Sandbach 32 - Leigh 3 29
Sat 31 January 2009
Sandbach welcomed visitors Leigh looking for revenge after defeat in the reverse fixture.
Dan Stubbs, Tom Whalley and Andy Lee were available to give the forwards extra bite. With Ray Jones' ascension to the 1st's, Chris Greenhalgh started at full back and Matt Stanway was back in at Fly Half.
The game started brightly for Sandbach managing to string some good phases together to create some good forward drives and make inroads into the Leigh defence. We managed to get some quick ball and good hands in the backs from Dan Butler and Tim Jones allowed Pete Wardlaw to amble over in the corner.
The conversion was missed and Sandbach had to work hard into the strong wind to keep the pressure up. However a penalty was given away from the restart and Leigh duly kicked the points to bring the score to 5-3.
This forced Sandbach back into life and good interchanging and driving in the forwards involving Pembo and Dan Stubbs resulted in some good ground. Will Rees shipped it out from the back of the ruck to Neil Dey, drawing the defence in to allow Tom Whalley to go over under the sticks, Greenhalgh added the 2 points.
Then however, Leigh started to wake up and some got themselves back into the game with a well worked try for their powerful forward pack.
A further try from Leigh got their noses in front and Sandbach knew they were in for a tough battle.
With the scores tight, Greenhalgh managed to capitalise on an error from the Leigh no. 10 to score under the posts and give the 2's a half time advantage of 19-17.
With the wind being a factor, Sandbach were relieved to be leading at the half way stage.
Straight from the restart Sandbach put some pressure on the Leigh defence and some good use of the wind gave a lineout some 10 yards out. After some forward drives pinning the defence back Andy Lee picked up from the back of a ruck and powered over from 5 yards. Chris added the 2 points and a further penalty after some ill discipline.
Leigh as always came back into the match with a try from some well worked forward drives. Sandbach were never able to break free and tried to use the wind to pin Leigh back. From a 22 drop out by the opposition, the ball landed into the arms of Chris in the centre of the field on halfway. With time to his advantage, Chris unleashed a whopper of a drop goal which seemed to halt time as it spiralled betweeen the posts leaving the 2 teams and the crowd speechless, fantastic effort - Francois Steyn eat your heart out!!!
As time started to tick down some more ill discipline and mistakes from Sandbach allowed Leigh possesion, they worked it well and got a try to bring the gap down. They again pressurised the Sandbach defence and recycled possesion for many phases before again powering over to leave a tense last few moments.
Sandbach held firm and used the wind to pin Leigh into their own half for the last few minutes as the clock finally ticked down and they held on for a nerve racking victory.
Some good performances from Andy Pipe, "Big Al" Andy Lee and Tom Whalley in the pack helped Sandbach to this hard fought victory.
Man of the match will have to go to Chris Greenhalgh, mainly for his match winning drop goal, but also for stepping into the Fly Half position after Matt Stanway injured his back bending over to try and catch a daisy cutting pass from Scrum Half Rees. Add to that a full house, well done Chris!
Tries: Pete Wardlaw, Tom Whalley, Chris Greenhalgh, Andy Lee
Cons: Greenhalgh x 3
Steve Hassall, Neil Dey, Andy Pipe, Dan Faulkner (George Elphick), Andy Lee, Dan Stubbs, Tom Whalley, John Pemberton, Will Rees, Matt Stanway, Pete Wardlaw, Dan Butler, Tim Jones, Sam Morris, Chris Greenhalgh.