Sandown and Shanklin RFC kicked off the new decade with an away trip to old foes Bognor RFC, looking to keep pace with the leading teams in Hampshire Premier.
The Hurricanes didn’t get off to the best of starts, conceding a penalty which was converted by the host’s fly-half for an early 3-0 lead. This was followed moments later with the first try of the game, Bognor increasing their lead to ten points.
Following the restart, Sandown and Shanklin found a foothold in the game, with their forwards getting on the front foot. This resulted in the Bognor defence beginning to concede penalties at the breakdown and this allowed the Hurricanes to gain vital territory in the home sides 22. The increasing pressure accrued two yellow cards for the hosts, first for their centre and the second the lock for trying to kill the ball and prevent Hurricanes from scoring. A few phases later, centre Michael Barrett barged over from short range, Flux converted for Sandown to get their first score of the game, 10-7.
This got the away side fired up, and after reclaiming the restart strong carrying from Wayne Williams, Smith and Chiverton got the Hurricanes into the Bognor half. Another string of penalties from Bognor allowed Flux to kick Sandown into the Bognor 22. The resulting line-out was claimed by Harrison Booth and set a customarily strong maul for the visitors, this was then driven over the try line, with Hooker, Zak Chiverton dotting down for the second score of the game. Flux converted to edge Sandown ahead for the first time 10-14.
Excellent defensive work from Rees, Dawson, and Booth, helped keep Bognor at bay and maintain play between the two ten metre lines for the duration of the first half. A last-minute break down the blindside saw the Bognor player evade tackles to score in the corner. With the conversion going just awry, it meant that the home side went into the half time break interval, 15-14.
Following the break, the Hurricanes didn’t get off to the best of starts again, this time as Bognor attacked the Sandown defence and found a gap out wide to score, 20-14. The Hurricanes went on the attack to find a way back into the game. With another penalty coming Sandown’s way, their attack was quelled by Bognor, another sin bin created another opportunity for the home side, with the penalty taken quickly. A handful of phases later, Smith barged over for Sandown’s third score. Flux converted to edge the away side into the lead once again, 20-21.
Almost a symptom of the Hurricanes issues this season, a lapse of concentration allowed Bognor to outmanoeuvre the defence and exploit the space down the blindside. This presented the opportunity for the home winger to sprint into the corner and score. The fourth try converted, Bognor moved into the lead, 27-21. The final quarter of the game became a tense fight between the two sides, as Bognor battled to prevent the Hurricanes from finding a match-winning score. Try as they might, the Hurricanes could not find the desired score, and had to settle for a losing bonus point.
The Hurricanes are back in action on Saturday (11), when they welcome New Milton and District RFC to the Fairway. The 2nd XV are on the road to Andover, to play their 3rd XV, and look to maintain their position near the top of Hampshire 3.
Read the Full Match Report on the SSRFC Website.