Wake Up Call : Sandbach 50 v 10 Kendal
It was 0v0 after thirty minutes, and 12v0 at half time but Sandbach added 38 points before two late Kendal scores.
Sandbach play in the Midland Premier Division, at the same level as Kendal. Reportedly after a good start to last season, injuries to key players’ saw them fall away, and they only avoided relegation, due to the demise of London Welsh. On this performance they should make good use of that escape this season. Two new centres have been recruited locally, and if they were the two on show, they will be very useful acquisitions.
The opening exchanges indicated nothing of what to come with Kendal dominating the first twenty minutes, but a mixture of excellent defence from Sandbach, some poor Kendal passing, and a string of penalties for failing to release the ball in the tackle, kept the scoreboard blank.
Glenn Weightman made some good runs out of defence, and one almost set up Mark Carruthers, who was stopped on the line, and whilst the forwards drove for the line, somehow Sandbach managed to steal the ball to relieve the danger.
Sandbach had the upper hand in the scrums, with the Kendal scrum often being driven backwards, but good work from Matty Houghton playing at No.8, allowed Kendal to retain the ball.
The first good break from Sandbach came after twenty five minutes with a long run from their inside centre, which ended when he dropped the ball.
Sandbach opened the scoring after half an hour. Kendal had the ball in midfield, but failed to protect the ball at the breakdown, and it was stolen by Sandbach. The ball was moved wide to the left for the outside centre to score, with the fullback converting 7v0
The second score also came from a Kendal mistake, when a ball was lost in defence and hacked through by a Sandbach flanker. Glenn Weightman, playing at fullback, managed to get back, but his kick to touch gave Sandbach an attacking lineout. Which they won and drove over the line for an unconverted try. 12v0.
Sandbach signalled they were taking the game seriously, by leaving the field at halftime, whilst Kendal stayed out.
There as a blow for Kendal early in the second half when Dini Noyo was forced off with an injury, joining Zane Butler, who had been forced off mid-way through the first half.
Ten minutes into the half Sandbach increased their lead. Their pack destroyed Kendal at a scrum, and with the referee already playing a penalty advantaged, the outside centre burst through the middle to score a try, which was easily converted 19v0. A fourth try was scored from the kick off, as Sandbach ran the ball back down the left hand touchline. 24v0.
Kendal then came back into the game, and had a spell of pressure in the Sandbach twenty two, only to lose the ball, and the Sandbach outside centre added a further try, using footballing skills to kick the ball ahead several times on his way to the line. 31v0, with the conversion.
Confusion in the Kendal defence lead to a sixth try. A kick up the right touchline, was not gathered and a Sandbach player got the touchline, and an excellent touchline conversion was added. 38v0
More confusion in the defence lead to the seventh try, with Nathan Wooff forced off the right wing, to help out on the left. When Sandbach won the ball, a crossfield kick was put to their left wing for a score. 43v0
The eighth and final Sandbach try came from a lineout drive 50v0.
Kendal opened their scoring at the end of normal time, after a first lineout drive had been stopped illegally, Kendal won the lineout, following the penalty, and Dom Musetti was driven over for the try 50v5.
With the final move of the game, good build up work down the left, saw the ball moved wide to the right for Nathan Wooff to finish the move with the try. 50v10.
Sandbach looked sharper in both attack and defence than Kendal, but the gap was not as large as the score suggests. Kendal will need to cut out the errors before the season opener at Ilkley in a fortnight.
Damian Armstrong and Matty Houghton were the pick of the Kendal squad (for me), whilst Glenn Weightman also worked hard all game, in the unaccustomed position of fullback, with Dan Greenwood also having a good game. For a second week the lineout also worked well (see 'photo as Liam pinches a Sandbach throw).
|Kendal||Starting line up|
|15||Glenn Weightman (19)|