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3rd Team

Buxton 2nds 25 - Sandbach 10

Sat 30 October 2004

Sandbach made the trek over the peaks to play on a soggy pitch at Buxton, for many in the team the first time they had made the journey. This weekend saw the return of Simon Cawood for his first game of the season, plus Andy Green and Jason Keeble for who it was only their second match of the season.

Sandbach made a slow start, as Buxton came at them all guns blazing. their forwards keeping it tight and rucking Sandbach off the ball, a tactic usually done by Sandbach. This pressure as through frustration, Buxton were awarded a penalty within Sandbach’s 22m which was duly converted. Buxton came back at Sandbach pushing them under their own posts, the ball squirted out of the ruck and was picked up by their hooker who went over the line to score under the posts.

Sandbach were making hard work of it, their lineout in disarray and under pressure in the scrums, but it was first up tackling which lead to Buxton’s next score, as one of their back row, broke at least three tackles to go over near the sticks. Luckily for Sandbach, Buxton’s kicker had not got his kicking boots on and the try was unconverted.

Denied of and possession of the ball, Sandbach’s back line were spectators in a battle between the forwards. However this was all to change at just before half time as Sandbach won cleanly a lineout in Buxton’s 22m and Scrum half Steve Sutton quickly got the ball out to the backs centres Andy Green and Carey Prout recycling it quickly to enable winger Dan Adams the chance to out pace his opposite number to score a try in the corner.

At half time Sandbach were forced to make changes in the back line, as Chris Sutton came on to play in his first game for several years. Simon Cawood moved to fly half to replace the injured Mark Read, Simon’s position of full back being taken by Dan Adams.

Whether buoyed by the score or the fact that Buxton had taken their foot off the pedal, Sandbach took the game to them, forwards Rickard Pickford, Steve Marchant and Richard Astles taking the ball forward in a series of short runs. From the resulting Ruck Steve Sutton took the ball blind, to find flanker Jason Keeble who went through to score in the corner.

Sandbach began to hold their own in the forwards providing more ball for the backs who now were able to get the speedy wings into action, and with Dan Adams entering the line at pace they were able to keep Buxton in their own half for the next thirty minutes. Sandbach next came close to scoring when they were awarded a penalty on Buxton’s 5m line. This was taken quickly and Richard Pickford crashed over the line to score. Unfortunately the ball was not taken through the mark and a series of scrums ensued.

This proved to be Sandbach’s last chance, as the forward battle of the first half and the heavy conditions paid and five out of the Sandbach pack were reduced to walking around the pitch. This meant that the backs were forced to do all of the work, tackling rucking etc. although they took to it with relish, it meant that gaps began to appear in the Sandbach defence. Buxton’s wing was unlucky to score but was stopped by a try saving tackle by brothers Steve and Chris Sutton, but with Buxton’s forwards up faster, Buxton went over to score again. With minutes to go Sandbach could not get around the park and backs became isolated, and again first up tackling could have prevented Buxton’s last try.

In all beaten by a better team, after a poor start and fitness telling in the closing stages. Next Saturday Sandbach thirds are at home to Sale Amateur 2nds.

Steve Roe, Andy Ennis, Andy Maddock, Steve Jones, Steve Marchant, Richard Astles, Jason Keeble, Richard Pickford, Steve Sutton, Mark Read, Chris Howell, Andy Green, Carey Prout, Dan Adams, Simon Cawood, Chris Sutton

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