Bournville Win Leaves Bitter Taste
By Paddy Davenport
Try a Minute From Time Steals Victory
Having led throughout the game and being 21 v 30 up with five minutes to go, Sandbach really should have won this game. Fair play to Bournville, they kept chipping away and took their chances, but Sandbach should have had the game sewn up by then. As it was, two late converted tries from the chocolate men’s scrum half Will Hardwick stole victory at the death, leaving Sandbach rueing a lack of composure and the missed ten kickable points from the boot.
The game was Bournville’s last at their temporary home at the University of Birmingham Bournbrook pitch. The new artificial grass surface there, meant for a fast and open game. Sandbach came out of the blocks flying and completely dominated proceedings with Benny Elliot scoring a penalty after just two minutes. Unfortunately, he was unsuccessful with a couple of other attempts five and ten minutes later. So, it was satisfying to see their ascendency pay off, as Elliot created the opening for winger Joe Jepps, to bulldoze over the cover defence to score the opening try. Bournville were then reduced to fourteen as Hardwick infringed at a scrum, as the home side were being driven back, and Elliot adding a further penalty on thirty minutes.
Bournville showed that when they got some ball they looked dangerous and winger Coulson broke through to go under the posts, reducing the deficit to 7 v 11. Sandbach then reasserted themselves and following a strong run from young hooker Ewan Ashman and a series of drives, saw prop Gareth Caen crash over. Elliot converted and then scored a try himself, as Sandbach made use of the extra man, when centre Jack Leech put the full back away. So, the half time whistle went with the visitors 7 v 23 and a bit of a feeling it perhaps should have been a few more.
In the second half Bournville slowly started to work their way back into the game as their stocky centre Hussey crashed over after fifteen minutes, with fly half Warner adding the conversion, Sandbach’s lead was being whittled away. Sandbach then lost Leech to the bin for offside and Bournville took advantage of the extra numbers, for another converted try to put the score at 21 v 23. But with ten to go Sandbach reasserted themselves and their scrum was awarded a penalty try. From there, they just needed to control the ball, to see the game out. It was not to be, as a couple of mistakes proved crucial in conceding field position and despite desperate defence, Harding sneaked over for the crucial converted scores.
This was the ninth time this season that Sandbach have picked up a losing bonus point. Of the twelve games they have lost, in most of these they have had chances to take the game. So, though it has been a pretty good season and the influence of the Sale Sharks coaching duo of Rob Webber and Byron McGuigan, has certainly improved the quality of the players, there is still a bit to do just yet, to realise the potential of the team. Fortunately, Sandbach do have the opportunity to rid themselves of a few of the frustrations of the season with the Cheshire Plate final on Tuesday night. Kick off is at 8.00 pm at Winnington Park, Northwich. Hopefully they will come back with a win and a trophy, which their efforts this year merit.