Hurricanes come up short against league leaders
Sandown & Shanklin RFC suffered defeat to joint league leaders Millbrook RFC.
On a fine Saturday afternoon for rugby, the Hurricanes travelled away to Millbrook. Following a run of three wins on the trot in both the league and cup, this league fixture would be certainly one of the toughest games of the season so far, yet the Sandown & Shanklin boys were buoyant, despite only bringing 16 players in their match day squad.
The Hurricanes were receiving from the kick-off, and with the home side not quite up to speed in the opening exchanges, the visitors were getting the upper hand, as Millbrook were repeatedly giving away penalties at the breakdown. This allowed fly-half Cameron Mitchell to push the Hurricanes deep into Millbrook territory early on. The movement and intensity of the forwards was causing the Millbrook defensive line issues, and the hard carrying from man of the match David Graham, was keeping the opposition defence honest.
As the halfbacks from Hurricanes fed the forwards and they, in turn, gained metres down the blindside of the Millbrook defence, this opened up space for hooker Zak Chiverton to find a hole in the midfield and sprint away and dot down for the first score of the game. With scrum-half Tom Borrer converting the try, Sandown had earned themselves a deserved 0-7 lead. The restart was well claimed by second-row Sam Flux who fed the charging Harry Hopper off of his wing. This allowed the visitors to open up the field, and with another carry from the man of the match Adam Tyas, the Hurricanes were again causing some issues for the Millbrook defences. As a result, the home side infringed again at the breakdown, as they attempted to halt the momentum of Sandown. Cameron Mitchell duly pushed the Hurricanes back into the Millbrook territory. Another well set line-out drive saw the Hurricanes game some more metres and reach the Millbrook 22. With play moving to the middle of the field, Tom Borrer and Cameron Mitchell directed their forwards well and kept the opposition defence pinned on the blindside of the breakdown. As the ball came back, Cameron found Flux in the midfield, who then straightened and fed full back Sam Tyson. Tyson then stepped one despairing defender and handed off an another as he expertly finished the Hurricanes second try of the game. Another fine conversion from Tom Borrer, presented Sandown with a 0-14 lead with ten minutes remaining in the first half.
The home side struck back in the final few minutes of the half, as a pushover try from a line out, meant that both sides went into the halftime break with the Hurricanes noses just in front.
The second half began with the hosts looking to get back in the game, and with the initial exchanges being played out in the middle of the park, a penalty to Millbrook allowed them to kick to the corner. Despite being repelled well by the Sandown defences and pushed back outside the 22, a few moments later the home side struck back with a try. With the momentum swinging alarm bells were ringing for the Sandown boys. From the restart, Millbrook collected the ball and again were soon in Hurricanes territory. After being held out again by the defence of the visitors, a momentary lapse of concentration allowed the Millbrook back rower to squeeze down the blind side of the ruck and score in the corner. With the host's tails up and firmly back in the game, the result was in the balance, with the momentum clearly now in the favour of Millbrook, as they now led 17-14.
The Hurricanes managed to regain some possession, and with a few moments of sustained pressure in the Millbrook half, managed to generate a penalty, again with the Millbrook players infringing at the breakdown. Tom Borrer duly converted, to level up the scores, however, the home side moments later kicked their own penalty to regain the lead, 20-17.
That would be the last real attempt in the Millbrook half, as they scored a further two converted tries to take the result out of the hands of the visitors, as they, in turn, had capitulated. Millbrook ending up 34-17 winners, in what would have been a very good game for the spectators and highly engrossing.
Coach Andrew John was pleased with the performance levels for 60 minutes of the game, yet despite a 20-minute spell where the intensity dropped off, the ability to go toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the league.
The Hurricanes now have a week off in Hampshire 1 now, before hosting US Portsmouth on Saturday 11th November. The Hurricanes 2nd XV will host Locks Heath Pumas 2nd XV on Saturday 4th November, at the Fairway.