Sandbach 26 - Northwich 24
Sat 15 January 2005
On Saturday Sandbach 3rds played against Nothwich in the Halbro Plate, Sandbach knew this was to be a tough match after only just scraping a 19-17 win against them earlier in the season.
The previous game had been a game of two half and this was to be the same as Northwich won the first half and Sandbach the second.
Northwich kicked off and the ball was fielded by Colin Stent who was left isolated, Northwich’s back row stormed through and smothered Colin, unfortunately the Northwich Flanker was lying over Colin and the ball and Sandbach were awarded a penalty. Chris Watson this week playing at full back stepped up and kicked the ball up field.
Sandbach won the resulting lineout and mauled the ball up the field, the ball was then passed out to the backs and fly half Mark Read was able to pop the ball to Simon price who took the ball on laying the ball back for a ruck. Sandbach were awarded a penalty as Northwich were handling in the ruck. Colin Stent Took a quick ball and passed the ball out to Stuart Millward on the wing who was bundled into touch in Northwich’s 22m area.
That was possibly Sandbach’s only attacking play of the first half as Northwich then dominated. Winning the lineout the ball was quickly passed down their backline, who showed exactly what they were capable of and the move ended with their left wing crossing Sandbach’s line to score.
From then on Sandbach were denied possession of the ball, Northwich excelled in the lineout and the efforts of both Steve Jones and Steve Millward were not making a difference. Northwich shipped the ball repeatedly to their fly half who bossed the game either kicking the ball long for a line out or for Chris Watson, Paul Kennedy or Stuart Milward to run back up the pitch or shipping it out. Sandbach’s first up tackling was pour, and meant that the forwards were always going backwards, as opposed to Northwich who could take the ball head on. When the back row of Simon Price, Simon Astles or Ian Plant was able to get to the centres, the rest of the forwards were slow to the break down.
Northwich were quickly again on the scorecard Northwich again kicked long, for touch, the ball being chased by their young left wing. Who took the ball on, he was tackled into touch be Stuart Millward, but before crossed the line he but the ball down, this was retrieved and Northwich were another try up.
Some fine back play from Northwich, including miss moves and long looping passes had Sandbach run ragged, and spotting an over lap a cross kick was put in to allow their left winger to go over the line for their third try.
Northwich’s fourth try came again as they attacked down the Sandbach right, there were several missed tackles before Paul Kennedy, tackled Northwich’s winger but his momentum took him over the line.
At half time Sandbach made wholesale changes, swapping the front row, for the two young props Gareth Jervis and David Pipe, along with another prop David Milne, for his first game for the Club at Hooker. In addition Dan Adams came onto the wing, for Paul Kennedy (a reverse of last week) centres were Nick Jerman and Tom Hughes who was returning from injury, with Lee Pickles coming on at full back.
Sandbach were now able to get on the front foot and spent the first 10 minutes of the half in Northwich’s 22m before a spiralling pass from Simon Astles put Ian Plant in under the posts.
With a little re-gigging in the line with Ian Plant jumping at 1 meant that Sandbach were able to get more possession of the ball. In addition first up tackling improved and now the Northwich backs were under pressure. However once they got possession of the ball they could be dangerous as was shown when their left wing sprinted up the wing, to be slowed down by a half tackle by prop Gareth Jervis, before being stopped completely with a try saving tackle from Steve Marchant.
With ball in hand the Sandbach backs were able to penetrate, and a crash ball by Nick Jerman saw him go over the line for a converted try, kicked by Lee Pickles. Shortly afterwards Mark Read was able to shrug off a tackle and do the same, sprinting 10 yards to score under the posts, for another converted try from Lee Pickles.
Buoyed by this or with their second wind the Sandbach back row were able to get to the break downs quicker, and from a ruck in Northwich’s 22m, Nick Jerman was able to power over the line to score Sandbach’s final points.
Next weekend Sandbach 3rds are again at Bradwall Road, playing against Buxton 2nds, in another tough fixture.
Steve Roe, Martin Vernon, Andy Maddock, Steve Jones, Steve Marchant, Simon Price, Simon Astles, Ian Plant, Colin Stent, Mark Read, Stuart Milward, Andy Green, Lee Thompson, Paul Kennedy, Chris Watson.
Replacements: David Pipe, Gareth Jervis, David Milne, Lee Pickles, Nick Jerman, Tom Hughes.
Non-playing Captain Robin Pipe.