Sale travelled to “Fortress Stour” with playoff ambitions and came back with an unlikely but well deserved five points. Stourbridge haven’t dropped a game at home this season whereas Sale have sometimes struggled on the road, with two of our three loses away from Heywood Road. Prior to this match there’d also been some concerns about the sheer volume of penalties we’ve given away at the breakdown which often created more work for ourselves than was necessary.
This time the struggle away from home didn’t materialise and by half time Sale had an unassailable 22-point lead. Director of Rugby Jonathan Keep was pleased that his team stuck to their game plan and were starting to approach the level he’s looking for.
An early penalty from Liam McGovern was followed in short order with tries by Sam Stelmaszek and Tom Ailes. Unfortunately, we lost Tom Ailes from the restart to foul play, resulting in a red card for Nick Murphy, the Stourbridge Lock who had only been on the pitch for 7 minutes.
This left the home side at 14 men with an uphill battle playing a rampant Sale. A few short minutes after the red card, Ciaran Connolly returning from an elongated break from the game, scored, and although the conversion was missed, Liam McGovern added to his already monumental tally for Sale by converting two of the three first half tries.
This brought us to the break 22-0.
Shortly after the break Jack Moorhouse went over from a cross field kick to secure the bonus point meaning that the game had essentially been killed off, or should have been. This league is a tough place and Stourbridge weren’t in third place in the league through luck. At 27-0 down they started to score some points, a little too late, but, on 47 minutes, Stour scored a converted try. No panic from Sale, who responded with a try from Chris Johnson converted by points machine Liam McGovern and order was restored, briefly, until Sale FC Debutante and Sale Sharks emerging star Paolo Odogwu was yellow carded at the 60-minute mark. With the sides levelled up, Stourbridge scored two converted tries within 4 minutes. The Sale of last year, might have panicked or indeed potentially have found a way to let the home team back into the game, but with Christopher Johnson steadying the team with a drop goal, Liam put the result beyond doubt with a Penalty at 72 minutes to take the score to 40-19.
Full Time 40-19
Last season at this point, Sale were hoping other teams would drop points, lose games or not get a bonus point just so we could survive in the league and not become a one hit wonder. This season there’s a determination and steel to their play which makes them largely unrecognisable from 12 months ago. This weekend sees us for the second week running playing the 3rd placed team. This time, we are looking to reverse our result from playing down in the East Midlands.
Come down and join the boys in the hunt for promotion.
|72 Bridgnorth Rd, Stourbridge, Staffordshire DY7, UK|