sandbach’s forwards were now beginning to tire, and the Holmes Chapel back row were getting to the break downs quicker and in more numbers than Sandbach. Sandbach found themselves with their backs up against a wall and through excellent defence by the centres Lee Thompson and Jack McEvoy plus a long clearance kick by Mark Read kept Holmes Chapel out.
At half time Sandbach made a change swapping Jack McEvoy for Steve Meaden, who moved onto the left wing, and Andy Green shuffling into the outside centre position.
From the kick off the Sandbach forwards moved the ball down the right hand tramlines, as first Martyn Hurlstone-Johnson took the ball blind then popping it to Steve Jones, who drove the ball on again. Scrum half Colin Stent quickly passed the ball out to the backs, where now inside centre Rob Leese brought the ball back to the forwards, spotting a gap and going for it for a try. The try was converted with a fine kick from Chris Watson, which into the wind curled between the posts.
At this point Sandbach made their last replacement as Roger Hancock, in brand new kit, came on at number 8 for Richard Pickford
Sandbach again rallied and took the ball into Holmes Chapel’s half kicking the ball into touch for a Holmes chapel line. This was caught and secured by Holmes Chapel but was over turned and they were again under pressure, with the Sandbach forwards again driving on, the fresh legs of Roger Hancock at the forefront, the rucked ball being passed to Mark Read who bounced over the line fro his second try of the game, which again was converted by Chris Watson.
Undaunted Holmes Chapel pushed Sandbach back up the pitch, and were awarded a lineout in Sandbach’s 22m. Holmes Chapel again caught and drove the line, and in a fine display of mauling crossed the line to score.
Realising that Holmes Chapel were not giving up Sandbach again piled on the pressure, again being held up over the line, Sandbach were again awarded a 5m scrum, unfortunately in going for the push over try the ball was knocked on. Back again for another 5m scrum. Sandbach won the ball against the head and number 8 Roger Hancock put the ball down for a try again converted by Chris Watson.
Holmes Chapel were the next with a scoring chance as their backs in possession of the ball had fought their way back up the pitch, their speedy winger broke through past Rob Leese, and thought he was home free, but Rob managed to get a hand to him has he passed and tap tackled him. Stopping him feet from the line. Sandbach won the ensuing scrum and the ball was quickly moved down the backs, and a perfect one two between Lee Thompson and Steve Meaden saw Steve go over in the left hand corner for Sandbach’s last try.
Next Saturday Sandbach have a tough fixture away against Congleton who are currently 2 points ahead of them in the league.
Tries: Richard Astles, Stuart Millward, Mark Read (2), Rob Leese, Roger Hancock, Steve Meaden
Conversions: Chris Watson 4
Steve Roe, Andy Ennis, Andy Maddock, Steve Jones, Chris Watson, Richard Astles, Martyn Hurlstone-Johnson, Richard Pickford (Capt.), Colin Stent. Mark Read, Stuart Millward, Jack McEvoy, Rob Leese, Lee Thompson, Andy Green
Replacements: Paul Harvey, Steve Meaden, Roger Hancock