Northwich 0 Sandbach 11
Sandbach completed what turned out to be a deserved double over the 'Blacks' at Moss Farm on Saturday and cemented their mid table position in North West Two.
They have certainly settled into this league quicker than their hosts and have picked off some impressive scalps along the way. Sandbach beat the 'Blacks' last October with almost the last kick of the match and there was little difference between the teams in this encounter.
In the final analysis the more youthful and dynamic Sandbach outfit wanted it more than Northwich did and if Paul Reid’s men can take anything from this match for their must win visit to Vale of Lune in a fortnight’s time it is the sheer passion and will to win displayed by this Sandbach team.
For the whole of the first half it was ebb and flow followed by nip and tuck with both teams giving as good as they got and it was not until the 39th minute that an offside decision allowed No 8 Lee Pickles to break the deadlock through a well taken penalty.
Sandbach had played with the wind at their backs and the 'Blacks' must have been confident of turning things around in the second half. Gaz Davies replaced Steve Taylor at scrum half but he was unable to inspire his pack of forwards to produce the platform in order to seize the initiative.
There was no panic when after ten minutes Pickles kicked his second penalty but as the game wore on Northwich appeared to become more and more desperate as the Sandbach defence held firm.
It was the visitors who upped the tempo and dominated the loose play and it was the tenacity of the Sandbach pack which brought about the only try of the match as their forward unit drove prop forward Gareth Caen over the Northwich try line. Pickles was unable to convert and with only fifteen minutes remaining Sandbach doggedly held onto their lead and although the 'Blacks' came close to scoring there was no further scoreboard activity.
The 'Blacks' remain out of the relegation zone but in order to sustain the status Quo they must beat Vale of Lune and pick up further wins in the fixtures to come. They have the team and ability to achieve this but have they the will, commitment and passion?
Northwich: Cartman, Fred Taylor, Davey (Gough 60), Heywood, Simpson, Smith, James, Robinson (Pattenden 60), Steve Taylor (Davies 40), Hayes, Dale, Naylor, Hoskings, Campbell (C), Bown.