Sandal RUFC lose out but take encouragement from effort against Preston Grasshoppers

Sandal were looking to press home the success shown  in a fantastic effort against North Premier leaders Otley a week earlier when they travelled to play second-placed Preston Grasshoppers, but things did not quite go to plan.

By Tony Harber
Thursday, 27th January 2022, 9:00 am
Sandal prepare for their scrum in their game against Preston Grasshoppers.
Sandal prepare for their scrum in their game against Preston Grasshoppers.

The Milnthorpe Green men found themselves 24-3 down at half-time, although they did share the second period 7-7 and would have won the half had it not been for a home try from the last play of the game, writes Howard Newton.

Sandal travelled with five changes from the side fielded the previous week and included two making their debuts. Nevertheless, they still gave a good account of themselves and showed again that they can push sides higher in the league to the limit, which is encouraging for the rest of the season.

The final outcome was a far cry from the heavy defeat suffered at the hands of the same club at home last October.

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Sandal make a break against Preston Grasshoppers.

The game got off to a slow start with both sides trying to establish supremacy for the first 10 minutes. Sandal were putting together some good work to be in the home side’s 22 but Preston mounted a telling move which ended in their first try and a 5-0 lead.

A second try followed and was an opportunist effort after the visitors lost the ball in a muddled move. The conversion took the score to 12-0.

Now the home side were feeling they had control and when Sandal fumbled the ball again at the scrum Preston gathered to score a second converted try to lead 19-0 after 23 minutes.

Sandal managed to put points on the board with a successful Jake Adams penalty kick, but conceded again just before half-time when their opponents went over in the corner.

Line-out action sees Sandal secure possession against Preston Grasshoppers.

In the second half the two sides continued to battle it out with both striving to take control. Sandal continued to mount good attacking moves and at the same time managing to snuff out similar moves produced by the opposition.

The visitors were controlling the scrums better and looking to hold Preston to a nil score in the half.

Then on 37 minutes Preston dropped a pass in their own 22, the ball was kicked ahead and picked up by Scott McGregor who easily ran in for a consolation try. The extras were added by Jake Adams to take the score to 24-10.

Sandal would have been happy with this as the final score, but their concentration lapsed such that Preston were allowed the final say with a converted try in the sixth minute of injury time, after which the final whistle was heard.

The home side was relieved to post a 31-10 victory having been taken all the way in the second half by a seriously battling Sandal side, who remain in 11th ahead of this Saturday’s game at home to Macclesfield, who are eighth.