IW 5, Sandown and Shanklin 34
TWO of the Island’s rugby clubs began their season with a friendly, which served as a trial for both squads.
In the end, the higher league experience of the visitors proved decisive, though both clubs achieved their aims of getting valuable game time and trying out new players and positions.
The match remained scoreless until flanker Tom Hatch was sin-binned on 15 minutes. Sandown took full advantage, scoring two tries, then scoring another on 33 minutes to go into the break 19-0 up.
Both sides made numerous substitutions to experiment and try out new players, but the game remained competitive. IW got on the scoresheet, when a good set-up move started by Brett Evans ended in Dan Stirrup scoring in the corner.
Sandown cancelled this out with another five-pointer before the three-quarter mark.
Both sides displayed a positive attitude and willingness to attack with Sandown scoring two tries in the final quarter.
The IW had strong performances from newcomers Tom Woodhouse and Rouse Ltd man of the match Dan Tennant at hooker. Catalin Dinu, Kierhan Dry and Ian Robinson-Phoenix also made their returns after lengthy absences.