SALE FC RUGBY 23 CALDY 20
Sale FC Rugby completed the double over their North West rivals Caldy RUFC. Over the last four games against Caldy we have now lost two won two, fortunately for us, the two wins were this season and have helped stabilise our position going into the New Year.
The setting for the match at Caldy was cold, wet and breezy which is pretty much the climate there almost every day as far as I can tell! It is however a huge contrast to the last time we played on the Wirral when it was glorious sunny day. We arrived to a warm welcome from their supporters and executive who were in a very festive Christmas spirit and fortunately for us that continued into the game when Neil Briggs came off the back of a rolling maul from a line out and went in from five metres out and with the additional two points added by Kieran Wilkinson, we were 7 points up after only five minutes of play.
The generosity was equally divided however, when Sale had a put in at the scrum five metres out from their own try line, managed to lose control of the ball which popped out and into Caldy hands for a clean run through to the line. 7 all and we were less than 15 minutes into the game. From there on things settled down and apart from penalties (two to Sale and one for Caldy) giving Sale a slender 3 point lead heading towards the half-time break, Dave Seymour got Sale back on course with another rolling maul from a line out leaving Seymour with sight of the line, stealing the ball off Neil Briggs to score in the corner. The resulting conversion attempt from out wide in a swirling breeze came off the post and Sale went into the break 18-10 up.
The second half saw a few lucky breaks for both teams, with Nick Royle out wide and unmarked, the pass to him was deemed forward letting Sale off a clear five points and given the accuracy of their kicker, you’d have to assume 7 points. The second let off was for Caldy who were lucky to remain with fifteen players on the pitch when punches were thrown at a player on the floor. Both referees and linesman were following play so missed what had happened so no action (quite rightly) could be taken.
The next score came as the result of a set piece play five metres out from the Sale try line with Caldy bundling over to bring Caldy within one point of Sale and the game was definitely on the turn, with Caldy throwing everything they had at Sale who stood firm even with the loss of Matt Postlethwaite to a yellow card on 58 minutes. Fortunately for Sale, this 10 minutes showed the difference a solid defence can make even with a man down. Although giving up a penalty to go behind by two for the first time in the match, the pressure was definitely starting to shift in the away teams favour.
With five minutes to go, camped on their own 22, Caldy tried to box kick and Matt Postlethwaite pounced,
charging it down for it to pop up into the hands of skipper Andy Hughes who went in for a well deserved try to bring us back into the lead. 23-20 is where the game finished, but no one should underestimate the significance of beating Caldy on their own ground. They are a good team, with the most successful finisher in National League rugby on the wing and a very strong pack who have been around the block and know what they’re doing
The final mention has to go to the 120 supporters Sale FC travelled to Caldy with. We had our M&J’s pitted against theirs from under 10’s to Under 13’s with over 90 boys and girls showcasing junior rugby in the north-west. The highlight of that event must be the two under 11 teams giving each other positive feedback at the end of the game demonstrating true rugby spirit!
Pictures courtesy of Gareth Lyons
Interview with Jack and Rhys
This weekend we take on old rivals Caldy. Over the years there have been some titanic battles with Caldy, most of which have been decided in their favour. This season however, we managed to sneak a win at the CorpAcq stadium 26-24. This trip will be a lot tougher, with Sale FC coming off the back of their worst losing streak in years and Caldy showing some good performances to sit 9 points and 5 places above us in the league.
The team selection this week includes ex-Caldy player Adam Aigbokhae who provides options off the bench having astonishingly played at 3, 6 and 14 this season! We also have Arron Reed and Connor Doherty returning from Sale Sharks duty to start in the backline. With Gas Rawlings and Mark Lawrence both out injured, we have 13 of our match day squad from last season’s National 2 Winning side. In fact we have a few players in there from our National 3 North (2014-15) and North West One (2012-13) winning teams as well. There can’t be many clubs playing in level 3 who’ve retained players from level 6.
Another exceptional element this weekend, Sale FC Rugby will be taking a coach to the game! 80 members are travelling down to Caldy after having breakfast with the team in the clubhouse. Travelling support is always welcome and we are delighted to have these guys along.