Bishop Stortford 26 – 19 Sale FC
14th DEC 2019
Misfortune and Consequence as Sale suffer a second loss on the bounce.
A disjointed start to the game with Bishops clearing their lines from kick-off with a knock-on in the resulting lineout maul. A scrum penalty awarded to Bishop Stortford pushes their territory well in to the Sale half. Big collisions early on with Stortford pushing, yet the Sale defence holds firm despite some impressive looking moves from the home side. A well charged kick puts the ball behind the Stortford attack, pushing marginally into their half with defensive efforts looking impressive so far. The charge down leaves The Dogs defence staggered with Stortford wing exploiting the middle of the park, accelerating away before a releasing an offload to the skipper for the opening try of the match- 5mins.
Bishop Stortford again shape to kick immediately off the returning Kick-off, providing The Dogs with opportunities of their own as they return an expansive style of play, stretching the game comfortably. Patrick Ah Van makes a clean break up the left side of the park, play continues across both sides. Bradley and Mulchrone link nicely to decisively place Stortford on the back foot with a well-placed grubber kick to touch- 10m from the line, important territory gained. Players from both sides already dropping to one knee with heavy collisions early on, a fierce game is expected. The resulting line-out is disrupted leaving Stortford again on the backfoot, but recovering well, with a good clearing kick. The resulting lineout is turned over by the home side, who push down the opposite wing, building phases on the half way before a box kick is placed into the hands of Jonty Rawcliffe.
The Dogs use the turnover of possession within their 22 to build phases of their own, before an overlap on the right wing opens up bringing Sale back up to Halfway- a familiar sight of not 1minute ago. Territory is fought with an attacking kick from Chris Johnson before Stortford fullback returns the favour. A stagnant game with either side in the mix.
A penalty at the breakdown to the homeside gifts them the opportunity to push into the Sale half. A well drilled lineout puts Stortford on the front foot, building phases on The Dogs 22- looking promising. Play stretches to the right wing with some slick hands putting Bishops in a narrow channel and into the corner- 18minutes gone, 14-0.
An exciting restart with Stortford cutting through on a number of occasions down either wing, with a big break down the middle. Expansive to say the least. Stortford push down the right wing again with some silky offloads before the physicality of the game catches up, a penalty is awarded to Bishop Stortford on the right side of the field which they opt to kick, shaping for the corner. The pick and go phases push Sale back with some quality chop tackles coming in, a try is disallowed, with impressive line defence holding the ball up- advantaged was played, so the referee returns for a penalty 10m out. Sale relieve pressure with the resulting line-out maul going nowhere, scrum awarded to The Dogs, to which they eventually clear to halfway. Play floats between sides on halfway before a quick switch of play from Johnson pushes Leota into some space who exploits the left side- pushing sale down the wing in Nick Gray who offloads to keep play going. Another poor turnover from the opposition leaves The Dogs again without points from the 22.
Sale build pressure again with some good territory from the resulting penalty on halfway, pushing the Dogs into the corner, with a strong well-rehearsed driving maul pushing Sale over the line from 10m out. Johnson plucks the extras.
Play switches between either side with territory fought. Stortford notably mounting pressure within the Sale half before Patrick Ah Van picks up a yellow for a deliberate knock-on along the left wing. Pressure still builds as Stortford push to the corner for a driving maul which sets up Bishop’s Fly Half to ping a chip out to the nearside corner for Stortford wing to rise highest to claim another try. Extras added.
HT Bishop Stortford 19 – 07 Sale FC The floodlights come on as the second half commences.
Stortford absorb all the pressure as they sit comfortably in their half, defending well as Sale press. Before, a disjointed box kick pushes Sale back into their half with the resulting bouncing ball falling graceful in the hands of a lost prop who storms through a couple of tackles. The Openside winger cuts a great line from the breakdown, drawing the fullback to run in another try. Extras added.
Bishop Stortford 26-07 Sale FC
A relentless second 40 with tackles still coming in hot. Sale continue to push towards the Stortford corner with penalties few and far, requiring maximum points now on. Misfortune continues with the resulting driving maul held up over the line, Sale unable to put points on possession. Once again, Johnson shapes for the corner- points demanded with an aggressive maul halted on the line, spilled into the hands of a Stortford forward who accelerates away desperately. Stortford unable to get out the half, inviting waves of pressure from The Dogs who continue to cut holes in the defensive line. But, more misfortune as another turnover halts Sale’s attack, 5m out, this time a knock-on. Pressure is still fierce as a couple of scrum resets leave Stortford fly half thankful to put boot to ball, yet still remain in their half, inviting more opportunity for attack. Yet, a lack of killer-instinct leaves Sale countlessly without points, despite retaining the ball for large parts of this half. The Dogs continue to mount pressure, stretching play across the field with a few glimmers of opportunity. Before a penalty turnover gifts the home-side the opportunity to clear their lines, building pressure on Sale, making a few breaks pushing The Dogs well into their half. An important turnover 5m out from the line allows Sale to build again, stretching play across the field before exploiting gaps on either wing in Patrick Ah Van and Johnny Leota bringing them to halfway. An unexpected break from Captain Andy Hughes from the breakdown in the centre of the park, leaves him in unfamiliar territory, yet pops an offload on to the cavalry who push on, leaving Stortford desperately on the backfoot (once more). Johnson pushes the ball to the right field of play, where a heavy overload finally provides Sale with an open try-scoring-opportunity with replacement Anthony Bingham dotting down in the corner. Extras added.
Bishop Stortford 26-14 Sale FC
Sale continue to build pressure, trying to alleviate from a slow start with the opportunity for points available many times in the second half. The Dogs search for the corner once more, hopeful of more chances to invite them back into the game with a comeback present.
Play is spread once more down the right side after a lineout, with a returning move freeing up Rhys Davies who pushes Johnny Leota on with a well-timed pass. Leota then shows and goes before popping to winger Patrick Ah Van who expertly finishes in the corner, with heavy defence pressing. You can tell he’s done this before with a quality finish.
But, once again, it is too little to late. With complacency early on leaving Sale too much to do.
FT Bishop Stortford 26-19 Sale FC
The Final Fixture of 2019- Christmas Special!
Soon to come