Sandal 33, Wirral 26

ON a heavy pitch accompanied by continuous drizzle this was literally a game of two halves, with Wirral holding a commanding lead at half-time before losing out in the closing stages of the match.

Playing with the benefit of the slope in the first half, Wirral took the lead in the third minute when James Annetts crossed close to the corner after early pressure from Wirral. He also converted from the touchline.

Sandal were looking to use their backs by spreading the ball wide but in the eighth minute adventurous play led to Matt Loon intercepting and running in from 45m unopposed and James Annetts tagged on the conversion.

Six minutes later, Wirral scored again through Mark Williams when following a chip through from Matt Loon and again converted to give Wirral a 0-21 lead after 14 minutes.

Gradually Sandal came into the game and exerted pressure on Wirral in the 20m area but the away side defence held firm.

The final scoring of the first half came in the 35th minute when pressure in the Sandal 20m area enabled Craig Harvey to slip the ball to brother Dan to score, to leave the score 0-26 in Wirral’s favour at half-time.

At the start of the second half, Wirral captain and playmaker Craig Harvey was unable to take his place due to a hamstring injury and with no substitute back the change round in the team created its own difficulties.

This was soon exploited by Sandal who scored their first try two minutes after the start of the half.

Realising the away team's difficulties and encouraged by their vociferous supporters, Sandal then scored a further four tries at regular intervals, all converted to give Sandal a remarkable victory having overcome a 26 point deficit at half-time.

In the second half Wirral were unable to apply any meaningful pressure on Sandal much as they tried but the home team defended with more vigour as they achieved a valuable home win in their endeavour to steer clear of the relegation dog fight.

There is no match next week in view of the Six Nation matches but it gives Wirral the opportunity to get some of their injured players back into training and in the squad.