Return To Sandal

The improvement in light and weather described in ickledot's previous post was more regional than general the day before, Saturday. Late morning it was pouring down in Sunny Oxenhope and all the way through Queensbury to the M62. However, driving eastwards the skies gradually brightened and as we turned southwards on the M1 there were patches of blue in the sky, the sun actually making an appearance. On reaching Sandal Rugby Club in Wakefield it was rapidly turning into a warm and bright afternoon. Miraculous!

This was ickledot's third visit to Sandal. His first had been way back in 2013, photographing an away trip for Bradford & Bingley; one they'd probably prefer to forget as the trip ended in defeat. The second was on a dreadfully wet day in November 2015 to see Yorkshire Under 18 play Cumbria.

Saturday's trip was to see and photograph Sandal themselves in a local derby against Cleckheaton. It's Wednesday now and the match reports have been written so we won't go into too much detail. Suffice it to say that the final score of 40-12 perhaps makes things look a little more comfortable for Sandal than they appeared on the day. Cleckheaton competed well throughout the game and had long phases of possession.

The difference was that Sandal took their opportunities when they appeared and had a balance of pressure from the forwards and fast breaks from the backs.

It was good to catch up once more with Sandal scrum-half Josh Walker. He featured in the first two Yorkshire Under 20 campaigns ickledot photographed. Indeed, it was a picture of his try against Lancashire that helped to establish ickledot's photographing at County level. A great memory.

Hope Cleckheaton's number 8 doesn't mind ickledot featuring the shot below. When photographing a try, particularly from a maul, one hopes to have a view of both the scoring player and the ball. Job done here but, rather unusually, the ball is nestled between the legs of the kneeling defender. It appears there was just enough of a gap to squeeze it over the line. Well spotted by Sandal's Declan Thompson (and ickledot).

You can see more pictures from the game over on Flickr. Next post will be news of a new ickledot publication. Very exciting!