1st XV - Report
Sandal six try win ensures league safety
Tries :- Dave Martin (3), Jake Mulhern, Jimmy Stewart & Dan McCormack with Greg Wood kicking 2 Penalties & 3 Conversions.
Sandal ensured that they would be playing National Three North rugby next season as they recorded a five point haul in an open match on a sunny day against their visitors from Cheshire. The Stelfox Avenue side had the better of the early possession but it was the home side who opened the scoring when fly half Greg Wood kicked a penalty from in front of the posts after sustained pressure in the visiting twenty-two. Five minutes later Sandal increased their lead when after second row Tom Proctor had swooped on a loose ball; his side went wide after a couple of drives close to the maul with centre Simon Frewin passing to winger Jake Mulhern who crossed in the corner with Wood converting well from the touchline to open up a ten point lead. The two sides then exchanged penalties before a half break by Wood saw flanker Alastair Burgess in support and he fed fellow back rower James Stewart who crossed to the side of the posts with Wood converting to move his side into a seventeen point lead after half an hour. Shortly after winger Stef Lig was injured in a tackle which saw his season ended as he unfortunately sustained a broken leg and he was replaced by Dave Martin. Martin was quickly into the action as from a pass from Wood on the blindside he rounded his opposite number before cutting inside the full back to cross in the right hand corner with Wood converting to leave the score at twenty seven points to three at the break.
The half opened with Dave Martin completing an impressive hat trick as first he powered through a group of players forty metres out before rounding the cover and diving over in the corner followed by his third as he drifted outside the cover from a scrum to again cross wide out. Sandal then had a man red carded for a dangerous tackle and shortly after Altrincham took advantage as flanker John Bishop was driven over from a lineout by his fellow forwards. Sandal returned to the attack and after several phases winger Martin drove the ball in close to the visiting try line and quick ruck ball saw fly half Wood throw a long miss pass to centre Dan McCormack who crossed unopposed to put the game safe. Altrincham then began to play their best rugby of the match continually moving the ball around and it paid off when elusive wingers Tony O'Connor and James Singleton combined with the latter beating several men as he crossed to the side of the posts with full back Chris Stewart converting. The game proceeded to be open until the final whistle with both sides threatening to add to the score but it remained at forty-two points to fifteen to the Milnthorpe Green side and they bagged the five points that they sought to ensure safety with three matches of the season remaining.