Hurricanes Suffer Heavy First Defeat of the Season
Sandown & Shanklin RFC knocked out of the Hampshire Bowl by Eastleigh RFC 0 - 79
Sandown & Shanklin RFC welcomed Eastleigh RFC to the Fairway for the Quarter Final of the Hampshire Bowl, only one of the two games actually played in this round of the competition, with two other quarter finals not being played due to walkovers.
The hosts sit at the top of Hampshire Premier, whilst the visitors currently sat in 3rd in London South West, two leagues above the Hurricanes.
The opening period began brightly between the two sides, as both probed each other early on to get an opening. Eastleigh struck first after about ten minutes when the scrum half dummied and caught the Hurricanes defence flat footed. A strong period of possession for the Hurricanes followed, and Man of the Match Sam Tyson was causing the opposition defence some questions with his quick feet. As the away side gave away a few penalties at the breakdown the hosts had opportunities to attack the Eastleigh try line, but their own discretions cost them and allowed Eastleigh to clear their lines. The visitors racked up a further five tries in the first, as the visitors ended the half 0 - 36 ahead.
The second half, the Hurricanes were desperate to get a score on the board, however the staunch and stingy visiting defence were not having any of it. Strong carrying from replacement Gregor Dean and Rob Newton was gaining some headway, however the blanket defence from the opposition was difficult to breakdown. Some excellent handling at stages from Owen Williams and Zak Chiverton was starting to get headway, but at a critical moment an intercept try took the wind out of the sails and all but secured the result for Eastleigh. Another whirlwind attacking move from the visitors, meant they had scored a double salvo and really kicked the game into touch, with a sweeping move that all could not help but admire. Despite the deficit in the scoreline the home side matched the Eastleigh scrum and could hold their own in some areas, but the fitness was now lacking and creating massive holes in the home sides defences. All but one try from the opposition came from their back line, just representing how clinical their play was, when the ball was spun down the line. The final score finishing at 0 - 79 to Eastleigh.
In the end a tough day at the office for the Hurricanes, but nevertheless many lessons to be learned from the experience. At once both these teams were in the same league a few seasons ago, and now this has provided inspiration for the current crop of players at Sandown & Shanklin to raise their game to reach the impressive level the Eastleigh boys have reached.
Director of Rugby, Damien Marriott was in reflective mood following the game:
"Tough day at the office. I always make it known to the boys that we are good enough to play a much higher standard, so today was a real eye opener for us, as we now know the level that needs to be achieved. Their ruthlessness in attack and attitude to fitness was next level and we know now what is needed to get there. This result is exactly what we needed if we are to make a real push for the league this year. Unfortunately we fell away badly in the last twenty minutes, which was disappointing, however it was pleasing to see so many new players putting on the shirt, like Dan (Sayers) and Ben (Harvey) working hard to impress. Likewise the returning Rob (Newton) and Greg (Dean) to bolster the pack and both I thought were excellent. There was an element of resting some players for next week, due to the top of table clash, but also trying some regular players in new positions to help us with the long season ahead. I’m also please we haven’t added any more injuries to our huge list.
It's up to us now to sort it. I thought the intensity and physicality we showed at times was really good; but you can't do it every now and again for just a few minutes, especially against a very good London 2 league side, you've got to do it for the full game."
The Hurricanes now turn their attention to the League and the Junior Vase. This week Sandown & Shanklin travel away to Basingstoke RFC for a top of the table clash, whilst also awaiting to see who is drawn against them, for their next cup adventure.