Sandal 2nd XV 22-17 Foresters

Yorkshire & NE Premiership Final

The two sides met at West Leeds RUFC to decide who would be crowned champions for the season.

The game was a nervous affair where both teams experienced both purple patches and inaccuracies around the park. 

The game played out with both teams trying to assert their contrasting styles. Sandal with their heavier pack and midfield playing a more direct game with gas on the wings. Dale playing with mobility in the forwards and pace across the three quarters playing a quicker all court game.

It was Dale that started the faster of the two teams, making ground with good ball retention and gaining the advantage in both the scrum and line out.  At 7 minutes in, the Greens were awarded a penalty in the opposition’s half , between the 10 metre line and 22. Sensing that they had the ascendancy they elected to kick for touch. Fly half, Max Bell, put in a great nudge to the left corner. At the ensuing line out the hooker,Sid Holden, found his jumper, lock Jack Burton, and the Greens’ pack set up a maul that was stopped close to the line. The ball was recycled and another drive was halted. However, the ball this time was much quicker.  Scrum half Sam Cox got the ball away and found Jack Burton, who crashed over to open the scoring. The try was converted by Max Bell, score 7-0.

The Greens looked to be settling well and will probably be disappointed that they didn’t scored on one or two more occasions in the opening quarter. They were to be denied due to their own inaccuracies in their final execution.

Sandal however stayed in the game and got a foot in the door. Around the 24th minute Sandal were making ground, just in Dale’s half,  close to the attacking side’s left wing. They were awarded a penalty and kicked for touch.  Sandal set up a driving maul from the lineout and drove the Greens back 20 meters to score. Score 7-7.

Sandal now grew in confidence.They had a good spell of possession and territory up to half time and twenty minutes into the second half. 

Prior to halftime, sustained pressure on the Forester’s line was repeatedly repelled, either by the Greens pinching line out ball or from turn overs in loose play. However the Greens could not clear their lines.This was to cost them. The constant pressure eventually told when Sandal broke down the left wing to score in the corner. Score 7-12 at 38 minutes. 

After the break, Sandal came out of the blocks quicker and their direct style of play was causing some of the young Foresters team problems in the tackle area. In the 42nd minute the Sandal right wing, halfway in their own half, ran hard into Dale’s half, Sandal recycled the ball left and the hard running right wing created the extra man on the left, drawing the final tackler, he off loaded to his left wing, who finished a off a great try. The try was converted, score 7-19.

Foresters were now facing an uphill battle.

But battle they did despite losing a player to the sin bin.

They were looking dangerous once they generated quick ball and moved the opposition around. The Foresters were awarded a penalty just outside the opposition’s 22.  Max Bell took the points to take the score to 10-19 around the 48th minute.

The game was getting tense and Sandal themselves sustained a yellow card for a high tackle. Dale were desperately looking to put pace in the game whilst Sandal were trying to control the ball and slow down play.

At 71 minutes from a line out deep in Sandals half, The Foresters attacked. After several phases of play they found the edge and right wing Bradley Viner finished,scoring a try, wide right in the corner.

An excellent conversion took the score to 17-19.

Dale were finishing the stronger,however Sandal were awarded a penalty in front of goal, this was duly converted in the  73rd minute.

Dale still needed a try and to the end, played the game in Sandals’ 22. Dale had sustained pressure and should have scored on a couple of occasions. Sandal to their credit were wisely trying to slow the game down. In the end the Foresters just ran out of time and Sandal took the spoils. 

Congratulations to Sandal and commiserations to the Wharfedale lads who worked so hard trying to make up the deficit.

Team: –

1, G Altham, 2, S. Holden, 3, J. Hirst (c), 4, J. Burton, 5, Z. Heys, 6, L. Craven, 7, O. Bullock, 8, M. Mountain, 9, S. Cox, 10, M. Bell, 11, B. Viner, 12, T. Darwin,13, O. Kaup-Samuels, 14, F. Walker, 15, D. Canny.

Replacements: – 16, D. Stockdale, 17, T. Whitehead, 18, S. Bennett, 19, A. Stockdale, 20. Owen Bullock, 21 O. Hall.

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