Sandal RUFC handicapped by four yellow cards in defeat to top four Billingham

Jake Adams put Sandal ahead against Billingham, but they could not hold onto the advantage against top four opponents.Jake Adams put Sandal ahead against Billingham, but they could not hold onto the advantage against top four opponents.
Jake Adams put Sandal ahead against Billingham, but they could not hold onto the advantage against top four opponents.
Sandal RUFC faced the prospect of another difficult game when they travelled to County Durham to play a Billingham team in third place in the North Premier

There was little to choose between the two sides in the first half with Sandal holding back a lively and creative outfit, but in the second half the home side scored 19 points with only three in reply to run out 26-8 winners, writes Howard Newton.

In addition Sandal’s cause was not helped with their indiscipline, which resulted in the side receiving four yellow cards during the game.

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In addition poor line-out drills and loss of possession at break downs added to the side’s less than positive second half performance.

Once again the visitors started slowly by giving Billingham a chance to move up field with two early penalties. Then from a scrum well inside the Sandal half the home backs attacked and a long pass to their unmarked left winger gave him an easy run in to touch down in the corner. The conversion found its target via the upright which put Sandal seven points down after only five minutes.

From this point the visitors managed to spend time in their opposition’s territory and on quarter time spent several minutes attacking the Billingham line, but their defence was too good to allow a much needed score.

As the game progressed both sides attempted to gain supremacy through penalty kicks for field position. But it was Sandal next to score following a telling break by Luke Adams and a kick ahead. Billingham gathered but the return kick was charged down to give Jonny Garrity an opportunity to chase and touch down in the corner. The conversion was missed, but the deficit had been reduced to two points with half time approaching.

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While Sandal continued to attack in the home 22 no further score was possible, resulting in the home side holding a 7-5 advantage at the interval.

It only took Sandal three minutes into the second half for the lead to change hands with a well taken Jake Adams penalty putting them 8-7 ahead.

But immediately after the resumption the home side opened up with an attacking break which resulted in a forward crash over converted try to re-take the lead at 14-8.

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This was quickly followed in the 50th minute with Billingham adding to their lead with a converted try and the score had suddenly moved to 21-8.

While no further score was made by either side until stoppage time Sandal suffered an unprecedented period of play with the receipt of three yellow cards resulting in the side playing a man short for 30 minutes.

They did well to hold out in the circumstances, but with full-time approaching Billingham mounted a final zig zagging assault on the visitors line from the half way line which finally ended with a forward crashing over for a bonus point try.

The conversion was missed and Sandal retired to the changing room following another hard fought game and again having to accept a 26-8 defeat to a more disciplined and creative side.

Sandal now face a crunch game this Saturday when they host a Burnage team who are third from bottom – one place and four points below them in the North Premier table. Kick-off is 2.15pm.

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