ROCHDALE 2ND XV 0 SALE 2ND XV 33
Sale 2nd XV kicked their 2016/17 campaign off with a comfortable 33 pts – 0 win over newly promoted Rochdale 2nd XV.
Fielding a much stronger squad than in the second half of last season, Sale ran out comfortable winners and it augers well for the forthcoming campaign under the joint management of Andrew Jibson and Phil White, plus new Captain Ben Simpson and Vice Captain Henry Platt.
Played in torrential rain, both sides got off to a slow start testing each others defences but Rochdale were guilty of several spillages and turnovers which unfortunately Sale were unable to take full advantage of.
On one turnover, winger Alex Bloomer went close on a galloping 60 metre run only to be stopped by the last man, and Louis Singleton, playing stand off, was able to launch the lively three quarter line on numerous occasions but stout defending by the home side prevented the visitors penetrating the whitewash.
Mid-way through the first period, Sale did cross the line but were held up, and from the ensuing scrum, No. 8 Hamsa Chauhdry picked up and drove over the line to open the scoring. Unfortunately, the conversion missed but Sale led 5 – 0.
Three minutes later, Sale increased their lead when from a quick tap penalty, Conner Cosh stepped through a gap in the home defence to score under the posts and in the process converted his own score to give Sale a 12 – 0 lead.
Ten minutes before the break, Sale extended their lead when a smart three quarter move saw Bloomer race 50 yards to score under the posts, Cosh adding the extras to give the visitors a healthy 19 – 0 interval lead.
The second half began similarly to the first half with a spirited Rochdale upping their defence, closing the Sale attackers down quickly and not allowing the Sale three quarter line any space in which to mount any meaningful attacks. Instead Sale were resigned to retrieving clearances and attempting to break the home defence from deep.
Sale were deprived of a try mid-way through the second period when Henry Platt latched on to a knock on by the home side, and he had burst through for a certain try only for the referee to hastily and harshly call play back for “no advantage” to Sale from the knock on!
It was not until the home side’s stand off was summoned from the pitch to deputise for the 1st XV on the adjoining pitch that Sale were finally able to extend their lead.
In his absence, the home full back was switched to stand off, leaving no full back to cover any breaks. First, Singleton saw a gap in the Rochdale defence and once he broke through went over the whitewash unopposed, Cosh adding the extras for a 26 – 0 lead.
Two minutes later, Matt Conville, playing full back in the second half, spotted a huge gap behind the Rochdale defence, and kicked through for Matt Simpson to chase. Unfortunately, Simmo slipped short of the line but Cosh was on hand to score his second try and his conversion completed the scoring to give Sale a bonus point win.
Next up is a home clash against arch rivals Stockport at Heywood Road.