Whitchurch 0 - Sandbach 1
Sun 17 April 2005
Whitchurch Festival 17th 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, Dominic Evans, Max Bonar-Law, Joseph Jackson, Thomas Stakes, Stephen Lynch, Loucas Thomas-Garrett.
Sandbach arrived with a squad of 21, which meant that with potentially only 4 games to play, the squad could be split into two teams, alternating matches. After winning the festival for the past 2 years at U7’s and U8’s, the team were determined to bring the trophy back to Sandbach.
Match 1: Sandbach 20 Northwich 10
Try scorers: Charlie Rogerson (2), Joe Jackson, Stephen Lynch
First up were Northwich, who beat us in the semi final of the Cheshire Cup. Sandbach however, were well prepared this time and closed them down quickly when Northwich looked like running into space. Sandbach kept applying pressure and played some great rugby, passing before being tackled, in contrast to recent games, enabling Charlie Rogerson to get some ball on the wing to score twice in the first half. At half time it was 10-5 and when Northwich scored first in the second half the pressure was on! From the re-start Joe Jackson drove straight for the line, and scored to put Sandbach back in front. This great performance from Sandbach was finished off with a fantastic try from Stephen Lynch, making his mum very proud!
Match 2: Sandbach 15 Newport 0
Try scorers: Danny Owen (2), Chris Jackson
The second game in the pool saw Sandbach putting in some great tackles. Danny Owen got the first try after a strong run from James Barry. Once again Sandbach closed their opponents down quickly and were denied near the half- time break after a fantastic passage of play with Robert Coggon passing out wide to George Hubbard who was just bundled into touch near the line. After some determined pressure from a number of Sandbach players on the line, Chris Jackson finally picked up the ball a foot from the line to score. Danny Owen scored again in the closing minutes placing the ball down cleanly then diving! Newport would have stolen a consolation try if not for Megan putting in a try-saving tackle.
Semi final : Sandbach 15 Whitchurch 10
Try scorers : Charlie Rogerson (2), Joe Jackson
This encounter was always going to be a close one. Despite Sandbach applying early pressure, Whitchurch very nearly got the first try, but were foiled again by Charlie Rogerson, who then went on to score the first try. Sandbach’s defence was tried to the limit by Whitchurch’s fine running but held out and at half time Sandbach still held a slim lead.
The second half saw some great play from both sides with Whitchurch finally penetrating Sandbach’s defences twice. With Whitchurch taking the lead Sandbach drew on all their reserves and you could tell by their faces they had no intention of losing this one. A darting run by Alastair Thompson nearly made it to the line but shortly after Joe Jackson levelled the scores. With only seconds left a fantastic off load from Max Bonar Law saw Charlie Rogerson drive through at least 3 Whitchurch players to reach the line and take Sandbach into the final.
Final : Sandbach 5 Shrewsbury 0
Try Scorer : Danny Owen
Hopes were high going into the final after some great play so far today. From the off, the teams seemed equally matched. From a penalty following a high tackle from Shrewsbury, Danny Owen took the ball in 5 yards from the Sandbach line and ran the length of the pitch to score with a trail of Shrewsbury players following. At half time the score reflected the closeness of the game. Strong tackling from Sandbach was the only thing keeping Shrewsbury from equalling. A lovely long pass from Kieran Leese out to Jake Harrison in the final minutes was a great example of the improved skill levels seen from all the Sandbach players today.
Overall a well deserved win, with Sandbach showing they have the skills and the talent to win when they want to. Thanks go to Whitchurch for hosting a great festival and to the Sandbach supporters enduring a very wet end to the day. Special mention also to Matthew Mangan, who came along to support the team after breaking his leg in training recently.