Following another weekend of cup exploits, the Sandown & Shanklin Hurricanes returned to Fordingbridge RFC for League action on Saturday (25th November).
With a weakened, and just the sole 15, the hopes weren’t as high for the Hurricanes as they were the last time they travelled away to Fordingbridge. Nevertheless, despite a slight chill, it was a perfect afternoon for rugby in the New Forest.
The opening exchanges from the start were relatively even, as both sides probed the opposition defence trying to find a gap. Fordingbridge gained control of the scoreboard, and having slightly better territory, their pressure was soon converted into the first try of the game, as the hosts managed to get around the Sandown defence. With the try not converted, this presented Fordingbrigde with a commanding 14-0 lead with 15 minutes remaining in the half.
The score was brought up to 14-7 before the first half was out thanks to Cameron Mitchell. A quick defensive push and even quicker foresight from the stand-off saw him collect an intercept pass and sprint under the posts for the Hurricanes first score of the game. With Tom Borrer duly adding the extras, 14-7.
As the second half restarted, Fordingbridge sought hard to put the game back in their favour, firstly scoring a try out wide, and then again as scrum half Jacob Jordan was sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes, 26-7, with the hosts a man up.
Despite the Hurricanes facing all of the odds in an uphill battle, they were the ones to strike back next. After getting hold of possession and working their way up the field, thanks to a turnover penalty from stand in captain Sam Flux, Sandown could attack from the line out and with their driving maul becoming highly effective.
As a few phases moved into the middle of the field and deep into the Fordingbridge 22, another penalty came the way of Sandown, as full back Tom Borrer took a quick tap and found himself over the try line to cut the deficit, 26-14. That was soon reduced to 26-19.
The clock ticking away, and the game sliding away from the visitors, a late run and break through the Sandown defence from Fordingbridge had defenders grasping at thin air. A late attempt and continued holding on from Alex Loftus, resulted in a penalty try and a yellow card. This score more than sealed the result for the hosts, with barely moments remaining in the fixture – the final score to 39–19.
An enthralling game played in the best manner by both sides, stand in captain Sam Flux saluted the effort and heart from his charges as they fought back valiantly, and almost recreated the same result they achieved a few weeks previous. A nod also to Zac Davies and Dave Owen for making their debuts on the day. The only sour note being that the Hurricanes could not manage to take any tangible points home with them.
The Hurricanes will now host Surrey 1 side Old Wimbledonians in the London & SE – Junior Vase, on Saturday 2nd December, at the Fairway. Kick off from 14:00.