A Dominant Display
By Matthew Faulkner
The ball keeps rolling...
Sandbach 3rd XV have been enjoying a great run of form recently amounting to an impressive 9 games unbeaten in all competitions.
This fixture had the potential to be a banana skin for Sandbach and they knew it. Looking back to last season it took 4 tries in the final few minutes to clinch a home win for Bach and then lost out to a very physical Macc in the return fixture. With this in mind, Bach knew before KO that Macc posed a good threat to that winning run and would need to ensure they were at the top of their game from whistle to whistle to ensure the train stayed firmly on it's tracks.
Knowing the physical threat Macc posed, Sandbach fielded a big strong pack and aimed to start the game quickly and with intensity to rely on their fitness and speed to out play their opponents. Macc showed early they had a couple of strong runners and their strongest asset was their pack and ability to defend and compete at the breakdown. Macc set up a few rolling mauls and impressively marched Sandbach down the park on a number of occasions. A few turnovers of Sandbach ball at the breakdown was a bit of an early wake up call that Sandbach wern't going to find this one easy.
A quick change of tactic and the Sandbach forwards began to gain control around the park. Safely securing their own ball at scrum time and with the long limbering reach of prop come hooker Nick Browns leg, was able to turnover a couple against the head.
Lineouts and Tim Young showed his true spirit animal as he lept like a salmon all game. Retaining, disrupting and stealing aerial ball all afternoon. Combined with some lovely foot work, he became a menace all game.
Richard Cannon showed why retirement doesn't suit him and overlaps are for quitters. With his dancing shoes firmly strapped on, sliced his way through the Macc defence, beating 4 players to score under the posts.
The Sandbach backs have been running some lovely rugby so far this season, but on a windy and narrow pitch, open space would be harder to come by and would require more work from everyone on the park.
Rob Smith-Owen had obviously covered himself in vaseline prior to kick off as he seemed to be evading tackles left, right and centre by showing some excellent feet and hard running all game.
Tom 'the gap' Bradfield did what he's done all season so far. Finding, exploiting and creating gaps he had no right fitting through in the first place. Not able to grab his usual try haul this week, he contributed with some excellent unselfish hands, great footwork and gets this week's try assist award!
Sandbach 3XV captain Matt Faulkner says:
"I'm really proud of the lads and everything they've achieved so far. After a great last season, finishing 4th after closely avoiding relegation the season before is a real achievement. The fact they were still disappointed with that finish just shows the ambition the squad has this year. We've got a great squad this year and I'm really looking forward to the rest of the season."
The old saying goes, forwards win games, backs decide by how many and that was apparent in this game. Some hard work by the lads at 1-8 meant those 9-15 could enjoy some running rugby. There were excellent performances all over the park for Sandbach but all considered they deserved the convincing victory against a strong hard running Macc pack.
Look ahead: No game next weekend giving the squad the opportunity to rest up. Home game to league leaders Crewe the following week where Bach look to make it 10 games unbeaten!