Tows must heed ‘harsh lessons’ after second-half collapse

Alex Chalcraft
Alex Chalcraft

Towcestrians director of rugby Robbie George has called on his side to learn from the ‘harsh lessons’ of their 41-39 defeat to Sandbach.

In a topsy-turvy game which produced no less than seven yellow cards and had both teams down to 12 men for periods, it was the hosts who eventually came through despite trailing 32-10 at half-time.

The first-half undoubtedly belonged to Tows who scored through Kieran Frost in the opening minute with Ben Roe adding the extra two points.

Sandbach responded with a try and conversion of their own followed by a penalty to cancel out a further Roe penalty, levelling the scores at 10-10, but from the restart, Tows released Matt Bodily to finish.

Roe added another penalty to go with the conversion before Tows produced some great passages of play to which Sandbach had little answer as the away side’s flowing rugby saw tries Yuon Skelton and Alex Chalcraft both score to put the visitors in command at 32-10 ahead at half-time.

Backed by a vocal support, Sandbach rallied at the start of the second-half, their hooker going over for a score, but this was quickly cancelled out by a second try from Bodily for Tows to lead by 22 points.

Yellow cards started to rain down with both teams punished for infringements rather than foul play, and Tows failed to take full opportunity against reduced numbers and when they found themselves short-handed, the hosts pounced to devastating effect.

They ran in two converted tries to trail by just five going into the final play of the game.

With three in the sin bin, the Tows scrum came under intense pressure and eventually buckled, conceding a penalty try, the conversion going over with the last kick to snatch what seemed at one point a highly unlikely Sandbach victory. Tows did at least collect two bonus points.

George said: “There were an unusually high number of yellow cards for a clean game, but this was definitely a result we let slip through our fingers.

“Our disappointment is that we didn’t respond properly to the game situation, hopefully some harsh lessons have been learned and we are a better side for the experience.”

This weekend fifth-placed Tows host fourth-placed Derby. Kick-off is now 2.15pm.