After an ultimately strange season which was beset by weather issues and the small matter of a global pandemic, Sale FC Rugby has maintained their place in National One for the next season. Here are our highlights from 2019/2020 and hopefully we will see more of the same in 2020/2021
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
Loughborough Students 33 Sale FC Rugby 12
The latest away trip saw the dogs travel to Loughborough University to play the bottom-of-the-table side in blustery but dry conditions.
In the early exchanges, both sides looked to play fast, attacking rugby but the game remained scoreless until the 11th minute when the returning Gaz Rawlings soared above everyone at a 5 metre lineout to set up an unstoppable driving maul – Ryan Parkinson touching down. 0-5
With the stiff breeze behind them, Sale were beginning to dominate territory and, from another deep lineout, the forwards rumbled towards the line with the ref awarding a penalty try milliseconds before the unfortunate Rhys Davies dived over. 0-12
Far from being disheartened by the score line, the hosts continued to run the ball at every opportunity and in the 23rd minute their enterprise was rewarded with a try out wide to reduce the arrears. 7-12
Five minutes later, the scores were level as the home side’s forwards made plenty of yards before pacy winger, Will Brown, evaded the defence to sprint in. 12-12
Errors began to creep into the blue and whites’ game and, in the 36th minute, the Students took the lead with a fine try finished off by their flying prop forward, Andrew Nathan-Boye – Sale losing Gaz Rawlings to a yellow card in the process for an off the ball incident.
The first 20 minutes of the 2nd half saw some scrappy play from both teams with neither side able to gain much momentum, but the hosts extended their advantage in the 63rd minute when they turned the ball over on Sale’s 22 and fed the ball to Oskar Hirskyj-Douglas to barge his way in. 26-12
The dogs looked to respond immediately as, following a good break from full-back, Robbie Povey, the forwards went through phase after phase near the hosts’ try line but the ranks of purple shirts stood firm, eventually turning the ball over and clearing their lines.
Any lingering hopes of a comeback were dashed in the 75th minute when Loughborough scored a 5th try through Cameron Jordan, with the vocal home support celebrating wildly. 33-12
With time ticking past the 80 minute mark, the blue and whites scored a consolation try as a 5 metre lineout, which had served them so well in the early stages of the match, was won for hooker, Christian Taylor, to cross the whitewash.
A frustrating day for the blue and whites with the hosts belying their lowly league status to take the spoils and drag Sale back towards the dog-fight at the bottom, enhancing their own survival chances in the process.
To watch this week’s match highlights please click the link here
Sale FC Rugby’s four game unbeaten run comes to an end in an enthralling encounter at the CorpAcq Stadium.
Sale FC Rugby, unbeaten in their last four home games, succumbed to two late penalty tries having played three quarters of the match with 14 men, and the closing minutes with 13, the result of red cards received, one in each half.
Blackheath were quickly into their stride, winning a penalty in the first minute, kicked by centre Leo Fielding. Sale responded to the challenge, taking the game to the visitors and winning consecutive penalties, taking them within range of the posts, Calle Rivas taking his opportunity to equalise.
Back came Sale again another penalty taking them close to the Blackheath line. A clean take at the lineout by Postlethwaite providing a platform for a driving maul from which Priestley – Nangle burst over the line to score a well-deserved try. Within minutes, Blackheath levelled when winger Lloyd found himself in space on the left wing, scoring a try in the corner.
A pivotal moment in the game came in the 21st minute when the referee saw Sale prop Joe Kelly throw a punch in what appeared to be a retaliatory act, but never the less deemed worthy of a Red Card reducing Sale to 14 men. Despite the numerical disadvantage Sale stuck to their task and indeed had the better of the play taking the lead from a Calle Rivas penalty kick on the half hour mark, the score remaining on Sale FC 11 Blackheath 8 at half time.
The Second half began with Sale’s 14 men yet again taking the game to the visitors forcing a misdirected clearance kick and winning lineout possession. With centre Johnny Leota in the thick of things, a solid ruck provided the base to feed full back Povey who in turn linked up with winger Paolo Odogwu whose powerful run took him over in the corner for a try which was skilfully converted by Calle Rivas to take Sale FC into a 10 point lead.
Sale continued to retain their lead with a combination of solid defence and effective counter attacking when on 60 minutes Blackheath flanker Harry Bate won the ball just inside the Sale half, breaking free of the Sale defence to run the 45 metres to the try line to score under the posts. Having added the extra points, the score now tied on 18 points each.
As the match drew to a close and with the home team tiring as a result of their outstanding effort against superior numbers a procession of reset scrums concluded with a penalty try in the visitors favour taking them into a 7 point lead. Immediately following the restart, another punch was spotted by the referee who didn’t hesitate showing a red card to Sale hooker Neil Briggs.
The match concluded with another penalty try for Blackheath as the Sale pack struggled against a two man advantage.
Final Score: Sale FC Rugby 18 … Blackheath 32
To view the match highlights of the game please use the following link here
Sale FC Rugby win their rearranged game against their Northern rivals.
As games go this one most definitely lived up to its long awaited billing, thanks in part to the delay caused by the snow we had at the beginning of the month.
A touch of class from Emi Calle Rivas secured a bonus point victory for Sale FC against Darlington Mowden Park in this National League 1 clash at the CorpAcq Stadium. On four minutes Sale FC got points on the board from a Calle Rivas drop goal.
Sale FC 3…Darlington Mowden Park 0
Darlington responded well, with their pack applying pressure to disrupt Sale at the scrum, forcing Sale to kick to touch and concede lineout possession.
An exchange of kicks between Darlington fly half Sears and Sale full back Robbie Povey ended with a knock by Darlington 2nd row Joe Craggs .
A lineout on 9 minutes gave Darlington an opportunity to bring their backs into play, quickly moving the ball wide for Captain Matt Heaton to score in the corner .The try was not converted.
Sale FC 3 DMP 5 Within minutes, the process was repeated, on this occasion in the opposite corner , winger McCartney getting in on the act . Fly half Warren Seals was again unsuccessful with his kick . . Darlington’s lead now 7 points
Sale FC 3 DMP 10
From the restart Sale were awarded a penalty and from the resulting lineout, another penalty which scrum half Matt Bradley took quickly drawing a third in front of the posts which Calle Rivas slotted home. Another consequence of the penalty was a yellow card for Darlington Fly Half Seals.
Sale FC 6 DMP 10
Sale kept up the momentum and were quickly on the front foot with a long kick by Full Back Povey deep into the Darlington half. Despite trying to run the ball clear, Darlington were well martialled by Sale, forcing a penalty close to half way, an extra 10 metres was conceded when a Darlington player petulantly threw the ball away. Calle Rivas found touch close to the try line and from a well-executed lineout Ryan Parkinson drove over to score. Calle Rivas narrowly missed adding the extra points.
Sale FC 11 DMP 10
Darlington’s lead was restored on 22 minutes when Sale conceded a penalty for not rolling away Centre Garry Law the successful kicker in the temporary absence of Warren Seals.
Sale FC 11 DMP 13
On 30 minutes, following a period solid defence by Sale great work by Captain Andy Hughes forced a turnover resulting in a penalty to Sale for hands in the ruck.
The kick was clinically despatched into the Darlington 22 by Calle Rivas, from the resulting lineout a controlled drive by the Sale pack concluded with a try for second row forward Matt Postlethwaite in the 32nd minute which Calle Rivas converted .
Sale FC 18 DMP 13
As the first half drew to a close Sale continued to take the game to the visitors , Paulo Odogwu getting involved in midfield followed by a break by Kieran Dunne which was prematurely ended by a no arms tackle giving Sale a penalty on 37 minutes.
Sale FC Rugby 18 Darlington Mowden Park 13
An early penalty from a high tackle on Odogwu came to nothing following a Sale knock on at the lineout.
Sale continued to keep Darlington pinned deep in their own half with a succession of long kicks culminating with excellent work from flanker Dave Seymour on 54 minutes, grappling the ball away from the opposition and releasing Paulo Odogwu to sprint the 45 metres to the Darlington posts. The try was converted by Calle Rivas extending the Sale lead .
Sale FC 25… D MP 13
Resolute in defence, Sale gave the visitors few chances to mount sustained attacking plays , Darlington failing to capitalise from a penalty award on 65 minutes, not finding touch and giving substitute Jonty Rawcliffe the opportunity to clear downfield.
The highlight of the match came on 70 minutes, a solid lineout and rolling maul, laid a platform enabling an accurate pass to find Calle Rivas in space. The fly half feigned a drop goal attempt but instead placed a deft chip behind the Darlington defence perfectly placed for centre Johnny Leota to run on to , beat the full back Chris McTurk to score under the posts.
Another conversion by Calle Rivas extending Sale’s lead.
Sale FC 32 DMP 13
In the closing minutes Darlington, to their credit, regrouped and took the game back to Sale forcing a penalty and Yellow Card against Dan Birchall ( not rolling away) eventually leading to a try on 78 minutes by Matt Dudman with Law adding the extras.
Sale FC 32 DMP 20
In the final minute, a try from substitute Simon Uzokwe, converted by Law was the last meaningful play of the day.
Final Score Sale FC 32 – Darlington Mowden Park 27
After a hugely successful season at all levels, with our Team Captain being selected for England Counties and named as National 2 North player of the year (and Players Player of the Year for Sale FC) we have a small video we’d like to share.