Winchester don't have the best of record when fancy dress is chosen but Winchester finally buck the trend with Nautical as the theme.
On a cold and frosty morning Winchester 2nds embarked on their day trip to Sandown. With a few injuries from
last weeks storming display against Tottonians there where debuts for Toby Salmon, Liam Murray and Tom Lock returning
Last few weeks have seen Sandown on a roll and jump to 3rd in the league and Winchester knew this would be a tough game.
Having lost the toss Winch kicked long and immediately put the home side under pressure and failure to clear allowed
Winchesters pack to recycle and push there way over with Liam king scoring his first try of the season.
For the first 30 minutes Winchester had total forward domination and constant quick ball allowed Ben Welch to skip over
for a try and then James Barritt to crash over. King slotted the conversation and gave Winch a 17 - 0 lead.
Sandown playing of scraps had one or two chances to break out of there half but failure to control the ball meant
they came away empty handed.
Toby Salmon playing his first game for Winch was in excellent form and capped his Man of the Match performance off
with a try before half time in a move he started from the half way line. Taking a pop pass from scrum half Alder he
broke the game line before being stopped by the full back. Quick recycling from Barritt and a further quick ruck
saw Toby cross the line from ten meters out.
Sandown are never a side to admit defeat and showed true git in the second half, they came close to scoring several times but Winchester
defence was keen to keep the score to zero. This looked to be the case when James Barritt decided to ignore the 5 man over lap and pop inside
to Pete Hobbs when five meters out but the home side where to slow to put a guard and Barritt receiving a pop pass from Hobbs crossed
line. Jerry Alfandari converted leaving the score at 29 - 0.
Sandown kept battling and deserved there try 20 minutes from time as they forwards began to make driving runs and Winchester
tiring started to drop off tackles.
Final score 29 - 5. Winchester 2nds played extremely well and it would not be unjust to say Sandown didn't know what had hit them
for the first half. Winchester need to maintain this progress and keep this work rate into the second half of games if they want to
keep there lead in Hampshire Merit 1.
Winchester will be without Jim Trantham for a while as he takes a break for a knee operation but with several key players returning
from injury things look good for the Nun roads side.
Captain Mark Castle was quoted as saying "Having had 5 weeks with no game to win last week was good but we didn't know what to expect
today and to start so well I am extremely proud of the team. We still have areas to work on but everything today was done on our terms."
Winchester host Southampton this Saturday in Hampshire Merit 1, they are taking each game at a time but know that Solent University on 24th March
could be the crunch game.
by Rob Barrow