Sandown & Shanklin RFC welcomed New Milton & District RFC for the first home fixture of 2020 and the decade, with the Hurricanes looking to bounce back following defeat in their first game of the year.
Sandown & Shanklin RFC 37 – 29 New Milton & District RFC
New Milton kicked off the match, playing up the hill and against the wind, but battled hard to gain territory in the hosts 22, and with a lapse of concentration at the scrum, the opposition number 8 picked up and drove home for the opening score, 0 – 7.
It didn’t take long for Hurricanes to respond however. After getting themselves into striking range and on the front foot, swift handling from the backline set Wedderkop free to sprint into the corner, the conversion just sliding wide, 5 – 7.
The visitors again worked their way into the Sandown half, and following a period of sustained pressure, New Milton got their second score of the game increasing their winning margin, 5 – 12.
The opening 30 minutes was all in favour of the away side, as they performed well playing against the wind and holding out the Hurricanes attacks down the hill. In the last few minutes of the first half, the Sandown forwards had made metres into the New Milton 22, with thanks to Darren Carew, Ben Shannon, and Luke Hunter. As a penalty advantage was played for the Hurricanes, Tyson launched a kick into the 22, and fullback Owen Williams claimed the ball and was barged over the try line. This score cut the deficit to 10 – 12.
The ball was reclaimed at the restart, the forwards again made headway into the New Milton half, this time Smith, Flux and Rees leading the charge. With the New Milton defence in disarray, Man of the Match Tom Borrer, dummied and found a hole to snipe through and score, Flux converted the conversion this time, to send the Hurricanes in 17 – 10 up at the half time break.
Following the half time interval, the hosts started the second half the brightest, following a turn around of their efforts in the first half. More forwards drives made headway into the New Milton 22, and with the away defence stretched, when the ball went wide it was a simple walk-in for winger Rob Newton Jnr, 22 – 12.
This was followed up by another score, this time from the forwards. With possession coming quicker than in the first half, Flux managed a sublime offload to Smith, who then sprinted home past two further defenders to score, pushing the margin upto 27 – 12.
Moments later a third try in a row, a second for O Williams, had put the Hurricanes firmly in charge of the game, with the score at 32 – 12.
With the pressure mounting on the away side, the Hurricanes were bearing down on the visitors and looked certain to score again, with a three on one overlap, however, the final pass was intercepted with the winger going the length of the field despite being chased down by Barrett.
The visitors then managed to score a second try minutes later, with another lapse of concentration from the home side allowing the New Milton winger to go in again in the corner, 32 – 24.
A string of penalties, as Sandown pressed forward gained the home side much-needed territory, and with some clever hands in the midfield and a decent line from winger M Cooper, meant he could power through for his first try of the season, to secure the victory for the home side, 37 – 24.
The visitors managed one more score but with time against them, Sandown & Shanklin held firm in the final stages.