THE Hurricanes had to dig deep to return home victorious at Millbrook in a thrilling Counties 2 Hampshire League encounter on Saturday. 


Up against an in-form Millbrook side, Michael Barrett's tries were a major feature for the Islanders in the first half.

It began with a close range effort in the opening minutes — a 'pick and go' just under the Millbrook posts, to give the Hurries the perfect start, and platform. 

Max Fletcher added the extras.

However, the hosts showed a never-say-die attitude, inspiring an immediate response to pull it back to 7-5.

The visitors "made a nuisance of themselves at the line-out", said Damien Marriott, the Hurricanes' director of rugby, but captain, Sam Rees, and second row, Damien Seder dominated, stealing 11 of 12 plays.

Set piece dominance was also shared in the scrum, with young powerhouse prop, Ben Booth, put in a commanding front row performance.

The Hurricanes' second try was scored by Zak Chiverton, following some quick thinking and excellent rugby from Ben Shannon — his quick tap penalty catching Millbrook's defenders cold. 

A quick pop pass created the opportunity for Chiverton to walk in and put the Islanders 14-5 up.
Despite playing into the strong winds of Storm Isha, Millbrook provided a stern test for the Hurricanes. 

However, a fine solo run by full-back Fletcher, from the Hurries' 22 to the host's 22 — jinking and zig-zagging his way through the defence to notch up the third try of the afternoon just before the interval. 

The second half was a different story, as frustration set into Sandown's play. 

Millbrook capitalised, narrowing the margin to 19-10. 

Sandown rode their luck at times — especially when flanker, Matt Miselbach, made a vital cover tackle, to force Millbrook's winger to drop the ball just over the line.

After some strategic replacements, prop Adam Tyas helped Sandown regain control in the scrums. 

Antony Burr came on and began orchestrating attacks — none more evident than when his long, looping pass found winger George Finan, who powered over, to secure a crucial try bonus and seal victory.

Counties 2:
Hampshire: Millbrook 10, Sandown & Shanklin 24.
Counties 3: Romsey 58, Ventnor 10.

Counties 2:
Hampshire: Fordingbridge v Sandown & Shanklin.
Counties 3: IWRFC v Romsey; Ventnor v Christchurch.
Counties 4B: Bognor II v Sandown & Shanklin II.
Counties 5: South: Ventnor II v Christchurch II.