Joe Rees scored Sandown’s first try.
RUGBY Weybridge Vandals 24, Sandown and Shanklin 10
ANOTHER spirited performance from Sandown and Shanklin ended empty-handed — but with spirits still high and play improving, a win could be just around the corner.
Travelling to top-of-the-league Weybridge for this London South West 3 game, Sandown went into the game with hopes high.
However, Vandals started quickly, with their large and mobile pack manipulating the ball well. Sandown soaked up the early pressure but were left reeling when a gap in the defence left a hole for the Vandals full back to surge to the line unimpeded.
As the game flew from end to end, Sandown struggled in the set plays but were winning the breakdowns and broke with pace. Sandown had the opportunity to take points from a penalty close to the Vandals’ line but elected to run the ball and the chance was lost.
Shortly after, Weybridge had their own opportunity close to the try line but spilled in the tackle. However, the pressure ultimately told and the Vandals crashed over, converted for a 12-0 lead.
Sandown were undeterred and brought Ricky Harris and Sean Williams on in the front row. With parity in the scrums, skipper Joe Rees had a better platform from which to break and from multiple phase play, he crashed over for the Hurries’ first points of the day with the last play of the first half. Gavin Bodrell converted to bring the Hurries within five points.
Weybridge started the second half reinvigorated and spent the first 15 minutes in the Sandown half. Twice Sandown held up Vandals over the try line but Weybridge scored two quick tries, one of which was converted, to take the game away.
However, Sandown never felt out of the game. As the second half progressed, the Hurries’ superior speed led to great yard gains from Will Baxendall, Wayne Williams and Michael Booth, with the Vandals good in the scramble defence.
From an infringement on the 22, Bodrell slotted a penalty to bring the Hurries back within two scores.
Sandown attacked with the last play of the game to try and force a deserved bonus point but the ball was turned over and booted from play to leave the Hurries empty handed with a final score of 24 -10.
Sandown played very well and will undoubtedly win soon if the tempo and commitment from this game is maintained.
Tomorrow (Saturday), Sandown host Hampshire’s most successful team Havant at the Fairway Ground in the Hampshire Cup, kick-off 2.30pm.