Sandown & Shanklin defeat Heathens on the road
The Hurricanes visited Fareham Heathens at Cams Alders and a very entertaining game between the two sides was played out.
The second fixture of the newly formed Hampshire Premier division, saw Sandown & Shanklin make the trip across the Solent to play Fareham Heathens. Never a dull affair between the two sides as games between the two have usually been entertaining and engrossing for players and supporters. With grounds still slightly hard across the county, but the weather holding up nicely, conditions were almost perfect for a good afternoon of rugby. The visitors were somewhat slightly depleted this week, suffering a injuries in the backline resulted in a personnel re-jig to accommodate the missing players.
The Hurricanes kicked off to Fareham and the tone of the game was set with a big collision of the first carry/tackle. With possession turned over back to Sandown & Shanklin, this allowed them to dictate the pace early on. Scrum-half Jacob Jordan feeding his big runners, and the visitors were punching holes and creating good momentum. With the defence being forced to pull in, a few phases later prop Ben Shannon barged his way over the line with a customary strong carry, for the first score of the game. Tom Borrer, sadly missing the conversion, but the away side had an early 0 - 5 lead.
From the resulting restart, the Hurricanes again set about making their way up the field. Joshua Wetherick pulling the strings in the midfield allowing Jack Wedderkop and Harrison Booth to make decisive runs up field. As the visitors made their way up the Heathens 22, the carrying became tighter to the ruck and the heavy duty carrying from man of the match Darren Carew was causing the home sides defence consistent issues. After a few more phases, the ball was spun wide to Zak Chiverton, who found a gap and sprinted through to the line. Borrer converting the resulting kick, extending the Hurricanes lead to 0 - 12. This score lit a fire under the Fareham side and they were straight back in the Hurricanes territory. From a messy restart where Sandown & Shanklin attempted to play a little too much rugby in their own half, successive penalties allowed the opportunity for a Heathens line out on the 5m line. After one line out maul was held out, another one was set and driven over the Hurricanes try line, and dotted down. With the try converted the home side were back in the game with just over the first quarter played.
The remainder of the half was played out mostly between the Sandown & Shanklin 10 metre line and the Heathens 22. With numerous innocuous penalties costing the Hurricanes valuable momentum at important times. The home side, were using the penalties to kick further down field and use their set piece to launch attacks. However, Seder's and Hopper's work at the line-out was cutting off possession at source with several line out steals. At this point the Hurricanes lost prop Ben Shannon to a head knock, but still allowed the opportunity to debutante Martin Richomme to come into the fray. As the host started to get more desperate to play an open game, unforced errors were creeping in as the ball was going wide. A fumbled pass then fell into the grateful hands of second-row Damian Seder who did well to out sprint the oncoming defenders and score the Hurricanes third try of the game. With the conversion missed this left the score 7 - 17 at the break.
Following the opportunity for the Hurricanes to collect their thoughts at the break, the game restarted where the visitors had begun the game, with strong carrying from their pack setting the tone. The returning Sam Rees and number 8 Darren Carew at the fore. With the home sides defence in disarray, a smart pass by Man of the Match Joshua Wetherick found winger Charles Little on a cleverly angled line and cut through the defence to score under the posts. With Borrer converting, 7 - 24, the Hurricanes were in a commanding position and had the try bonus point in the bag.
With Heathens now trying to salvage something from the game, making several changes the game was becoming more and more open as the defences tired. Following a phase at the breakdown, the referee stopped the game and yellow carded the Fareham scrum half for having Joshua in a head lock, but also Harrison Booth, and still unsure what for at this moment. With the home side ramping up the intensity trying to find a way back into the game, with both sides with 14 men on the field, they finally had the ball in the Hurricanes 22 and spun it wide, only for the final pass to go awry and knock-on over the line. The impressive Hurricanes front five managed to push the opposition scrum back and clear their lines. From the resulting line out, the Fareham maul looked ready to launch an attack, however Martin had other ideas, somehow gaining possession of the ball and sprinting down the touch line. After beating the opposing winger he was caught and this phase allowed the Hurricanes to relieve the pressure from the home side.
With strong carrying from captain Sam Flux and Zak Chiverton late in the game, two spurned opportunities came the way of the Hurricanes. Firstly Charles Little lost possession of the ball over the line, and likewise Seder also fumbled, under pressure, over the line, denying both of a double score. Yet, with the visitors camped in the Heathens 22, it wasn't the last scoring opportunity of the game, as Darren barged his way over the line for a well earned try. Borrer converting and the scoring was done for the day 7 - 31.
Again a late surge from the home side came, but the visitors held out impressively, despite scrum-half Jordan missing the chance to kick the ball out twice to bring the game to a conclusion.
Director of Rugby Damian Marriott was pleased with the victory following the game:
"We are really pleased to get any kind of win up here. We got our noses in front early in 1st half but they (Fareham) showed a lot of resilience to come back. Our defensive maul was good today and a massive part of why we won, we knew it’s a big part of their game plan and that was where they was going to put us under enormous pressure.
The rest of our game was in better order than it has been and we were much more physical and got over the gain line. We came back brilliantly when it really counted at the end of the match and showed our team spirit and character to win.”
This Saturday the Hurricanes are back at home, and host Eastleigh 2nd and 3rd XVs in the first double header of the season. Stay tuned to the website and Facebook for kick off times and previews for both games.