RUGBYSandown and Shanklin 18, Winchester 5
HANDLING errors and tricky winds meant the score was much lower than it might have been, but still Sandown will be satisfied with another victory.
On paper, Sandown were clear favourites but an error-strewn first half almost ended pointless, as both sides failed to execute the final pass.
The hosts should have gone ahead with 15 minutes gone but Neil Buckingham’s kick fell short of the crossbar. Then, on the half hour, Winchester had their chance to seize the lead, but their kick was skewed as well.
As half time neared, Sandown, whose pack was far superior to Winchester’s, managed to put together a good spell of possession and ball began to flow through the backs.
They finally made the breakthrough when Wightlink man of the match Joe Rees thundered forward and, as the ball passed through the hands of Dan Muir and Frank Bagnall, it eventually found Buckingham, who touched down in the corner. He was unable to convert.
Sandown could have gone 8-0 up, after Winchester were penalised for a dangerous high tackle on Vikoma man of the match Josh Robinson in front of the post. But once again, Buckingham missed.
In the second half, Sandown continued to dominate in the pack, but once the ball reached the backs, play broke down thanks to basic handling and discipline errors.
Fifteen minutes into the half, Sandown extended their lead when Kern Wales took the ball from a breaking Luke Chandler, and he touched down with two Winchester players tackling him.
After Winchester pulled back an unconverted try, Sandown responded well and restored their advantage when Muir opted to chip and chase. His kick should have been easily gathered by the Winchester player some ten metres from the line but he completely missed the ball and Muir made no mistake.
Buckingham finally converted a kick with 15 minutes left, scoring a penalty after Winchester’s continual infringements in the scrum.
Their day got worse when their hooker was sin-binned late on, although the referee appeared to signal for his return just a few minutes after sending him to the touch line.
Despite having the extra man for a while, Sandown were unable to score the extra try they needed for a bonus point but held on for the win with ease.
Sandown remain second in London South West 3, five points behind leaders Old Alleynians but five ahead of KCS Old Boys and Old Wellington-ians, with four matches left in the season.
Sandown: Steele, Allman, Harris, Hunter, S. Rees, Thomas, Bagnall, J. Rees, Dove, Buckingham, Gough, J. Robinson, Chandler, Muir, Wales. Subs: D. Robinson, Marriott, Kullik.