Monday afternoon and the main event of the whole tour had finally arrived, our game against Le Forest. a short coach ride and we arrived at a small club with its main pitch looking a little heavy. But the weather was fantastic, sunny, warm and still and the lads were in good spirits, which given the night before was somewhat surprising. Warm up had an edge and you had the feeling we were up for the game
The formalities of the day were duly followed pictures of the two teams and the coaching staff. Le Forest looked to have some big lads, but our lads looked confident. early on and a nice blind side move from the scrum with Alex saw Joe racing across the line for our first try of the day. Converted by Jack, good start. However that stung Le Forest into action, and they applied pressure forcing the game into Sandbaches 22, the pressure finally told as one of their big lads crashed over for a try.
The game then remained stuck in our half with Le Forest missing a number of attempted penalties. Sandbach started to apply a bit of pressure themselves, and from this Ed showed we also had the power to crash over the line. Conversion is missed. Again Le Forest fight back scoring another try but also missing the conversion
Half time and it is all square 12-12. After a short break the game starts again. I don't think anybody watching was prepared for what came next, and I am not quite sure who made the first huge hit that started it all, however suddenly huge hits on piling in on the Le Forest players all over the park and Sandbach are playing with strength and style. The forwards are now dominating and the backs are moving the ball well.
Now time for Henry To make his mark, after a quiet first half, Henry explodes into life becoming a man possessed, huge hits, jinxing runs and suddenly Henry is through and scores the first of his tries. Converted, the team are now having fun and also being friendly to Le Forest, as those on the sideline clearly hear Bonjour Madam, Je M'appelle Connor, glad to know 4 years of French were not wasted!!
Anyway back to the game,under some pressure from Le Forest who continued to try hard,the Sandbach pack epitomised the change in the game with a huge counter maul that drove Le Forest back 20m, soon from this as they attempted a kick, Henry from point blank range managed not only to charge the kick down but hold onto the ball, run the length of the pitch and score under the posts. Still not sure how Callum missed the conversion.
With Sandbach now controlling the game came the final score of the game, Henry making a dash for the corner managed to find the line before he was pushed into touch. And so to the last kick of the game. From the touch line reserve kicker Alex stepped up, ran up and fell on his derrière, the kick unfortunately falling short, at this point the ref who had done a fantastic job, talking to our lads in English and Le Forest in French blew the final whistle 31-12 a wonderful victory celebrated in style with a fantastic rendition of the National Anthem. The lads played really well typified by Frazer "the hit man", Ben " take the big man down" Salisbury. I could easily name every lad on the tour as everyone had a great game, But no one outshone Henry's second half performance for which he won Man of the match.
After the game we were made very welcome at Le Forests club house with food and drink, followed by the exchange of plaques. All in all a great afternoon, Le Forest were fantastic hosts, friendly welcoming and I think we all felt they had a wonderful friendly club, their team played very well but came across an inspired Sandbach team. We all wish them continued success and everyone waved goodbyes as we left.
A perfect end to a fantastic tour