Sandbach 15 - Wrexham 10
Sun 1 December 2002
Our visitors from Wrexham brought along a large squad of 20 players, allowing us the opportunity to play two separate matches. Once again we were faced with opposition that looked a year older than us, and knew that we would have to compete hard to win our share of the ball.
Playing 15 mins each way, the opening period of play was dominated by Sandbach with all the action being in the Wrexham half of the pitch. From our put in on the uncontested scrums (Welsh Laws), the Sandbach backs produced their best display of the season to date, with the ball regularly ending up on the wing. To add to the confusion of the visitors, Jack Robinson made a number of runs into the line from the blind side wing. Enterprising play and a joy to watch. With all of the Sandbach team looking hungry for the possession we were also winning more than our fair share of loose ball. The pressure finally told and the Wrexham defence were forced to bunch up in midfield. This allowed Jack Robinson plenty of space to run around his opposite wing to open the scoring.
Sandbach continued to dominate the first half and put Wrexham under real pressure on their own try line. Desperate to clear the ball they passed it back into the dead ball area where a quick thinking Elliot Moore wrestled the ball off the Wrexham fly half to give us our second score.
A few changes at half time for player rotation and we took to the field with a positive outlook. The second half again started well with this time Luke Gross on the opposite wing getting the ball in enough space to squeeze in at the corner. Three tries up - but then we relaxed. A spell of lax tackling allowed Wrexham in for an easy score and this had the effect of rousing the visitors who sensed that all was not lost. Having realised that the Sandbach back line was proving difficult to breach, they opted to maul the ball up the pitch. Again, Sandbach were too interested in tackling the ball rather than the man and Wrexham made too much easy progress. Within striking distance of the Sandbach line one of the larger Wrexham players proved too difficult to stop and suddenly the game was much closer.
In the final minutes, both sides showed full commitment but with no further scores being made Sandbach held on for a well-deserved victory. A tremendous game to watch, with all the best skills from rugby on display by both teams.
Player of the Match went to Jack Robinson for his defensive performance with some great cover tackles on the bigger Wrexham players.
Team: James Stops, Elliot Moore (Joseph Cooper), Chris Burrows (Joe Barton), Connor Benson, Nick Rogers, Jack Robinson, William Bordill, William Jepson (Elliot Moore), Kurt Hurlstone-Johnson (Luke Gross).
Sandbach U10s 25 - Wrexham U10s 30
In the second game we knew what we had to do and with one notable exception, we didn't do it. We must stop being so polite and standing aside while the opposition score 3 tries. The one exception to the game of non-contact rugby being played was Thomas Jackson. He tackled as though his life depended on it; he took the ball forward at speed and displayed a strength of more than one player, a good job too as the rest of the team seemed content to watch him. Gradually the rest of the team began to realise that there was a game on and we started passing the ball and even attempting to tackle. The ball got out to Alistair Allen on the right wing and true to form he ran it in from half way to score in the left corner. The team's heads were beginning to come up and with that, the standard of play improved. Another try to Alistair Allen showing great pace and strength down the right wing, this boy is a finisher.
The second half saw a number of replacements and this galvanised the team, Tom Wardle playing up a level to that of his new team mates. A push over try for Joseph Cooper was awarded under a pile of bodies with the ref doing a good impression of superman to see through the tangle. Chris Burrows started to be used to great effect, driving the opposition back and getting support. Chris then ran straight through to touch down. Had Wrexham learnt from our first half defensive strategy?? Alistair Allen then went in for his third try. Unfortunately our success with the driving maul went to our heads and in a maul in which all 9 Sandbach players were immersed, the ball was lost and the try scorer was away before anyone noticed. The tackles were now flying in and we were driving Wrexham back as the final whistle went.
This is a game that could have been won had we tackled in the first half. The introduction of players in the second half certainly helped our cause, however there was too much work to be done.
Player of the match went to Thomas Jackson for the second time this season, well played Thomas.
Team: Iain Thompson (Jordan Johnson), Alex Clutterbuck, Tom Wardle, Nick Muldoon (Joseph Cooper), Thomas Jackson, Katie McEvoy (Chris Burrows), Alistair Allen, Ben Dutton (Kurt Hurlestone-Johnson), Ben Sharpe (Luke Gross).