This Saturday we are back in action at Heywood Road. The CorpAcq Stadium sees the return of the team after the summer break to face Doncaster Knights at 2:00 pm. This is a return fixture from last year.
Sale FC’s season finale ends on a losing note as Cambridge produce the great escape at the CorpAcq Stadium.
With Sale FC’s season finale being one where the home side had already secured their future in National League One in only their first season in the league, today’s game was always going to be more about the visitors Cambridge, and whether or not they could escape the relegation battle that they had become a part of during the second half of the season.
Knowing that the bottom two had already gone, these being Esher Rugby and Loughborough Students respectively, it was going to go down to the wire with three sides, namely Caldy, Birmingham Moseley and Cambridge, who occupied the final relegation place all going into battle knowing a five point win would allow them to survive.
The game was barely three minutes old when Cambridge Centre James Ayrton, was able to latch on to a pass from brother Michael, who had run around the oncoming Sale defence before putting his brother in to the right of the posts, therefore giving the visitors the lead and Fly Half Ben Penfold the opportunity to add the extras in the opening exchanges of the match.
Now that the visitors had taken a seven point lead in the match, Sale were looking to try and get back in the match with a number of attacking possessions that didn’t really come off, due to either sloppy passing or the ball being knocked on in terribly wet conditions.
With the weather playing a large part in the afternoon’s proceedings, Sale struggles continued especially when they had been awarded an advantage, leading to a lineout close to the Cambridge 10m line. Unfortunately, Briggs couldn’t find his man and the advantage was seemingly lost.
On 13 minutes, the visitors managed to score again as Sale coughed up possession once more, leading to Cambridge’s Penfold putting in a cross field kick that Robbie Povey missed, allowing winger Mike Ayrton to go over in the corner unattended. With Penfold missing the extras here, Cambridge now had a lead that they wouldn’t lose even though Sale never ever gave up.
Even though the next 20 minutes saw possession change hands at regular intervals, it was Sale who went into half time very much on the up, as they created a plethora of scoring chances, which they weren’t able to convert, mainly due to some resolute defending from the visitors, but also the fact that they were able to infringe at regular intervals at the breakdown.
With five minutes to go, the infringements by Cambridge were punished as the referee gave Cambridge Flanker Ciaran Moore a yellow card for repeat offences. From this advantage Sale went to the corner giving them their third 5m line out in a row, from here Sale built a great platform leading to Prop Simon Griffiths the chance to rumble over in his final appearance for Sale FC.
Going in to the break, Sale had reduced the arrears to seven points and got the wind in their sails. At the start of the second half, Sale tried hard to make the man advantage count some more, but unforced errors lead to them coughing up possession in valuable areas, providing the visitors with further chances to extend their lead.
Something that they did in the 47th minute, when the returning Moore latched on to a rolling maul set up from their own lineout throw, meaning that the visitors lead was up to 12 points, and the chance to survive the National League One relegation battle becoming more apparent.
At this time however regardless of the latest score, the visitors were going to be relegated as the closest side to them Caldy were beating the other potential relegation candidates Birmingham Moseley by ten points to seven with only 15 minutes to go in the game.
For the next 30 minutes, this game seemed to go into an almost stalemate, with neither side being able to get any real grip on a game, that was fast becoming increasingly error strewn as the weather seemed to affect both sides, even though there were opportunities available as they regularly attacked each other’s halves of the field.
However, there was one final twist yet to come, as on 76 minutes replacement Winger Sam Yawayawa was provided with an opportunity to score in the corner, giving the visitors the five points that they so desperately needed to stay in National League One, therefore relegating our Cheshire neighbours Caldy down in to National Two South from next season.
Even though the afternoon’s result didn’t go the way of Sale FC, they can be safe in the knowledge that they will be playing National League One rugby next season, especially after the pre-season predictions from the national journalists said that “Sale FC would be certain relegation candidates in their first season of National One rugby”.
To watch the highlights of Saturday’s game please follow the link here
After a thrilling final at Winnington Park, Sale manage to overcome Chester.
Sale made the relatively short trip to Winnington Park on a sunny Thursday evening to face National 2 North promotion chasers, Chester, in the final of the 2019 Cheshire Cup.
The blue and whites, playing up the slight slope in the first half, started the game well and deservedly took the lead in the 8th minute when Emiliano Calle Rivas slotted a straightforward penalty from 18 metres. 3-0
However, the lead was not to last long as an attempted clearance was charged down and, several phases later, the Chester scrum-half, Tom Holloway, breached the Sale defence for the first try of the game. 3-7
The men in red were now building a head of steam when full-back, Sean Green, broke clear from halfway, Sale scrum-half, Matt Bradley, was shown a yellow card as he attempted to slow the play down.
There followed a sustained period of pressure on the blue and whites try line with Chester hooker, Alick Croft, eventually crossing the whitewash to increase their lead. 3-12
Sale were in need of some inspiration and it duly arrived in the formidable form of hooker, Neil Briggs, who, two minutes after replacing Oli Longmore, emerged from a rolling maul to reduce the arrears. 8-12
Five minutes later came the moment of the game as Sale’s outside-centre, Ed O’Keeffe, received a ball out wide, weaved this way and that and then put a clever kick behind the winger before winning the foot race to touch down.
The second half started in the same way as the first with Sale dominating territory and possession and they soon increased their lead as Rhys Davies broke through the defensive line before offloading for Tom Ailes to stride in; Full-back, Robbie Povey, adding the extras. 22-12
The blue and whites were proving irresistible at this point and, following a kick to the corner from Povey, the lineout was gathered in to set up another rolling maul from which captain, David Seymour, stretched and reached to the line. 27-12
If Sale thought the game was won at this point, they were to get a rude awakening as Chester began to prove why they were flying high in National 2 North, winger, Harrison Vare, scoring a fine try after quick hands in midfield. 27-17
With just over ten minutes of the match remaining, the reds scored their fourth try of the game through their number 8, Shay Owen, to set up a grandstand finish. 27-24
However, the blue and whites were not to be denied and following an amazing break from Ryan Parkinson (playing at inside centre rather than his usual position in the back row), Tom Ailes scored his second try to put the game out of reach.
To watch the highlights of the game follow the link here
This Saturday, Sale FC play against Cambridge Rugby in the season finale.
On Saturday 27th April, Sale FC Rugby play host to Cambridge Rugby in their season finale to their first campaign in National League One.
With the blue and whites future in National League One almost certainly secured for another season, the visitors Cambridge still have it all to play for as they sit perilously above the relegation zone going into the final round of the season.
After their first meeting on the opening day of the season, where both sides played out a 36-36 draw down at Cambridge, it is sure to go down to the wire this time around with Sale FC Rugby having home advantage over their Southern opponents.
With the season drawing to a close on Saturday afternoon at the CorpAcq Stadium, it will also see post match the End of Season Awards Dinner taking place at the club, where players will receive such accolades as Player of the Season and Player’s Player of the Season. Additionally, there will also be the first awards ceremony for the 1861 Womens team.
To join in these celebrations at the club on Saturday evening contact Functions Manager here for your tickets. Tickets for the event are priced at £10 per person.
Admission for the game on Saturday is as follows: Adults £10, Concessions £8 and Children U16 FREE.
For more information about the game this Saturday please keep an eye on the club website and social media for more details.