Sandown Come From Behind to Win in Plate
The Hurricanes came back from a two try deficit to taste victory away from home and proceed to the Quarter Finals of the Hampshire Plate.
On a fine afternoon, in which some would believe we were still the early days of September and not the middle of October! The Hurricanes travelled away to fellow Hampshire 1 side Fordingbridge, in the first round of the Gales Hampshire Plate Competition 2017/18. After a two year hiatus from any cup competition, due to admin issues, and poor numbers in the past, Sandown & Shanklin returned to the cup competitions with a young and fresh side, with a large majority of the current squad having never played knock out rugby for the Hurricanes.
The game got off to a good start for the Hurricanes, however this did not last. After the debuting Damian Seder rose highest and collected the kick-off, the Sandown forwards set about implementing their game plan off the half back axis. Nevertheless, after a handful of phases and an impressive starting defensive effort from the hosts, they managed to turn the ball over just out side their 22, and force Sandown to defend for the first time. With the visitors defence being too passive and not halting the Fordingbridge momentum, they were soon under the cosh and defending their try line. A quick phase and equally efficient handling saw the home side score out wide in the first five minutes, the conversion just short Fordginbridge had themselves an early lead.
Off the restart, Fordingbridge didn't hang around again, and were soon back in the Sandown 22 challenging the line. After holding the hosts attacks at bay for a good ten minutes, they managed to again break the defensive line of S&S when phases through the middle of the park found them gain valuable metres. This time Fordingbridge found space closer to the posts, as they went over for their second score of the game through their outside centre, with the conversion an early 12-0 lead for the hosts had put the game in real doubt for the travelling Hurricanes.
With no less than a quarter of the time gone, it seemed that the game was slipping through the hands of the visitors as their defence was not holding the Fordingbridge attack at arms length. From another challenging Cameron Mitchell restart, the Hurricanes were able to reclaim possession. With the forwards carrying off the first receiver, they had begun to challenge the Fordingbridge defence, and began to suck them into the breakdown. Some strong carrying from Darren Carew, saw more of the Fordingbridge forwards get tied into the ruck area, and with some spaces in the middle, Cameron Mitchell fed Zak Chiverton, covering the openside flank on the day, who used his pace and step to go around a despairing defender and dot down under the posts. The metronomic boot of Tom Borrer, gave the Hurricanes hope, with the score now 12-7. Despite the response from the Hurricanes, this did not hinder or halt the hosts momentum, as they struck back almost instantly. Following a spate of penalties at the breakdown, the hosts kicked to the corner, and the Sandown pack could not prevent the maul charging over the line to allow the Fordingbridge number 8 to score. With the conversion again pushed wide, the scores stood at 17-7, with less than ten minutes remaining in the half. Despite the margin, this did not cause the attitude of the Hurricanes to waiver. After a wobbling opening period which would have seen teams crumble under the pressure, the Sandown boys rallied and finished the first half the strongest.
After a quick line out maul allowed the Hurricanes to gain head way and territory, the resulting phases in the back line gave the visitors a chance to fire some more shots before the half time whistle. Some good work by the new centre partnership of Jack Wedderkop and Man of the Match Alex Loftus, provided the Hurricanes with a threat in the line and again forced the hosts defence to suck into the ruck. This created a large overlap, and with quick hands from Cameron Mitchell and Sam Flux, found man of the match Ben Harvey on the charge and from 15 metres out powered his way over the line, for a lifting score just before the break. Tom Borrer could not convert, though this could not dampen the spirits of the Sandown boys, chasing a 17-12 game.
The second half began with stand in captain Sam Flux claiming the challenging restart, Cameron Mitchell then lofted the ball into the Fordingbridge half to force territory, and play the game in the hosts half. As the home sides crowd cheered them on, and they got close to the Hurricanes try line, they could not find the final pass, or excellent last ditch tackling from winger Michael Barrett and full back Tom Borrer, kept the visitors in the game. With young Jack Winter suffering a finger to the eye and unfortunately having to come off, this allowed the Hurricanes to make changes, so they took the opportunity to give the impressive Ben Shannon a rest, and bring on Greg Dean and Harrison Booth, to help turn the tide. The running of flanker Booth and Michael Barrett, gave the Fordingbridge issues in defence as the Hurricanes attack began to make the same metres as the hosts in the first half.
With the game becoming more fractured and open, it was allowing the Hurricanes forwards to carry and further and harder. The pressure was starting to build in the Fordingbridge 22, and the referee was beginning to penalise the hosts at the breakdown, as they attempted to slow down the momentum of the Sandown forwards. This presented the opportunity for Tom Borrer to kick a penalty at goal and keep the Hurricanes within touching distance, as they entered the the final third of the game, 17-15. Although the Hurricanes were now battling away, they could not stop the hosts striking next. A momentary lapse in concentration saw the opposition number 8 off the back of a maul pick a line which cut the tiring defence in half. With the conversion smashing the post, the hosts had extended their lead 22-15.
This did not deter the Hurricanes, as they kept their heads up and kept playing. As the game opened up the carrying of Jack Wedderkop, and debuting winger Luke Wedderkop was coming to the fore and causing no end of troubles for the Fordingbridge defence. With the hosts losing discipline at the breakdown, this gave Cameron Mitchell the chance to push the Hurricanes deep into the opposition territory, and although the line was not cleanly won, possession was still with the Hurricanes and they were hunting down the next score. Another infringement from the home side, again gave the opportunity for Tom Borrer to narrow the margin, 22-18 as the game lurched into the final quarter.
As the momentum swung the way of the Hurricanes, the Fordingbridge defences were being sucked in more by the strong carrying of the Hurricanes forwards, and this was allowing more time for the industrious Sandown back line to exploit the spaces that were available to them. Strong running from winger Michael Barrett in the midfield. A smart offload to his fellow back three player Wedderkop of the Luke variety, and Luke then set off on a powerful run, evading several tacklers. He found his brother, who in the same vain, drove the Hurricanes deep into the Fordingbridge 22. After some recycling by the forwards at the ruck, the ball then found its way to Michael Barrett who scored his first try of the game, 22-23.
The restart came and the chase from Fordingbridge was offside, so this allowed the Hurricanes to have possession in the middle of the park from a scrum. The boot of Cameron Mitchell pushed Sandown deep into the Fordingbridge territory and with pressure on their line out, Hurricanes then managed to steal possession. With the momentum of the match full in the favour of the visitors, the hosts defence was desperate to reclaim possession and the ball to attempt to get their noses back in front. As a few more strong carries in the midfield kept the Hurricanes in good stead, the opposition defence had been sucked in, and when Ben Harvey was found in space, he was stopped just short of the line try line. Nevertheless, a quick ruck allowed scrum half Jacob Jordan the time to feed winger Michael Barrett, who scooted around the defence and dot down close to the posts, for his double salvo, 22-30. The boot of Borrer again converting, and providing the Hurricanes with the lead of the game for the first time, 22-33.
The game came to a conclusion, when the ill-discipline of the Fordingbridge forwards yielded another penalty to the Hurricanes with seconds remaining. Tom Borrer concluded proceedings with a last second penalty to provide the Hurricanes with a 22-33 victory over the New Forest outfit and progression to the Quarter Finals of Hampshire Plate.
A massive well done to the squad on the day, they kept their heads after a tough start and kept battling away to the bitter end, which gave them their just rewards. A thought to those that travelled all the way and did not manage to get much game time, if any, keep your head up and work away, there are plenty opportunities, over what will be a long season.
SSRFC: 1. Ben Harvey, 2. Adam Tyas, 3. Ben Shannon, 4. Jack Winter, 5. Sam Flux (c), 6. Damian Seder, 7. Zak Chiverton, 8. Darren Carew; 9. Jacob Jordan, 10. Cameron Mitchell, 11. Michael Barrett, 12. Alex Loftus, 13. Jack Wedderkop, 14. Luke Wedderkop, 15. Tom Borrer
Subs: 16. Greg Dean, 17. Harrison Booth, 18. Charles Little, 19, Zac Davies