No New Tricks, Just the Old Dogs

Sale FC Pick up Four on the Road

A 10-21 victory away on the road, wouldn’t have been big news this time last year. However, 12 months is a long time in sport and given we’d gone from top to bottom in that time, we needed a win and what a win it was. Blackheath threw everything at us and the Dogs responded.

The first half was a tight affair and Sale seemed to be in the referee’s bad books. Three points early on by Blackheath was followed by a charged down kick which popped up for Oskar Hirskyj-Douglas to score under the posts. Even though we went in 3-7 at the end of the first half, we were lucky that the Blackheath Fly-Half was finding the swirling wind difficult as he missed three penalties and even our ever reliable James Robins missed one, bouncing off the post. The first 40 wasn’t by any means a classic for the spectator, but for true grit and determination, both sides gave everything.

The second half saw Blackheath reduced to 14 players with a yellow card, they weren’t shackled by the lack of numbers and lovely move from a line out saw a clean break through our defence to a score under the posts for Blackheath, 10-7. Sale stepped up their attack after Blackheath had returned to 15 men and under pressure the Blackheath scrum-half was yellowed for a deliberate knock on. Sale were now able to exploit more width as Blackheath’s danger man Alex Noot, was moved from Fullback to Scrum-Half. A great run by Tom Walsh, scored under the posts and we were at 10-14. With time running out for Blackheath they threw caution to the win and to be honest, if this was three months ago, they’d have put us away. What followed was a defensive masterclass. Line speed forced Blackheath into errors whenever they looked like crossing the whitewash. The resulting  penalties released the massive pressure being applied by Blackheath who were looking to land a killer blow. Sale’s defence held firm forcing one final mistake allowing the ball to go loose and Tom Walsh finally allowed to show his pace, racing in from 60 metres to beat the cover in the dying moments. 10-21.

The resurgence of the suffocating defence from last year, the belief in each other and the trust seemed to have returned.

This weekend we take on a wounded Cinderford who having been on the receiving end of a Chinnor battering (0-57) will be looking to test us at Heywood Road and regain some of their pride.