Hurricanes continue winning and breaking records!
Sandown & Shanklin travelled to Overton RFC and managed to come away with a five point haul, and keep their undefeated streak rolling.
Sandown & Shanklin ventured on the roads again, for their third to last away game of the league season, with a trip up to Overton. The visitors knew that a win would be their sixth in a row and beat any previous streak that the 1st XV had managed in the past 8 or so years. It would also maintain the pressure upon 2nd and 3rd placed teams Bognor and Millbrook, as the Hurricanes look to hunt down the two sides sat directly above them in the league.
In atypical late winter/early spring conditions, it was a greasy track and with the Overton pitch, quite worn in areas, it was going to be tough going in areas of the field. Sandown & Shanklin elected to play up the hill in the first half, with the pitch very much akin to their own, it was the impression that the visitors would treat it as a 'home game'. And as such, the Hurricanes were the quickest off the mark. After gathering the ball in midfield, and with the first chance to form an attack, the Sandown back line, marshalled by Cam Mitchell found holes in the Overton defence. With the defence stressed, this allowed Michael Barrett to find a hole in the defence for an early score. Stand in captain and kicker, Sam Flux converted for an early 0 - 7 lead.
The hosts immediately put the pressure straight back on. With a clearance kick out of the 22, Overton had possession to then attack the Sandown line. They were held out after a few attacks, with some strong defence from Harry Hopper and Henry Bagnall keeping the home side at bay. After a penalty at the breakdown this allowed Overton to kick a penalty, 3 - 7.
With the home side striking back, Sandown & Shanklin looked about reasserting their dominance. With Overton attempting to break out from their half, the ball went loose, and with Jack Wedderkop reacting the quickest, he kicked the ball through expertly to then dive on the ball and extend the Hurricanes lead. Flux converted and pushed the lead further, 3 - 14. Overton struck back however, and scored a try of their own, and with it converted the game was back in the balance, 10 - 14.
Strong running from full back Michael Cooper, allowed the Hurricanes to return kicks with interest and take up good territory inside the Overton half. With carries in the midfield from Chris Skelley and Adam Tyas keeping the defence honest, it gave the Hurricanes attack width and space out wide. In turn this gave Michael Barrett the opportunity to cut a sharp line through the defence and put Overton on the back foot. With the ball the passed down the line, hooker Zak Chiverton then found space to dart through the defence and dot down for the Hurricanes third score of the game, Flux again converting, 10 - 21. The half did not end so well for the away side however, as No 8 Harrison Booth picked up an injury. At half time, Jack Winter took Booth's place, with Sam Flux moving to No 8, filled with glee!
The second half got underway, with the Hurricanes looking to start fast and quick, to prevent the stop/nature of the game, that was slowly creeping in. With Overton not fully clearing the restart, this allowed Flux to go on a run and barrel into the opposition 22. This gained the away side the chance to attack, and with the home side defence on red alert, the Hurricanes looked set to score. Yet, with the ball spun down the line, as Michael Cooper took the ball and stuck out an arm to hand-off he picked up a serious shoulder injury. It materialised later, that Cooper had separated his shoulder from the socket, and is fortunately recovering well, with the shoulder now back in the socket. With the long break in play to allow Cooper to leave the field, it cooled the momentum that Sandown had gathered. Once the game restarted, Cam Mitchell got over the line, however the referee had not managed to see Cameron dotting down. But with the ball still in possession for the away side, the quick recycling found Harry Hopper out wide to score and chalk up the bonus point, 10 - 26.
The remainder of the half was not the most entertaining, as the home side looked to ground out a score through numerous scrums. With the Hurricanes becoming frustrated through the slow pace of the game, their discipline was slipping and helping Overton. With Hopper now fielding in at full back, and Stephen Perfect packing down at blindside, the Hurricanes were holding on. Things became a little more difficult, as Hopper was sent to the bin, taking a man out in the air. Excellent defensive work from men of the match Charles and Liam Little, helped keep Overton at bay. In the period Hopper was in the bin, Overton managed their second score of the game, 15 - 26. Nevertheless, with the final whistle coming and signalling the end Sandown & Shanklin extend their winning streak to six games.
Next weekend, the Hurricanes travel away to Southampton RFC, for the semi-final of the HSB Gales Hampshire Plate, with high hopes of pushing on into a potential all island final, against the Isle of Wight, later in the season.