Cheshire vs Lancashire

After the match on Saturday, we managed to catch up with Simon Griffiths as well as getting a picture of the current Sale FC players who turned out on the day for both teams.  The match itself sees our boys representing Lancashire next weekend at Twickenham in the final of the Bill Beaumont Cup.


Cheshire Vs Lancashire

Cheshire vs Lancashire

Saturday the 20th May, Cheshire come to Heywood road to take on Lancashire.

KO is 1500

Match prices are as follows:

  • Non-Cheshire RFU Members £5
  • Students Free of Charge

This should be an interesting match up as Lancashire have six Sale FC players in their ranks. With Tom Ailes, Danny Birchall, Sam Stelmaszek, Scott Rawlings, Chris Johnson and Rhys Davies all taking part.  For Cheshire we have Jack Moorhouse in the squad.  This weekend just gone both teams won their respective games, but Lancashire are in poll position to send their team to the final at Twickenham the following weekend.

Playoff Match Report


I have been struggling to put into words this week the details of the game played against Old Elthamians on Saturday.  The build up to the game was incredible, the day was cloudy and cool but perfect for our brand of rugby.  Both teams came into this game having scored over 2000 points between them this season, but, this game was not a try fest, it was a war of attrition.

There are two key numbers that leap out at me everytime I try to write this report.  The first is 66 and the second is 8.  The 66 refers to the percentage of possession Sale FC had during this match, the second number was the total number of line breaks both teams had in total (four each).  This game was a defensive masterclass from Old Elthamians.  Sale FC only allowed one try in the whole game, but OE’s won this game with just 34% of the ball.   They spent just 1 minute and 44 seconds in our 22 metre area.

The frustration of the team must have been immense, where this season, we have run riot up the middle or around the edges, there was just no way through the defensive line of OE’s.  

The only try scored by OE’s was a penalty try with a subsequent yellow card to our scrum half Sam. However, neither of those decisions swayed the match, OE’s were going to score on that play and Sam did his best to prevent this but went too high.  Down to 14 men, we still looked stronger with ball in hand.  We just came up against the best defence we’ve encountered this season.  

Our powerful 12/13 combination of Paolo and Scott Rawlings (followed on by the equally powerful Tom Davenport) found no way through.  Paolo added a try on the death by literally smashing through two players from OE’s leaving them both needing treatment, this match demonstrated just how much it meant to both teams.

I won’t dwell on the fine details of the match, except to say that although disappointed in the outcome of this game, I don’t think the supporters could ever claim that the players didn’t put their bodies on the line for their club.  Gaz Rawlings has a lovely little “eggshell blue” cast to demonstrate his commitment to the cause and until the whiskey kicked in Adam was using crutches for a pulled ligament.

What I will focus on, is that, this season, we have seen the coming together of a club.  For the past few years, we’ve had a team and we’ve had a club and we’ve had kids training.  This season, we’ve had the Minis and Juniors coming to games and we’ve had players coming to coach and support the Minis and Juniors. This may sound a simple process, but, we have many parents who have no rugby background at all (some of whom needed directions to Heywood Road for our end of season awards), as well as players who aren’t obligated to turn up on a Sunday morning (after a bruising game the day before) or chat to kids on a Thursday night at Carrington when they’re getting ready for training.  We’ve had more engagement through social media, with players becoming more familiar to the supporters.  We’ve had a revamp of the clubhouse, with more developments on the way for the upstairs over the next year.  This is down to the hard work and dedication of players, coaches, staff and volunteers throughout the club.

For me the season is summed up with this one photo from Saturday’s game.  The children on the left are under 6/7/8/9’s and not forgetting the Under 10’s on the left waiting for their assistant coach Tom Ailes. The boys (you can see) on the right of this photo are the under 13’s.    For me, watching teenage boys actually wanting to be in a “guard of honour” to support their team is the foundation of a bright future.  How many 13 year old boys would voluntarily put themselves in this position without being worried about “how cool they look.”

A current Minis and Juniors Coach and ex-player Paul Gibbon posted on the minis and juniors facebook page a very emotive and memorable statement the day of the match.  The key phrases from that post is below.

There has been a wonderful buzz around the club in the build up to today’s playoff game that started at the Mini & Juniors player awards on Monday. The smiles on the faces of all the kids, parents and coaches as the senior players handed out the awards spoke a million words and illustrated the depth of feeling and unity within this great club.

I love this club and am so proud to coach the next generation of exciting Sale players who will be at Heywood Road today cheering the 1st XV on!

The excitement is killing me, roll on 3pm!

The future of Sale FC is bright, we have a long way to go, but we are getting closer to making this the club we all want to be a part of.

Finally a word to OE’s

Congratulations on the promotion to National One, you were a credit to your club on Saturday and I’ve yet to see a better defensive display for a full 80 minutes.  The intent at the breakdown, the support play defensively, the bodies on the line were the epitome of teamwork and what rugby is all about.  Good luck next season and hopefully we can play you in 2018/19 and work a way through that wall!


Sale FC Announce New Signing Simon Griffiths

Sale FC are delighted to announce a new signing for the 2017-18 season, Simon Griffiths.  Simon brings a wealth of experience to our pack and can play at Prop on either side of the scrum as well as Second Row.  A powerful player, he comes in at 130 kg and 194cm tall, he adds to our flexibility and mobility around the park.

Simon comes to us from Fylde Rugby club who currently play in National One.  He’s also played in the USA with the Gentlemen of Aspen and in North Wales with Llangefni and RGC 1404.

Simon currently represents Lancashire and if selected, your first opportunity to see him in action will be at Heywood Road on the 20th May when Lancashire take on Cheshire.


Sale FC Sign Kennet O’Neil

Sale FC are delighted to announce the signing of Saracens A league player Kennet O’Neil. Although only 22 Kennet has a wealth of experience at National One level as well as representative rugby with Hertfordshire and North Otago in New Zealand. Kennet can play across the back row and being 190cm tall and 102kg also adds some dynamic weight to the pack. Kennet has already been involved with the club as water boy in the last few games of the season demonstrating how keen he is to be involved in the club and the team ethic that Jonathan Keep and his team have implemented this season. Kennet’s previous teams also include Ampthill, Esher, Cambridge, Bedford Blues Academy and Old Boys in New Zealand.

Time’s Up!

The playoff is Today at Heywood Road

Team is as follows

KO is 3pm.  Entrance for non-members before 2pm is £5 and after 2pm is £8.  Concessions £5.  Under 16’s and members free.  The clubhouse will be open from noon.

Sale FC vs Old Elthamians

Home Playoff!

After today’s win at Otley, we are now in a home playoff against Old Elthamians at Heywood Road on Saturday 6th May KO 3pm.



Playoff in the Balance

This Saturday, in our final regular season game, we travel to Otley RUFC.  We kicked off the season in September with a 27-3 victory over Otley on a rain soaked Heywood road pitch and followed that up with 24 further wins that has left us on the brink of a home playoff for promotion to National One.  Otley’s season hasn’t been as successful recording only 11 wins, but last weekend put in a huge performance against Harrogate to ensure their survival in National 2 North.  This is essentially where Sale FC were 12 months ago, so we fully understand the relief that game will have brought them.

Sale FC go into this weekend knowing that a victory would ensure a home playoff even if Old Elthamians and/or Chinnor get five points.  Lose this match and we might find ourselves heading southwards to play the decider.

The system for deciding who plays in the playoff is fairly simple.  The two second placed teams in National 2 play each other to decide who will join Caldy and Bishops Stortford in National One.  In National 2 North, this is Sale FC currently on 119 points.  In National 2 South both Old Elthamians and Chinnor are on 117 points, but Old Elthamians are on 24 wins, so currently occupy second place.

This weekend Old Elthamians are playing Barnstaple at home, Barnstaple lie in 12th place in the league with only 9 wins this season and Chinnor are away to London Irish Wild Geese who lie in 13th with 8 wins.  Essentially Chinnor’s only real hope is a five point win and a slip up from Old Elthamians.  Either way, the home playoff is firmly in our hands.  Both National 2 South teams have had amazing seasons and it has come down to the wire for them.  We wish them both well this weekend and look forward to seeing one of them on the 6th of May.

KO on Saturday is 3pm at Otley.  If you can get there, we’d love some travelling support.