The Hurricanes made the journey with only 14 men, yet the mood was not ruined being a man down for the entire 80 minutes, nor was it dampened after an electric start by the Surrey based side, who quickly used the width of their pitch to out flank the Hurricanes defence for a very early lead, 5-0.
As soon as the Hurricanes got into their phases, a smart pass to Henry Bagnall meant that he slid through a hole in the hosts defence. Henry calmly passing to Luke Wedderkop and a phase later, Man of the Match Martin Richomme was able to collect the ball and score, 5-5. The hosts struck back almost immediately, again using the Hurricanes narrow defence to their advantage and getting around the outside, 10 – 5.
Yet, this could have easily deflated the momentum for Sandown & Shanklin, yet they rallied, and Man of the Match Matt Miselbach fed Jack Wedderkop who was causing the Purley defence issues with some great lines against the grain. As possession was carefully looked after, the ball was spun wide to Luke Wedderkop, and after a high tackle stopped him short of the line, the referee awarded a penalty try to the Hurricanes 10-12.
The frenetic start of the game continued, and barely reached the first quarter of the game, the Purley forwards had clicked into gear and earned their third score of the game, 15-12, however, the tit-for-tat scoring did not stop there. This time around Henry Bagnall was on the receiving end, as he was found in space and managed to score. With Flux missing the conversion, this provided the Hurricanes with a 15-17 score.
The second half began with the home side enjoying a sustained period of pressure on the outside of the Hurricanes’ 22. Jack Winter, Ben Shannon and Harry Hopper, all working double time and making important tackles to keep the home side at bay. As the game approached the final quarter, the relentless defensive work from the Hurricanes kept the home side at bay and could then eventually begin to attack themselves as the frustration of PJF was beginning to award penalties to the Hurricanes. This allowed the Hurricanes forwards to set a platform, spaces were beginning to appear, and offloads were starting to stick.
This time around, Chiverton fed Jack Wedderkop with a smart offload, and Jack sped away to dot down under the posts. Flux converted and pushed the Hurricanes into a 9-point lead with less than 15 minutes remaining, 15-24. The home side were desperate to regain possession and to get back into the fixture, however as the clock ticked red, they infringed, and Flux attempted to kick the penalty to end the game.
In a strange fashion to end any game, let alone this one, the ball struck the post, bounced down gratefully into the hands of Charles Little. With the home side defence somewhat stunned, Charles stepped past the last defender to score. With Zak Chiverton slotting the conversion, the Hurricanes were victorious 15-31 with 14 men.
Purley John Fisher RFC 15 – 31 Sandown & Shanklin RFC
The full match report can be found on the Sandown & Shanklin RFC website .
Sandown & Shanklin RFC now turn their attention to Fordingbridge RFC in the Hampshire Premier next Saturday, whilst waiting to find out who they are drawn against in the final 16 of the London & South East Junior Vase.