SANDBACH 106 KIRKBY LONSDALE 14
(Regional One North West)
Sandbach ran in 16 tries to brush aside a brave but underpowered Kirkby Lonsdale side in an emphatic victory.
Lying bottom of the league without a point to date, it was always going to be a difficult afternoon as the young South Lakeland outfit made the journey to Bradwall Road (writes Paddy Davenport).
So it proved, despite their game and committed efforts and, just like the fixture earlier in the season, it was men against boys and the scoreline reflected that.
Fair play to the visitors, they never stopped trying but ultimately, they are in a rebuilding process and this level of rugby can be quite unforgiving when trying to do that.
Having lost a core of senior players and covid impacting on the club’s structure, they have been forced to rely on a talented crop of youngsters, recently graduated from their mini / junior section.
It will take some time for them to mature and will involve going down before they come back up, but one has to admire their spirit, which in the long term will serve them well.
On a cool but dry winter’s afternoon made for running rugby, Sandbach made their intentions clear after just two minutes, when Callum Oakden scored.
Kirkby Lonsdale had cleared the ball deep into Sandbach territory, but Sandbach countered and went through multiple phases. Then a great line from flanker Ali Burton broke through and second row Oakden in support had the first try. James Preston converted and then scored himself straight after, as the pattern had been established. Winger Elliott Morris soon followed with the first of his five tries.
Kirkby scored their first try, when Sandbach lost possession while trying to offload close to their line, and fly half Josh Ree snaffled the opportunity and converted the score himself.
This rather backfired on the visitors, as it served as a wake-up call for the Bach, who realised the opponents warranted respect and that they needed to play in the right areas and look after the ball.
Morris grabbed his second minutes later, majestically plucking the ball out of the air from a Preston backhanded offload and this was followed with a catch and drive try for Matt Beeston.
Jack Leech then scored in support of a Morris break and Oakden grabbed his second from close range. With Preston converting five of the seven first half tries, it closed at the break 45-7 to Sandbach.
It was much the same in the second half, with tries coming at regular intervals.
Morris completed his hat-trick three minutes in to the second half and Burton crashed over, seven minutes later. Preston converted both before being rested by the coaching team and Will Cargill took over kicking duties. Morris then scored his fourth, quickly followed by one from Tim Young, with Cargill converting both.
There was some respite as Ree scored and converted his second try for Kirkby, when he intercepted a wayward pass, but it was short lived.
Prop Max Beadle added a couple more for Sandbach, Beeston got his second and Morris grabbed his fifth, sprinting in from 50 metres out, to go over the 100-point mark.
Burton finished the scoring with his second, a minute from time, but Cargill having kicked everything until then, missed the final conversion and that closed the proceedings.
It is never easy in these types of games, but Sandbach will be pleased that they weren’t complacent and were clinical at times, keeping their focus and doing the right things.
Next week will certainly be more difficult as they make the short trip up the M6 to second-placed Lymm, where they will look to avenge a defeat earlier in the season.
Fortunately Bach didn’t pick up any injuries, so will travel in good spirits but will be under no illusion – next week will be a much more difficult prospect.
(Photo: Rachel Stockton).