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1st XV - Match centre

Sandal
Wirral
Tries
C Harvey (2), C Speed, J Annetts, R Higginson
Conversions
J Annetts (3)
Sat 19 Jan 14:15 - Northern Division - North Premier Full time

First Team's First Win at Sandal

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An excellent first 60 mins provide the win on the road.

For the long away trip to Sandal, Wirral’s first problem was trying to negotiate the coach out of the car park given that parents supporting the school teams had filled the car park.
With BEN BROOKS injured from last week (and not available due to work commitments), Matt Loon started on the right wing with James Adams coming on to the subs bench. Wirral won the toss and elected to play up the slope in the first half.
In the second minute, Sandal took the lead with a penalty from James Ellar some 20m out and quickly increased their lead after 4 minutes to 8-0 with their first attack of the game as they created an overlap down the left and good support play led to second row, Austen Thompson scoring in the corner.
Gradually Wirral came into the game and missed getting on the scorecard when a James Annetts penalty opportunity from 30m was missed. Wirral’s inter passing was effective as they made ground up field and put pressure on the home side in their 20m area. Ryan Higginson suffered a leg injury in a tackle and was replaced by DAN LIGHT. A good period of play ensued with a half break by Chris Crowley and then pass to Matt Loon almost brought a try as Matt was hauled down near the whitewash. Pressure was mounting and after a number of thrusts at the Sandal line, Captain Craig Harvey crossed for his 100th try and James Annetts tagged on the points. 8-7 (18 minutes). Despite playing up the slope Wirral maintained pressure on Sandal and were rewarded with a second try, from Chris Speed following a pass from Jack Yarker, again converted to give Wirral the lead 8-14 (25 minutes).
Two penalties in quick succession enabled Sandal to progress down to 10m from the Wirral line where Wirral defended stoutly to ensure there line was not crossed. However a subsequent penalty led to Paul Lewis having a 10 minute sit out on the touchline and from in front of the posts, James Ellar reduced the arrears to 11-14, 30 mins. Wirral continued to work hard in taking the ball up the slope and I had made a note that the current score would be a satisfactory result at the end of the first half. However Sandal came back and on the stroke of half time Sandal appeared to have scored but the referee deemed it to be a double movement, which according to observers appeared to have been a harsh decision.
At the start of the second half, Ryan Higginson returned to the game in place of Danny Light. From a position some 45m out, Chris Speed took a pass at pace and broke through the Sandal defence and this was followed on by James Reeve, which took play to within 10m of the Sandal line. After a number of thrusts at the line the ball was spun left and Craig Harvey crashed over from 7 m out, the conversion was missed. 11-19 (46 mins). Sandal continued to press but were losing ball as the Wirral back row were quicker to the breakdown. The next piece of play brought the try of the match with Wirral in possession from a scrum, James Annetts chipped over the oncoming defensive line, the ball was caught by Matt Loon and the pair were now clear, the full back was drawn in as the ball was released to James Annetts to score under the posts, which he converted himself. 11-26 (51 mins). This was the try bonus point. Ryan Stead came on for Paul Lewis.
At this stage there was no holding Wirral as they exerted pressure on Sandal whenever they were in possession and were able to make ground downhill into the Sandal half. JAMES ADAM came on for Matt Loon. Wirral had a scrum under the Sandal posts and were deemed to have dropped the scrum when in possession, penalty against!!. From the clearance, Wirral regained possession as the ball was dropped by Sandal some 30m out and picked up by Ryan Higginson who ran straight and hard through the Sandal defence to score 10m from the posts, the conversion was missed but extended Wirral’s lead to 11-31. (60mins). It will be recalled that last year Wirral held a commanding lead only to lose the game in the last minute.
Finally Sandal came alive in the final 10 minutes when a good move down the left wing enabled Danny Grainger, who raced in from 40m with the try being also converted, 18-31. Danny Light came on for Jack Yarker. This score seemed to galvanise Sandal and one wondered whether we were going to see a repeat of last year’s match. Sandal were now putting pressure on Wirral in the 20m area and after a rumpus under the posts, Craig Harvey was sin binned and this led to Sandal scoring two tries in the last two minutes with scores by Jack Townend and Danny Grainger. Fortunately the tries were scored wide out and were not converted to leave the score 28-31, with the last attempt at conversion being the final act of the game.
If Wirral had taken all their scoring opportunities and kicking had been more accurate they could have won the game more comfortably but as with the Lymm game, tries were scored by the opposition in the final 10 minutes and they need to tighten up this aspect of their game. The first 70 minutes was one of their best away performances for two seasons and to pull off a win at Sandal where they have not won before is credit to the team. Wirral have now climbed to 5th in the table and need to consolidate this position with a good performance next week against 2nd placed Billingham where the kick off will be slightly earlier than usual at 2.00pm.
Richard McNeil

Quilter Kids First Champions winner – February: Henley Hawks RFC

Key moments

18:00
Try Craig Harvey scores for Wirral
18:00
Conversion James Annetts kicks a conversion for Wirral
25:00
Try Chris Speed scores for Wirral
25:00
Conversion James Annetts kicks a conversion for Wirral
46:00
Try Craig Harvey scores for Wirral
51:00
Try James Annetts scores for Wirral
51:00
Conversion James Annetts kicks a conversion for Wirral
56:00
Try Ryan Higginson scores for Wirral

Highlights

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73:00 Yellow Card
Craig Harvey is yellow carded for Wirral
70:00 Sub On
Danny Light is substituted on for Wirral
70:00 Sub Off
Jack Yarker is substituted off for Wirral
60:00 Sub On
James Adams is substituted on for Wirral
60:00 Sub Off
Matt Loon is substituted off for Wirral
57:00 Sub On
Ryan Stead is substituted on for Wirral
57:00 Sub Off
Paul Lewis is substituted off for Wirral
56:00 Missed Conversion
James Annetts misses a conversion for Wirral
56:00 Try 0 - 31
Ryan Higginson scores for Wirral
51:00 Try 0 - 24
James Annetts scores for Wirral
51:00 Conversion 0 - 26
James Annetts kicks a conversion for Wirral
51:00 Try Assist
Matt Loon makes an assist for Wirral
46:00 Missed Conversion
James Annetts misses a conversion for Wirral
46:00 Try 0 - 19
Craig Harvey scores for Wirral
41:00 Sub On
Ryan Higginson is substituted on for Wirral
41:00 Sub Off
Danny Light is substituted off for Wirral
End of period 1
29:00 Yellow Card
Paul Lewis is yellow carded for Wirral
25:00 Conversion 0 - 14
James Annetts kicks a conversion for Wirral
25:00 Try 0 - 12
Chris Speed scores for Wirral
25:00 Try Assist
Jack Yarker makes an assist for Wirral
18:00 Try 0 - 5
Craig Harvey scores for Wirral
18:00 Conversion 0 - 7
James Annetts kicks a conversion for Wirral
16:00 Sub Off
Ryan Higginson is substituted off for Wirral
16:00 Sub On
Danny Light is substituted on for Wirral
8:00 Missed Penalty
James Annetts misses a penalty for Wirral
Start of the game
Replay game

As it happened

  • Sandal
  • Wirral
  • 0
  • Ryan Higginson Sub Off 16:00'
  • Danny Light Sub On 16:00'
  • Craig Harvey Try 18:00'
  • James Annetts Conversion 18:00'
  • Chris Speed Try 25:00'
  • James Annetts Conversion 25:00'
  • Jack Yarker Try Assist 25:00'
  • Paul Lewis Yellow Card 29:00'
  • Ryan Higginson Sub On 41:00'
  • Danny Light Sub Off 41:00'
  • Craig Harvey Try 46:00'
  • James Annetts Try 51:00'
  • James Annetts Conversion 51:00'
  • Matt Loon Try Assist 51:00'
  • Ryan Higginson Try 56:00'
  • Paul Lewis Sub Off 57:00'
  • Ryan Stead Sub On 57:00'
  • Matt Loon Sub Off 60:00'
  • James Adams Sub On 60:00'
  • Jack Yarker Sub Off 70:00'
  • Danny Light Sub On 70:00'
  • Craig Harvey Yellow Card 73:00'

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

Other North Premier results

21
3
Kirkby Lonsdale
24
13
Blaydon
Hull
89
0
Lymm
20
12
24
17
Ilkley

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Hull 23 103
2. Blaydon 23 84
3. Billingham 22 83
4. Harrogate 23 83
5. Sandal 23 67
6. Wirral 23 64
7. Rossendale 23 61

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