Sale FC 27 v Otley RFC 3
Successful start to Sale FC league campaign kicking off on a rainy Saturday afternoon at Heywood Road with a comfortable 27-3 win over Otley at Heywood Road.
Sale had a tough campaign last year in National Two North as they survived the drop on the closing stages of last season. Key to them doing well this season is their home form and judging by this opening performance, that could well be a factor to any success they have this year as the Manchester based side dominated large spells of this contest.
But, it was Otley who started the stronger and were able to take advantage of early territory as Hodgson slotted over the penalty.
The wet and greasy conditions weren’t aiding the players in the first half as a number of penalties for knock-ons were awarded. Sale eventually profited from that as McGovern bisected the posts for his first points of the season to make the game all square.
Both defences were standing firm, but Otley’s was having to work the harder as Sale looked to make inroads. The home side struggled to register the first try of the game as the half ticked by, but they did go close through McGovern who was held up over the line.
However, Sale would end the opening period in front as fly-half Johnson, who was making his league debut, coolly slotted over a drop-goal to put his side in front after sustained pressure from the hosts.
Sale had been knocking at the door for large spells of the first 40 and it took less than 60 seconds in the second half for the home side to get their first try of the game as McGovern carved open the Otley defence and flicked the ball to Mayor who slid over in the corner.
McGovern failed with the tough conversion attempt and it looked like that could’ve cost the hosts as Otley nearly crossed from their first real attack of the game.
Scum-half Max Johnson darted through the Sale defence and popped the ball wide, but it fell loose. Winger Alex Beaumont did well to get a boot on the ball and nudge over the try line, but in the wet conditions he couldn’t get a firm grounding on the ball which resulted in a knock on.
McGovern made Otley rue that missed opportunity as he slotted over another six points for his side. Otley’s George Burkinshaw was then yellow carded as the Yorkshire outfit started to lose their discipline and it got worse for Peter Clegg’s team as Sale put the game beyond Otley a couple of minutes later.
Following a kick to the corner, the ball was worked to the middle by the Sale backs before the move was rounded off by Kelly as barged his way over by the posts to give Sale some breathing space in this contest. McGovern made no mistake with the extras which ultimately wrapped up an opening day win for Sale FC. Man of the match was Sale FCs 2nd row Rees Davies working relentlessly and carrying hard all afternoon to create a good platform for the backs.