This Saturday we have the Sale FC Rugby Academy open day. If your son has just finished his GCSE’s and is looking to get some rugby in next season, we have an open day this weekend at Heywood Road. Come down, meet the coaches have a training session and have a look at our plans for the next season. Register Here
This weekend Sale FC Rugby have the biggest weekend since the days of Sale Sharks. When the Sale Sharks departed for Stockport, not much was left apart from the physical property. The club has been rebuilt from the ground up, and the minis and juniors section has exploded. There have been hundreds of volunteers over the years who have contributed to where we are now, manning the gates, raising the flag, cleaning, coaching or raising money. Without these people, the club would have ceased to exist.
For the Junior section, I am proud to be one of three people who have been Chair of the Minis and Juniors. My predecessor Mike Boyle left me with the solid foundation of a M&J section. For three -years I was the caretaker of this section, before handing the baton to Scott Bambrick. Scott has taken what we built and turned it into an unrecognisable force in Cheshire, with a hard-working committee, a community coach and a thriving social scene. This section has become the mainstay of the club, leading Chris Johnson to say, they’re worth 10 points to us when we play at home. They’ve earned the title “The 16thMan”.
Next weekend four of the junior teams compete for silverware. These four teams along with all the other M&J age groups are part of something that we should all be proud of. Every child who comes to us, has a place. Every child has something to give to the club. Whether they are a prop or a winger, a flag waver on a Saturday at Heywood Rd or a future coach. Our ambition for these children, is they have a club for life, regardless of whether they play semi-professional rugby, social rugby, volunteer or just turn up and watch.
In the senior section, Richard Trickey essentially built a club from scratch after the Sharks left and Jonathan Keep (first as player coach then as Director of Rugby) has kept that building work going. His coaching team has brought us from Level 6 in 2013 to the brink of National 1 in 2018. With only two loses this season so far, one of those by 2 points, we have a stunning defensive record and have won every home game and 21 games in a row. In fact, the last time we lost at home in the league was to Caldy in December 2016.
Jonathan and Anthony (Tote) Howcroft have taken a team from the brink of relegation two years ago to the edge of promotion tomorrow. They have developed a philosophy and set standards that goes beyond the sum of its parts to create a team who can win even when they are seemingly down and out.
This has been a fantastic year and win lose or draw, we are all proud of every single player from the 5-year old to the 35-year old who will show up to play this weekend and next. This Saturday 20 members of the club will take the pitch and try to win the league, but, they are not alone, a further 60 M&J members will also be taking to pitches all over the North West next Sunday attempting to also win trophies. We haven’t yet arrived at where we want to be, but we are getting closer.
Good Luck and enjoy yourselves, it’s going to be a great two weeks! #onesalefc
Sale FC Rugby
Sale FC Rugby TV are now a video explaining how much it means to the players to have the Minis and Juniors down to support them. Chris Mayor, Chris Johnson, Jack Moorhouse, Matt Bradley, Neil Briggs, Jonty Rawcliffe, Tom Ailes and Captain Andy Hughes all give us a taste of what it’s like for them to run out in front of a big crowd and the guard of honour.
Final Game at home
This Saturday we play Huddersfield in our final home game of the season. This closes out a remarkable couple of years at Heywood Rd with a change in attitude both on and off the pitch. Two seasons ago we were newly promoted into National 2 North, the fourth tier of Rugby in England. The first season in National 2 was a wake up call, we had arrived at a level we were unprepared for both on and off the pitch. With relegation back to National 3 looking imminent, Jonathan Keep was appointed as Director of Rugby mid way through the season. This brought about changes on the pitch which was matched by changes in the club house.
The appointment of Jonathan and the drive behind the scenes from volunteers and management at the club created more engagement with supporters and this has seen our M&J’s section becoming more involved in the club, with family days, social events and the now legendary guard of honour. It has also seen our senior players coming down to M&J rugby, talking to the kids and getting involved with the club. This season also saw the introduction of Tricky The Mutt as a club mascot who has been a popular addition for the children, sponsors and the “grown ups” at the club.
The Suite @Sale was also developed to enable us to improve our offering to members and the public. This was a major project taken to create a first class match day experience, as well as to create a 7 day a week club, where the local community and businesses can take advantage of a brilliant facility in the heart of Trafford.
A Season in Perspective
This season has also seen us perform on the pitch to a level Sale FC hasn’t been at since the 1990’s, with a remarkable stretch of 20 wins in a row. We last lost a league game at Heywood Road in December 2016. We have conceded just 320 points this season (only Hinckley are anywhere near that with 493) and our Points Difference is an astonishing 586, (the nearest team is Tynedale on 342).
We have lost just two games but still we need to shake off Sedgley Park who have put up some remarkable stats themselves, where although they have lost 6 games they have managed 28 bonus points in 28 games! We have one game in hand on Sedgley who lie behind us by 1 point in the league.
However, the last two weekends we have faced some stern challenges from Chester, nearly ruining our home record and Blaydon languishing near relegation leading us with 11 minutes to go until the ever reliable Dan Birchall managed to score a try to level it. We know that the remaining fixtures will be tough, everyone wants to topple the league leaders.
This season we also saw the birth of the hashtag #onesalefc. If you use social media, most of our posts will have this attached to it, the purpose is to demonstrate we are not a team but a club. We are striving to be the best club in the North of England, but this doesn’t just happen on the pitch.
For this reason, the Executive, the Players and all the Coaching staff would like to thank the Minis and Juniors section for driving this philosophy, being the 16th man on the pitch and generally making a racket at every home game. Your support never goes unnoticed, your enthusiasm is infectious and you are the future of this ancient club. #onesalefc
Andy Hughes is running an Easter Rugby Camp at Heywood Road. Andy is an experienced coach working with children of all ages and abilities. These training camps are open to any children interested in rugby and is open to non-salefc members.