Sandown & Shanklin Crack Tough Gosport & Fareham Nut
The Hurricanes are victorious against a tough Gosport & Fareham side, 3 - 52.
Sandown & Shanklin made the much shorter trip this week to Gosport in a return to league action against Gosport & Fareham RFC 2nd in the Hampshire Premier.
The Hurricanes got off to the better start, after building a number of phases, and strong carries from Darren Carew and Jack Wedderkop got the attack moving forward for the away side. After a couple of phases the ball ended up in the hands of fly-half Josh Wetherick who slid in for the first score of the game. Tom Borrer converted and Sandown & Shanklin were in an early and well deserved 0 - 7 lead.
The home side then threatened to get back into the game, after being awarded a penalty on the Hurricanes 22. Although the penalty attempt was missed, and after the Hurricanes cleared their lines, the Gosport & Fareham fly half then attempted a drop goal, which also missed the mark. What followed was a period of attrition between the two sides, as the Hurricanes were frustrated by the big Gosport pack.
Yet the home side in due course get themselves on the score board. Another penalty attempt was kicked and got the hosts going, 3 - 7.
Moments later the home side were again threatening the Hurricanes 22, and with another penalty attempt this time striking the posts, the visitors got off lightly. With the home side still thwarting the Sandown & Shanklin attacks, much of the play was taking place between the two 22's, as the Hurricanes struggled to kick into gear and string phases of play together in the sticky and damp conditions.
When Sandown & Shanklin eventually managed to string a number of phases and carries together led by captain Zak Chiverton, the away side were soon threatening the Gosport try line. When the ball was then passed down the line to Owen Williams, he drew the final defender which allowed Zak Chiverton in to dot down for the Hurricanes second try of the game. Tom Borrer's conversion dropped just short, but the lead was extended 3 - 12 before the break.
Following the half time break, the Hurricanes increased their intensity and with the introduction of Luke Wedderkop into the centres and the half time team talk still in their minds, the attack became much more direct and efficient. Some great handling skills eventually got the ball into Zak Chiverton's hands, who had them a run in from the 22 to dot down under the posts for his second score. The try was converted, 3 - 19.
After the restart, the Hurricanes were now in a ruthless mood, and with the ball moved quickly to the Ben Sanderson who broke the line, some smart offloading by the away side soon found the returning Sam Branston who sprinted away and scored under the posts to complete the Sandown double salvo. Despite Borrer missing only his second conversion, the Hurricanes were now in a commanding position, 3 - 24.
With Sandown & Shanklin in the ascendancy, game play and phases started to click much more easily for the away side. This time around fly half Josh Wetherick scythed through the defence with a mazy run, which brought play up into the G&F half. Then with possession quickly recycled, the ball was spun wide to fullback and man of the match, Ben Sanderson, who broke the line and dashed in for the Hurricanes fifth try of the game, converted by Borrer, 3 - 31.
The home side restarted and as the ball was spun wide to Wedderkop of the Luke variety, his strong running took the Hurricanes up into the Gosport half again. This time the home side infringed at the breakdown, trying to slow down the momentum of the visitors. The resulting penalty was kicked into the hosts 22, and a strong line out catch and drive was driven just short of the Gosport try line before being illegally stopped and the referee awarding another penalty to Sandown & Shanklin. The resulting penalty was again kicked into touch, and the following line out was securely set up again by the forwards and marched over the try line for, man of the match Zak Chiverton's, hat-trick. Again Borrer's consistency from the tee pushed the score to 3 - 38.
The scoring didn't stop there for the Hurricanes, when Gregor Dean was brought into the fray, his charging runs from the base of the scrum caused the Gosport defenders to draw into the breakdown. With the space out wide, the Sandown back line got the ball wide to winger Owen Williams, who then out sprinted the defence from forty metres for his first score. the try converted with the Hurricanes then breaking the 40 point mark, 3 - 45.
Owen then followed up moments later with his second score of the game, when again he was found in space to dash past the last defenders to complete the scoring and the Hurricanes 8th try of the game. Borrer converted for a final 3 - 52 score line.
Injured 1st XV captain Sam Flux had this to say following the final whistle:
"The boys played well today, especially those who stepped up and took their opportunities. It was always going to be a tough opening 40/50 minutes against Gosport at their home ground. They are a touch nut to crack and very much proved that in the first half. Fortunately we discussed were needed to improve at the break and really responded to the challenge. Now we have to make the most of the next two weeks and the final two games of 2018, to consolidate our 2nd position in the league."
Next Saturday 8th December the Hurricanes will play Alresford RFC. The fixture is scheduled to be at home, however the Club is working to reverse the fixture, due to a function at the Clubhouse.
The 2nd XV will travel to Romsey RFC 2nd XV for a re-arranged league fixture. This is well timed, following the disappointing forfeited fixture against Chineham RFC the past weekend.