James Kettel’s first try seals win as Sandal end losing run

Sandal’s run of North Premier losses stretching back to September was finally ended as they returned to winning ways with a 17-10 home success against Lymm.

Thursday, 25th November 2021, 7:00 am
James Kettel dives over for his first try for Sandal's first XV. Picture: Simon Hall

Over many years games between Sandal and Lymm have always been hard fought and the latest meeting proved to be just that again with the visitors proving to be a difficult side to overcome.

Home supporters left the ground happy, however, having watched their side notch up their third victory of the season. The side played well and certainly deserved their success.

Contrary to the start of most matches so far this season the home side was the first to put points on the board with a Luke Punton penalty after only one minute, resulting from a Lymm offside infringement.

More action from Sandal's return to winning ways against Lymm. Picture: Simon Hall

With this early boost Sandal had gained confidence but both sides persisted in kicking valuable possession away, which meant the game ebbed and flowed with each endeavouring to post the next score.

That privilege eventually fell to Lymm after 15 minutes, which was a reward for the persistent pressure put on the home line with a try being scored in the top corner to give the visitors a 5-3 lead after the conversion missed its target.

It was rather disappointing that this score remained until half-time, but both sides had their chances with the creation of good attacking moves interspersed with the exchange of penalties, each making ground to touch.

However, during this period there was one telling moment in the 36th minute when Lymm were on the attack. Sandal’s line came under severe pressure but the home side forwards defended extremely well to prevent an almost certain try by holding up the man and ball over the try line.

Sandal on their way to victory against Lymm. Picture: Simon Hall

At the interval the game was finely balanced with either side having the ability of coming out on top after 80 minutes.

The second half continued in a similar vein to the first with both sides exchanging field positions but with neither side being able to cross the line.

However, Sandal looked the more positive outfit and after 66 minutes young hooker Eddie Pitchford made a strong run up the touchline before handing on to the ever reliable try scorer Austen Thompson, who crossed the line unopposed.

With Punton’s conversion finding its mark Sandal were back in the lead at 10-5 and their confidence was growing with victory a distinct possibility.

Five minutes later that confidence went up more notches as the home side successfully contested a line-out in the top corner, enabling right winger James Kettel to make no mistake in scoring his first XV maiden try.

Punton slotted over the conversion from the touchline to extend his side’s lead to 17-5.

Lymm were not finished, however, and as the game moved into stoppage time they went on the attack and crossed for an unconverted second try. It was too late to deny Sandal their victory, but it did earn the visitors a losing bonus point.

Sandal supporters were more than pleased with four points from a much needed and deserved victory, however, and they will be hoping the team builds on this when on their travels to play Kirkby Lonsdale this Saturday.

With just one win their hosts sit second from bottom while Sandal are two places above them and looking once again at moving upwards after some difficult days this season.