Sandal RUFC narrowly miss out on morale-boosting win at York after late barrage

Sandal missed out on victory by the slimmest of margins when they travelled to Clifton Park to play York in their latest North Premier game.

By Tony Harber
Wednesday, 16th February 2022, 10:00 am
Sandal were so close to beating York in their return game at Clifton Park.
Sandal were so close to beating York in their return game at Clifton Park.

Despite the side giving a good account of themselves and piling on the pressure late on they came up short, losing 17-13, writes Howard Newton.

It was a much improved performance on the previous meeting at home to York when Sandal had gone down 20-52.

The only similarity to that game was the size and power of the York pack, which was more than a match for the visitors in the scrums with the unit being pushed back almost every time.

But Sandal’s level of defensive work was admirable and went a long way to keeping the opposition’s score to three tries, earning a losing bonus point that could prove vital come the end of the season.

In the first half Sandal played with a strong breeze at their backs, but York soon made their intentions clear by putting the visitors’ defence under pressure. It took them some time to make their possession count, however.

Scott MacGregor chipped ahead to create an encouraging attacking move which came to nothing only to find Sandal back defending in their own 22. From this position York opened the scoring on 21 minutes with a pushover try and a conversion.

The game then ebbed and flowed, but on the half-hour mark Jake Adams was able to convert a penalty to reduce the points difference to 7-3.

Sandal went down to 14 men for 10 minutes when a player received a yellow card for a head high tackle, but the side continued to hold on and managed a second Adams penalty on the point of half-time to be only 7-6 down at the break. They were very much in the game.

Unfortunately the second half did not start well for them as York kicked to touch after being awarded a penalty and from the resulting line-out their scrum-half made a break. The ball then passed through several pairs of hands before their winger scored easily in the corner. The conversion was missed, but the score moved to 12-6.

Almost from the resumption from an awkward bounce a York forward took the ball on the burst and left the visitors defence in disarray, giving him the opportunity to touch down for a solo try having gathered the ball on the half-way line.

Again the conversion was not made, but the home side’s lead had moved to 17-6 after 44 minutes.

After this disappointing start Sandal attacked York’s line and having spurned a penalty kick in front of the posts another attack was set up which ended with a penalty try awarded for a deliberate knock-on, taking the score to 17-13.

York were not finished and an attacking move looked to be giving them another certain try but Danny Grainger crossed the field to unceremoniously bundle the would-be try scorer into touch.

Sandal recovered and once more moved into York’s half where a dropped final pass spoilt a scoring chance. The final minutes saw them pound the York line, but without success.

While a win again eluded the Sandal side their play gave more signs of possible success in the coming weeks. This Saturday they face a tough task away to fourth-placed Billingham.