Sandal 28, Wirral 31

WIRRAL achieved a win at Sandal for the first time which has enabled them to climb to fifth in the league.

It was Sandal who started the quicker with a penalty from James Ellar in the first minute and this quickly followed by a well-executed try from second row Jimmy Stewart after the home side exposed the Wirral defence with their first attack and lead 8-0 after four minutes.

Gradually Wirral worked their way into the game after much pressure the Sandal defence yielded to a Craig Harvey try (his 100th for the club) and converted by James Annetts.

By the 25th minute, Wirral were in the lead when further pressure led to Chris Speed crossing the whitewash close to the posts and the conversion took Wirral into an 8-14 lead.

A penalty to Sandal reduced the arrears and in the minute before half time Sandal had a try disallowed under the posts for a double movement.

Given Wirral were playing up the slope they were pleased to turn round 11-14 up at the break.

Taking advantage of the slope Wirral soon increased the lead to 11-19 with a second try from Craig Harvey, which was quickly followed by the try of the match.

A James Annetts chip over the defence was caught by Matt Loon who drew the full back before putting in Annetts for the try which he converted 11-26 (54 minutes).

On the hour mark burly prop, Ryan Higginson received the ball some 22m out and proceeded to crash through the defence to score close to the posts, unfortunately the conversion was missed but left Wirral in a commanding 11-31 lead.

In the final minutes of the game Sandal managed to expose a weakness in the Wirral defences and left winger, Danny Grainger raced in from 50m to score and reduce the arrears to 18-31.

With Wirral down to 14 men, Sandal ran in two more tries in the final 5 minutes none of which was converted to leave Wirral relieved but worthy winners.

Matches between the sides have always been high scoring and thus it was good to see Wirral come out on top on this occasion.