They were not to be disappointed even though the side’s selection had to be changed from the previous week with Sandal enjoying a 30-12 success, writes Howard Newton.
The hosts were without captain Austen Thompson and player-coach Joe Bedford, but the changes gave an opportunity for veteran Richard Hoyland to take his place in the front row, some 20 years after his debut.
Notwithstanding, the players coming in gave a good account of themselves and ran out worthy winners with four tries and a bonus point in registering Sandal’s seventh victory of the season.
Playing against the slope in the first half, the home side took up a position in the Wirral half from the kick-off from where the visitors infringed, resulting in Jake Adams kicking the awarded penalty in the first minute to give his side an early 3-0 lead.
Sandal continued to attack, keeping Wirral in their own half, and in the 14th minute following a scrum the ball was passed along the line to Dom Fawcett who weaved his way up field to score in the corner.
The conversion kick missed its target, Sandal had extended their lead to 8-0.
Then followed a lengthy period during which the home side was in charge and had several opportunities to score following telling attacking moves, but with crucial passes being dropped or players being held up over the line they were unable to add to their advantage.
But in first half stoppage time Luke Adams easily converted a penalty to make it 11-0 at the break.
With Sandal now having the slope’s advantage much was expected, but it was Wirral that made the early running in the second half, causing their opponents to bring into play their defensive skills with some success.
So much so that in the 53rd minute Luke Adams made a break on the half-way line before handing over to Fawcett who cruised to the line to score his second try od the afternoon. With the original playmaker kicking the conversion the score moved on to 18-0.
After a further four minutes it was time for Wirral to show their scoring ability with a break up the slope and this resulted in an unconverted try in the top corner to take the score to 18-5.
Sandal remained in control with play in midfield until James Ellar intercepted on half-way and outpaced the defence to score a solo try. Jake Adams added the extras and the hosts had an unassailable 20-point lead after 64 minutes.
Undeterred, Wirral hit back two minutes later and went on the attack to score a well constructed try, which was converted.
But as full-time approached Sandal put a penalty to touch and from the ensuing line-out Jake Adams made a telling break. As he was tackled he handed on to brother Luke Adams who made easy work of crossing the whitewash to score his side’s bonus point try.
It remained unconverted, but the final score of 30-12 gave Sandal a much deserved victory.
Interestingly the points scored by Jake Adams in the match took his season’s tally over the 100 mark – a worthy achievement in his first full year in Sandal’s premier side.
Sandal have one game left this season when they travel to play Alnwick on Saturday, April 23 and will finish in 11th.