A tentative and slow start caught Sandown & Shanklin RFC napping and with the team’s Darren Carew attempting to clear the ball from the back of the scrum, the kick spiralled upwards and when it came down, was claimed by an Alresford player for the first score, 5 – 0.
With the hosts in the ascendancy and following a few missed tackles, they were in again for their second score. The try converted – the afternoon was becoming quite long the for the visitors, 12 – 0.
Then things went from bad to worse when a miss-called line out was picked off by one of the Alresford forwards, and the worst start imaginable was complete, with the home side in a 17 – 0 lead, with about 10 minutes of the first remaining. Damian Seder was substituted for a knock, putting Sam Flux into the fray.
Following the restart, Sandown & Shanklin soon managed to regain the ball from a penalty, and when the line out was secured, a few phases later the ball was spun to prop Ben Shannon who barged his way over the try line. Tom Borrer’s conversion was just short, but the away side were coming back to life, 17 – 5. The restart was expertly claimed Martin Richomme, and with new life in the Hurricanes. Following a few more phases by the forwards and a break by fly-half Sam Tyson, the ball again found its way into Ben Shannon’s hand for his and the Hurricanes second score. Borrer converted, which cut the Alresford winning margin to 17 – 12 at the half time break.
The second half began with the Hurricanes re-energised and starting much better than they had in the first half. Nevertheless, the hosts were determined to increase the winning margin and put the game out of reach, hammering the Hurricanes try line for the first ten minutes of the second half. Despite this pressure the Hurricanes held firm, and limited Alresford to a penalty kick, 20 – 12. Once Sandown & Shanklin had obtained possession and were back on the ball, they were able to play the territory game, and with the benefit of the wind behind them, this allowed the visitors to get into the Alresford half. The ball was eventually spun down the line to winger and Man of the Match, Owen Williams, who sprinted into the corner for the third try of the game for Sandown & Shanklin. The tricky conversion was missed by Borrer, yet it was now a three point game, 20 – 17.
With around 15 minutes remaining, the knocks and injuries were starting to mount up.This resulted in going to uncontested scrums, nullifying what had been an advantage for Sandown & Shanklin in the earlier stages. Then what has become a customary weapon for the Hurricanes, a well caught line out, and strong formed maul drove right up to the hosts try line. The Hurricanes backs then joined in, to help Darren Carew over the line for the final score of the game, and the narrowest of leads in favour of the away side. Borrer’s conversion slid wide, 20 – 22. In the end Sandown & Shanklin fought back to secure a memorable victory, against a strong Alresford side on the road.
Sandown & Shanklin now look to welcome Fareham Heathens to the Fairway for the last competitive fixture of 2018. Kick-off at 14:00.
The full match report can be found on the Sandown & Shanklin RFC website.