Match Report Saturday 20thOctober 2018
Sale FC 23 Rosslyn Park 31
With the weather set fair, and the sun shining on the CorpAcq Stadium since earlier in the morning, it was definitely the ideal setting for this National One League clash between two of the country’s oldest rivals in Sale FC and Rosslyn Park, who were 3rdand 9threspectively going in to match.
At the kick off, Sale wanted to take the game to their opponents this afternoon and got an early break thanks in part to the early pressure placed on Rosslyn Park’s Fly Half Greg Lound, who could only take his side up to just outside his own 22m zone, due to the pressure placed on him by the home side.
From the subsequent lineout, Sale seemed to lose the second of these early exchanges as they were adjudged to have infringed at the lineout, leading to a penalty for the visitors who were able to clear their lines, pushing Sale back towards their own half of the field.
After play had come back in to our half of the field, Sale were quick to get the play moving again as the ball went through the forwards, who were running hard lines at the Rosslyn Park backs, creating space for Sale to register their first points of the match, thanks in part to a great pass from Adam Aigbokhae who put Sale’s leading try scorer Jack Moorhouse in to score unattended. With Chris Johnson continuing his prolific goal kicking, it was he who added the extras giving the home side the start they were looking for.
However, the lead was to only last 3 minutes for the home side, as the visitors Rosslyn Park went through a gap in the Sale FC defence created by their pacey winger Nev Edwards, who took the play up to Sale’s 22m line. From the ensuing phases in play, Sale tried in vain to hold out the visitors, before Flanker Henry Spencer barged his way over under the posts. The impressive Lound added the extras and we were all square inside the first six minutes of the game.
The game from here continued to flow from end to end, firstly through excellent play from the kick off by Jonty Rawcliffe who passed the ball to Johnson who with precision put the visitors deep in to their own 22m zone. From the resulting lineout, Rosslyn Park managed to kick the ball to Paolo Odogwu who ran the ball back with interest, before Bradley set Johnson up for him to kick RP back to within 5m of their line, narrowly missing Sale’s winger Doherty in the process with a cross field kick that the winger failed to latch on to.
With the game continuing in a similar manner, and both sides gaining territorial advantages due to the errors at the breakdown, the opening minutes of the game had set the foundations for what was to follow in the coming minutes, as Sale added to their account thanks to RP giving away a penalty at the breakdown. The cool Johnson decided to go for the posts here, once more being successful giving Sale a three-point advantage again.
This lead was to be added to further some five minutes later, after excellent work by the Sale forwards and back line in equal measure, launching Jack Moorhouse to score once more after a bullocking run from Simon Griffiths who had caught the ball off the back of a lineout, before charging at the unsuspecting backs from RP. With Johnson adding the extras here, it gave Sale a 10 point lead going into the second quarter of the game.
With a commanding 10 point lead for the hosts to keep hold of now, the half seemed to be in a position of stalemate, as both sides frequently exchanged passages of play with each other via lineouts, scrums or kicked possession from both Fly Halves, who were wanting to pin each other back in their own halves of the field with varying degrees of success.
However, it was Rosslyn Park who managed to get themselves on the score sheet next by way of a rolling maul from their excellent pack, after Sale had repeatedly given away penalties for being offside at the breakdown. These penalties then lead to RP having a lineout on Sale’s 5m thanks to Lound who had given the visitors territorial advantage, from the lineout the maul gained momentum, crossing the line thanks to Hooker Tom Vaughan-Edwards. With Lound adding the extras Sale’s lead was now reduced to just three points.
Sale were then to be punished even further some 5 minutes later, as they saw their hard hitting centre Johnny Leota visit the bin for offside at the breakdown, this being deemed a team offence and him being the next player to leave the field for the team’s indiscretions. This seemed to spur on the visitors, who finished the end of the first half on the rise and with much of the possession to boot.
At half time, Sale were up on the score board, but they were facing a resurgent Rosslyn Park side who were gaining control on this game, as time had continued to tick up to the break.
Heading into the 2ndhalf it was Rosslyn Park who started much the stronger side, as they were gently influencing the game through the hard work of their pack, and the equally impressive Lound, who was kicking Sale back into their half of the field. Add to this the great work from their back three of Edwards, Robinson and Amesbury and you could feel the tide turn towards the visitors, which would give them the control that they deserved throughout this half of play.
Further, with this control being taken away from the Sale side, it was the visitors who scored next thanks to the pack running hard at the excellent defensive line set up by Sale, who managed to quell the Rosslyn Park forwards for at least 10 phases before Spencer scored under the posts once more, putting RP in front for the first time in the match, with Lound kicking comfortably over the extras, the scoreboard was now showing a favourable four point lead with more than 30 minutes left on the clock.
For Sale FC here to get back in the game, they were going to need that ‘never say die’ attitude to be in with a chance of winning the game from this position, similar to what they had done in their previous two outings against Old Elthamians and Darlington MP respectively.
With their ‘never say die’ attitude being on show for the near 800 strong crowd, Sale continued to push back hard against RP through the tireless work of Odogwu, Leota and Moorhouse who almost looked like scoring, but for a slip to curtail his powerful running towards the goal line and a certain hat-trick to boot.
Thankfully his efforts weren’t in vain, as Sale continued to pile on the pressure as the game swung back in their favour creating a drop goal for the mercurial Johnson and a reduced one point lead for RP with just 20 minutes left to play.
Here, the reduced arrears seemed to spur on Rosslyn Park back into the game, increasing the manner in which they were able to slow the game down, and importantly remain ahead of the home side, due in part to the fact that they were dominant at the set piece, and that their experienced leaders in the pack of Spencer, Doran-Jones and Gillanders were able to win the scrums and lineout with that added quality of being able to shut out the game as time ticked over.
Importantly for the visitors, they were able to score again thanks to substitute and dual registered Harlequins player Hugh Tizard, who scored after a number of failed attempts from the RP forwards, despite being held out by the strong Sale defence. Adding the extras was Greg Lound, creating a lead that was back to 8 points.
Now that the scoreboard was firmly in the favour of our visitors, Chris Johnson converted his final points of the game after RP were adjudged to have held on to the ball from the restart. Post converting the penalty, Johnson was replaced by returnee Mark Lawrence with just 12 minutes to go and just a five point gap being the difference.
Unfortunately for Sale this week, there wasn’t going to be any grandstand finish nor losing bonus points, as they failed to show composure and control at the end, alas RP also managed to get another long range penalty from Lound taking their lead to 8 points, and virtually unassailable. Add to this the lack of a goal kicker when Sale had chances to take points from the game via to two very kickable penalties, meant the end of their 18 month home winning streak, and a disappointing conclusion to what was a fantastic game for the large crowd in attendance.
Admission to the game
- Members Free
- £10 Adult
- £8 Sale Sharks Season Ticket Holders
- £8 Concessions (over 65) and Students (with Student ID)
- Free Under 16’s
|Sale FC Rugby|
|Sale Rugby Club, Heywood Rd, Sale M33 3WB, UK|