Sandown & Shanklin Start Season in Style
The start of the 2017/18 season has arrived! Following on from last season, Sandown & Shanklin traveled away to Fareham Heathens to kick start the new campaign.
A repeat of the fixture that closed out the previous season, the Hurricanes were looking to provide a repeat performance and result, when they tasted victory over the mainland side. Sandown & Shanklin have rarely achieved a win at Cams Alders, the home of the Heathens, however as always, at the start of a new adventure, you don’t know what to exactly expect!
The Hurricanes have not played any pre-season fixtures prior to this game, through a combination of teams dropping out and becoming unavailable, this was the first real test for a relatively young and new side. Now lead by a new coach, in Andrew John, who has attempted to implement his no nonsense style on the boys, and asked them to take up much more responsibility with regards to game plan and management.
On a fine late Summer Saturday afternoon the Hurricanes, got their season to not the best of starts. With play in the early moments being kept between the 10m lines initially, a well-placed kick from the Heathens centre gained them territory, with a Sandown 5m line out throw. Perhaps showing their eagerness to play, and some slight cobwebs in the mind, the line out was taken quickly, and the clearance rushed. The resulting kick was charged down, and capitalised upon by the Heathens. An early 5-0 lead for the home side.
With the Sandown & Shanklin ‘pre-season’ over in the initial 5 minutes of the game, they came alive. From the restart, fly-half for the day Sam Tyson
fielded a steepling restart, which allowed his forwards to challenge. The resulting pressure at the breakdown caused the Heathens to lose metres and a rushed clearing kick. With possession picked up, a probing kick deep into the Fareham 22, allowed Sandown to put pressure on the home sides set piece. The resulting maul held up, however in a rushed moment of confusion, and trying to clear their lines quickly, the ball ended up in the hands of their hooker who rushed his clearance kick, and kicked across the field. Possession was well claimed under Michael Barrett
, however with the Heathens back line offside due to the kick, Sandown had a penalty in the Fareham 22. The quick thinking Tyson
saw the opportunity with the Fareham defence at odds, with the quick tap, he fed winger Jack Wedderkop
who strolled in through a massive whole, to get the Hurricanes on the scoreboard and into the game. Full back Tom Borrer
unfortunately hit the post with his conversion, 5-5.
The game got underway with Fareham hitting back and gaining possession after a knock on from the Hurricanes. From the resulting scrum, Heathens cut through the Sandown defence with some quick offloading and were back in front, with the kick being converted 12-5. In the prior phases the Fareham side were down to 14 players as their hooker went off for treatment for an injury. The Hurricanes in this period managed to take control of the game and began to find their feet. With their forwards starting to find gaps and earn metres, this allowed the half backs to dictate the game. With Fareham struggling to cope, they infringed, and Sandown kicked to the corner. From the resulting line out and a few phases later, Michael Barrett
found himself space to go through the line and dot down, with Borrer
managing to convert this time, again levelling the scores.
With Sandown & Shanklin starting to get the taste for competitive rugby again, they started to move through the gears. From the restart Flux
, collected and passed to energetic Hooker Zak Chiverton
, who gained yards through a hole. After a few more phases, debutant Alex Loftus
hoisted a kick deep into the home sides 22. With the kick not collected, a grateful Jack Wedderkop
capitalised and found himself over the line again. With Borrer
converting again, the Hurricanes found themselves going into the break with a seven point lead, 12-19.
In the second half the visitors began brightly, with the restart collected by the forwards, the hard working David Graham
puncturing the Heathens defence in midfield and earning solid metres. The quick ball generated was spun wide, and after David Greenough
found a hole and off loaded to Flux
, who in turn straightened and drew the last man, for Man of the Match Jack Wedderkop
to sprint for the line to complete hat-trick! Borrer’s
conversion falling just short, the tails of the Sandown players were up.
The Heathens restart fell into the grateful clutches of Zak Chiverton
, who charged into the defensive line with the support of Luke Hunter
. Another charge by David Graham
found the Hurricanes exploiting the Fareham defence and almost making yards at will. Most of the play was in the middle of the park, however the Fareham attack was not gaining much headway. Returning winger Alex Macpherson
, put in a thumping hit on a Heathens back rower, however was pinged and warned, despite using the attackers momentum, his feet had just slightly gone above the horizontal.
Despite the foray into the Hurricanes half, nothing came from the latest Fareham attack. On the move again, some great territorial kicking from the Sandown midfield allowed them to get territory in the Heathens 22. And with the home side making a mess of the clearance, Sandown had possession deep in the opposition half. A few phases later and strong carrying again from Chiverton
, fly half Sam Tyson
attacked and was held up 15 metres from the line. Tyso
managed to offload to Sam Flux
on the charge, on a hard line against the grain of the Heathens defence, who managed to dive over under a few would be tacklers. Tom Borrer
converted, giving the visitors a 12-31 lead, as you could feel the momentum swinging in the favour of the Hurricanes.
The restart fell short as newly converted flanker Harry Hopper
chased it down. The resulting scrummage for the Hurricanes allowed them the chance to attack again. And after some good work form Graham
again, a mazy run from captain Sam Rees
saw him pass despairing defenders, as he dragged to the floor, a quick offload found Sam Tyson
, who could then stroll across the whitewash unchallenged to extend the score. Borrer
, of course converting, 12-38.
A short restart, found the Hurricanes other debutant and man of the Match Jack Winter
, who carried strongly. Jack held himself and the Hurricanes scrum well at the set piece, and was a willing defender in the Sandown defensive line. It wasn't all rosy for the away side, as in his over eagerness Hopper
was judged to have lifted the legs above the horizontal to pick up his fist yellow card, in his career as a back-rower. A few moments later, the Hurricanes based in the middle of the park, this time Harrison Booth
coming to fore with some heavy duty carrying, followed by some quick hands that found Wedderkop
on the rampage another time. This was followed by offloading to the supporting Sam Tyson
, who then stepped the full back, to score under the posts. Tom Borrer
slotted the conversion, to complete the scoring for the day, 12 – 45.
As the game reached its climax, the Hurricanes celebrated a well earned and hard fought victory, nevertheless, they have plenty to work on in the week at training. Ahead of their heavily anticipated local derby game against Ventnor next weekend.
SSRFC XV: 1. Adam Tyas
, 2. Zak Chiverton
, 3. Sam Flux
, 4. Luke Hunter
, 5. Sam Rees
©, 6. David Greenough
, 7. Harry Hopper
, 8. Harrison Booth
; 9. Jacob Jordan
, 10. Sam Tyson
, 11. Michael Barrett
, 12. David Graham
, 13. Alex Loftus
, 14. Jack Wedderkop
, 15. Tom Borrer
Subs: 16. Jack Winter
, 17. Alex Macpherson