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3rd Team

Sandbach 60 - Wilmslow 8

Sat 12 March 2005

On Saturday Sandbach played against a young Wilmslow side, but were frustrated from the start the game was played with uncontested scrums, as Wilmslow were unable to field a full front row. Sandbach decided to play uphill with the wind behind them in the first half.

From the kick off Sandbach were able to move there way up the field, the move ending with a lineout in Wilmslow’s 22m. This Wilmslow won, their flanker taking the ball back to Sandbach, who could not, or seemed reluctant to tackle him. The ball was passed through Wilmslow’s backs to the wing who sprinted in to the right hand corner. Sandbach’s first up tackling to blame. The try was not converted and Sandbach after their previous two defeats thought that they were going to be out gunned by these young fast backs who had almost certainly been raised on a diet of purple sprouting broccoli.

From the kick off Sandbach were under pressure, and were only saved from a long clearance kick by Chris Greenhalgh, which bounced into touch just short of Wilmslow’s 5m line. Wilmslow won the line, even with Sandbach valiant attempts, but instead of catching and driving or passing to the scrum half the Ball went to ground.

The Sandbach pack went through, and in the mle, a Wilmslow forward kicked the ball backwards for a halfback to clear. The ball bounced over their line, and that was when Martyn Hurlstone Johnson pounced. The ball was grounded a try was given. Unfortunately Andy Ennis injured his elbow, when the joint was forced in the wrong direction.

Wilmslow were soon back in Sandbach 22m putting Sandbach under pressure with some excellent rucking stretching Sandbach’s defence to the limit. In the end they were awarded a penalty as a Sandbach forward, obstructed the ball on the ground. This kick was converted and Wilmslow were in the lead again.

From the kick off Wilmslow took the ball on driving deep into Sandbach’s half and again it was a searching kick by Chris Greenhalgh that got them out of trouble. This was followed up by winger Mike Huss, and Martin Beecher, putting the Wilmslow wing under pressure, which paid off as he was bundled into touch.

Sandbach won the win and proceeded to attack the Wilmslow line with a series of Driving rucks, Steve Jones, Robin Pipe, and Richard Astles driving the ball into their forwards. The ball was eventually held up after prop Andy Maddock was stopped just before the line.

Sandbach were awarded a 5m uncontested scrum, and number 8 Richard Pickford tried to cross the line, with forwards ins support the ball was rucked and Colin Stent was able to pop the ball to prop Andy Pipe who powered over the line for his 4th try of the season. Chris Greenhalgh converted the try.

Wilmslow’s kicker then started to have problems with the drop kick restart, and the ball dropped short, Sandbach opting for a scrum on half way. Scrum half Colin Stent easily got the ball away to his backs, and centres Rob Leese and Martin Beecher broke tackles to move the ball up the right hand side of the pitch. In another series of driving rucks and mauls Sandbach were again within 5m of the Wilmslow line. This time it was Martyn Hurlstone-Johnson who drove over the line to score.

At this point Andy Ennis’s Injury proved too much and Ian Plant replaced him. Again Wilmslow struggled to kick the ball 10 meters at the restart; again Sandbach opted for the scrum on half way. After Wilmslow’s first try Sandbach knew they had to keep possession of the ball, as when Wilmslow did get the ball they used it to great effect. They were unlucky not to score the next try as their forwards put Sandbach under pressure in the bottom left hand corner over the pitch grounding the ball for what they thought was a try, only to find that they had grounded the ball over the 5m line.

Fighting their way back up field missed tackles by Wilmslow meant that Martin Beecher, was given free reign to run 70 yards to score under the posts. Chris Greenhalgh again converted this try.

From the restart, Wilmslow kicked the ball short and expecting it again not to go 10 meters the Sandbach pack let the ball go. But 10m the ball went putting Sandbach under pressure. Wilmslow kicking the ball trough for a lineout, which Colin Stent tried to take quickly to winger Richard Brookes, but the line had already formed. Richard took an injury to his leg, which meant that Gareth Jervis replaced him on the wing.

At half time Sandbach made several changes as prop Steve Roe, came on in the front row, Dan Faulkner, in the second row, replacing Robin Pipe and Chris Sutton, for his second game of the season also came on, to play on the wing.

Almost from the outset Sandbach were able to increase their lead as captain Richard Pickford crashed over the line to score. Wilmslow were not out of the game jet and attacked the Sandbach line. In a backs move which meant that their fullback joined the line, he took the ball over the Sandbach try line only to knock it on.

Sandbach increased their lead with two tries from Rob Leese and Mike Huss, Mike’s second try coming after a well worked Sandbach back’s move instigated by full back Andy Green meant that Wilmslow’s defence opened up like the red seas to allow Mike through. His second coming when prop Steve Roe took the ball on a trundle handing off a Wilmslow payer before setting the ball up so that the backs had a platform to allow Mike to score.

Youngster Gareth Jervis started the ball rolling for Rob Leese’s first try as he sprinted with ball in hand up the left wing before being bundled into touch. Rob’s second came when Dan Faulkner went on a rampage in Wilmslow’s 22m, before giving the perfect pop pass ball to Rob who rounded the Wilmslow defence to score in the corner.

In the dieing minutes of the game Sandbach were awarded an embarrassing final try scored by Richard Astles. The Sandbach forwards were moving down the right hand tram lines, pop passing between Steve Jones and Ian Plant, when the ball was knocked on (obvious form even the Sandbach supporters on the far touchline.), flanker Richard Astles carried on playing and crossed the line for a try. Wilmslow rightly appealed but were informed by the referee that it had been a Wilmslow hand that had knocked it on and the try stood.

Next weekend Sandbach thirds have a hard fixture against Leigh 5ths in the semi-final of the Halbro Plate.

Andy Maddock, Andy Ennis, Andy Pipe, Steve Jones, Robin Pipe, Martyn Hurlstone-Johnson, Simon Astles, Richard Pickford, Colin Stent, Chris Greenhalgh, Richard Brookes, Rob Leese, Martin Beecher, Mike Huss, Andy Green

Steve Roe, Dan Faulkner, Ian Plant, Chris Sutton, Gareth Jervis.

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