Sandal RUFC draw again despite opening up 26-point lead

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Sandal let a 26-point lead slip as they had to settle for a draw for the second week running when they entertained Driffield in Regional One North East.

After drawing 20-20 with Cleckheaton the previous week honours were even again for Sandal and their opponents as they drew 29-29 at Milnthorpe Green, writes Howard Newton.

In the first half Sandal, playing with the slope, took the game to Driffield and by half-time seemed to be in control with a lead of 17-3 only to be pegged back in the second half by a resilient Driffield side.

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It was a result governed to some extent by indiscipline that led to a sending off and injuries to Jimmy Stewart and Dom Fawcett.

Sandal on the attack in their thrilling draw against Driffield. Picture: Scott MerryleesSandal on the attack in their thrilling draw against Driffield. Picture: Scott Merrylees
Sandal on the attack in their thrilling draw against Driffield. Picture: Scott Merrylees

Driffield scored first when they converted a penalty, but their lead was shortlived because after a period of some slick Sandal passing between backs and forwards in the Driffield half Nick Caralan scored his side’s first try in a position which gave Jake Adams the opportunity to add the extras to take the score to 7-3.

Continuing in an attacking mode, Sandal scored again two minutes later when Scott McGregor sent out a long pass to Joe Allott. He handed on to Jake Adams who in his style made 40 metres before sending Dom Fawcett over.

After a period of stalemate the hosts struck again with Jake Adams having a clear run to the line to make it 17-3 at the break.

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From the start of the second half Driffield went on the offensive with several telling incursions into Sandal’s territory, but on each occasion scoring opportunities were snuffed out.

However, in the 49th minute as the visiting backs made another attacking move in the Sandal half Joe Allott intercepted and ran 60 metres to score a solo try under the posts. With Jake Adams converting the lead was now at 24-3.

From the resumption Driffield received a yellow card and from the resulting penalty Sandal moved into the Driffield 22 from where Cam Allen forced his way over.

The conversion was missed, but the lead had been extended to 29-3 – an unassailable lead one would have thought after 55 minutes.

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However, two minutes later Austen Thompson received a red card which meant Sandal had to defend a good score with a man down.

Driffield quickly took advantage of their extra player as they scored two converted tries to take the score to 29-17 in the 66th minute.

This was followed by another converted try nine minutes later and the hosts were now having to cling on.

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By now Driffield had an unlikely victory in their sights and with their winger crossing in the bottom corner after 80 minutes victory might have been secured had the conversion found its target, but the score now stood at 29-29 with seven minutes of stoppage time to play.

This period was played out with both sides frantically hoping to make a final winning score.

Sandal had a chance to edge it with a penalty but it went wide and so both sides had to be happy with a 29-29 draw. Ultimately it was a disappointing result for Sandal after playing so well in the first half.

Sandal, who remained in eighth place, are next in action tomorrow night when they travel to play third-placed Heath.

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