Depleted Sandal Warriors lose for first time this season
A lack of substitutes proved crucial as Sandal Warriors lost their first game of the season when they hosted Hull Ionians.
It was soon clear that Hull had come with a specific game plan and the evidence pointed to a forward dominated attack through the middle. But Sandal were determined to stop the opposition from breaking over the gain line with some strong defensive tackling.
Following multiples phases of play by both teams across the middle of the pitch an eventual breakthrough was made, when Sandal earned a penalty just outside the Hull 22. A quick tap by Molly Palmer allowed her to burst through the tackle and offload to Verity Randall who finished off the move with a strong run for the opening try under the posts.
Having lost first choice kicker Maisie Palmer with an injury during warm-up, the conversion was missed by Vicky Megretton and Hull hit back with an unconverted try to make it was 5-5 at half-time.
The visitors once again deployed their strong running forwards to carry the ball through the middle, but Sandal stood firm until a penalty led to a quick tap and slick hands got the ball out to the winger, who slipped through a tackle and ran in Hull’s second try. The conversion made it 12-5.
The next passages of play saw both teams putting in strong tackles, with no quarter asked or given. The game went back and forth between the 22 metre lines of both teams, but Hull capitalised on a lapse of concentration as they broke through once more to score on the right side of the posts.
As the second half went on, it became clear that the lack of substitutions for Sandal meant the 15 players on the field were now beginning to tire and Hull took advantage of this as with fresher legs they scored another try, despite there being a Sandal player down injured.
Sandal kept their heads up and Molly Palmer’s quick tap penalty saw her make good ground before Abigail Dickinson was able to dive over for a try. It only proved a consolation as the final score was 22-10, but showed that the Warriors had spirit in their first defeat.
Courtney Evans was named back of the match, Jo Clark was forward of the match and Verity Randall chosen as opposition player of the match.