Sandbach 27 - Bowdon 0
Sat 23 October 2004
With yet another fixtures mix up, Sandbach 3rds were the only team to be playing at Bradwall Road, on Saturday. On the bright side with no fourth team game captain Richard Pickford had plenty of players to choose from. This enabled Carey Prout to have his first team debut on the wing, in addition MMU student Albert Chan Dan Stubbs Steve Sutton, and Simon Astles played their first games of the season, and Mike Hood returned after recovering from a rib injury from the first game of the season.
From the kick off Sandbach took the Game to Bowden, moving the ball quickly to the wings to try and get around the Bowden defence. Sandbach’s bigger pack dominated the scrums taking their own ball and disrupting Bowden’s. Very early in the game full back Mike Hood had to be taken off the pitch with a leg injury, this meant that Steve Marchant had to move second row to full back, whilst fourth team Captain Nick brown came into the second row. From the outset Nick was in the fray, stealing Bowden’s ball at the next lineout.
Bowden put Sandbach under a lot of pressure using the wind and the slope, pinning them in their own half. However from a scrum on the Sandbach 22m line the Sandbach pack secured the ball, which scrum half Steve Sutton quickly, got out to the backs. Second centre Frank Boughey broke through Bowden’s tackle line to dash up the pitch with Richard Cliff and Nick Brown in support the ball was passed to Dan Adams who out paced his opposite number to score.
Sandbach continued to dominate in the pack, and shortly afterwards, the prop against 17 year old Gareth Jervis injured his ankle and move to second row. Bowden then asked for uncontested scrums. Anticipating this as From the outset Bowden had pointed out that they had an inexperienced front row. As his bulk and experience was no longer needed in the pack Veteran Prop Andy Maddock was replaced by youngster Chris Dyer, who had not played for several seasons and was fit and rearing to go.
Although the scrum ball was no a lottery Sandbach continued to dominate the lineouts, as Dan Stubbs, took lineout ball after lineout ball, this possession was used to great effect as the ball was passed quickly through the backs hands to winger Carey Prout, who powered his way over the line to score Sandbach’s second try.
With uncontested scrums, the whole game then became flat, with each side trying to break through the others defence, Centres Albert Chan and Frank Boughey, were brought up time and time again, and even Bowden’s injured prop had every one of his crash ball attempts thwarted by some tenacious tackling by the Sandbach flankers Simon Astles and Richard Cliff.
From the kick off with the wind behind him fly half Mark Read kicked the ball long into the right hand corner of the field, and a kindly bounce meant it was a lineout on Bowden’s 5m line. From the resulting lineout Sandbach forced their way through to allow Richard Cliff chance to put the ball down for Sandbach’s third try.
In the second half Sandbach began to use the elements, with both Steve Sutton and Mark Read kicked the ball over Bowden’s defence for both wingers Carey Prout and Junior Colt Dan Adams to run on to. After one such attack, Carey Prout was racing for the line, but was stopped short before offloading the ball the Nick Brown who powered his way over the line. Bowden did not give up, and but for some poor handling in the backs they would have had scoring chances. The tenacious tackling by Sandbach, especially the Astles Brothers paid dividends. But all this tackling put paid to captain Richard Pickford’s shoulder and he had to be replaced by Veteran Prop Steve Roe. This meant that with three props on the field Gareth Jervis had to move to the flank, but as the scrums were uncontested this did not matter, and Gareth is at home at either prop or flanker. Steve Roe was soon in the match with two crunching tackles.
Bowden were the next to cross the white wash, again their forwards tried to break through the Sandbach defence, but were stopped by a tremendous tackle by Richard Cliff which left him prone on the floor, but in the tackle the ball had been knocked on by Bowden. Quite rightly in the absence of the referee’s whistle, Bowden played on scooping the ball up and putting it down over the line, accompanied but a great cry from all of the Bowden players of “yes!” This was replied to, comically by the big Sandbach crowd with “no!” as the referee brought them back for a scrum. With the tackle Richard had to leave the field, to be replaced by another Sandbach prop, David Pipe who had to go into the second row and Nick Brown moving to the back row.
Sandbach made hard work of getting the ball back down into Bowden’s half, Mark read making half a break, before passing to Steve Marchant who took the ball on. But it was the long legs of senior Colt Dan Stubbs who took the ball furthest. This pressure paid off as from a ruck the ball was passed out to the backs and fly half Mark Read crossed the line to score, and this time converted.
Next Saturday Sandbach are away to Buxton 2nds, who are currently on the same points as Sandbach, so this will prove to be a tough game.
Gareth Jervis, Richard Astles Andy Maddock, Steve Marchant, Dan Stubbs, Richard Cliff, Simon Astles, Richard Pickford, Steve Sutton, Mark Read, Carey Prout, Albert Chan, Frank Boughey, Dan Adams, Mike Hood.
Replacements: Nick Brown, Chris Dyer, Steve Roe, David Pipe.