Sale FC v Bishop’s Stortford

Match Report – Bishop’s Stortford 29 Sale 15

by John Allanson (Bishop’s Stortford)

A hard-fought win against a dogged Sale side, that battled hard, despite being down to 14 men for all of the second half.

Stortford totally dominated the first half hour of this vital home game but were unable to break through a strong and committed Sale defence for almost half an hour. A number of penalties were conceded in keeping their line intact and Stortford settled for putting 3 points on the board through Tom Banks’ boot from one of these offences, with quarter of an hour gone.

Rhys Davies makes a great tackle supported by Johnny Leota and Dave Seymour (c) Andy Todd Photography

The home side was soon back on the front foot, but again found it hard to prise open the stubborn Sale defence. Almost inevitably, though a gap was eventually found, when, after 28 minutes a piece of improvisation by Coke Gearing Man of the Match, James Apperley caught the opposition momentarily off guard.

The tall flanker showed impressive ball skill in flicking up a loose pass with his boot into his hands almost without breaking stride and then beat the first defender, bursting through some 35 metres out and using Joss Linney on the outside as a foil to dummy past the next potential tackler, before outstripping the cover defence to score a great individual try. Banks’ conversion took Stortford out into a 10 point lead, but Sale now, aided by a couple of loose penalties conceded by Stortford, launched their first threatening attack of the game and clinically finished it from a driving maul from a lineout some 7 metres out, with prop, Simon Griffiths touching down for an unconverted try after 34 minutes. Drama remained before halftime, though, as the visitors looked to build upon their score, breaking again into the Stortford half. This time, though, their centre, Connor Doherty incurred the officials’ severe displeasure with a dangerous clear out of an opponent at a ruck, for which he was shown a red card immediately before the break.

Dan Birchall is strong in the tackle (c) Andy Todd Photography

Sale obviously hatched a plan over halftime to deprive the opposition of the ball and they were able to implement this with impressive efficiency for the first 15 minutes of the second period. They were so successful, in fact, that, within 2 minutes of the restart, they had taken the lead with a try to their other prop, Daniel Birchall, after a series of powerful drives by his fellow forwards, from another lineout in the Stortford 22, arising again from an unforced penalty conceded by the home side in midfield. Scrumhalf, Matt Bradley converted for a two point lead.

Stortford’s frustrations at being deprived of the ball were further increased, when Bradley kicked a penalty goal 14 minutes into the half after the home pack, previously edging the set pieces, was penalised at a scrum. At this point, though, Stortford began to win some ball and within 8 minutes had levelled the score through a try out wide to Rob Duff. The position had been won from an excellent break through the centre by George Keen, with the Sale defence being stretched to breaking point virtually on their own line. Recognising this, flanker, Andy Hughes cynically killed the ball, receiving a yellow card for his pains. Stortford opted for a scrum and quick ball down the line was all that was needed to see Duff over.

The conversion attempt into the breeze fell just short. Sale showed their continuing determination by keeping their line intact for the remainder of the sin-bin period, but almost immediately afterwards conceded another try after a great lineout steal by Apperley and a powerful run by Joss Linney, cutting in from his wing some 40 metres out to break a couple of tackles, but again he was stopped just short of the line.

This time the ball was quickly recycled, and George Cullen was on hand to crash over under the posts, giving Banks an easy extra two points. Stortford tails were now up, and it was Nick Hankins’s turn to be the provider 4 minutes later, when he fielded a kind bounce from a clever chip kick in midfield by Cullen. He almost made the line himself, but quick ball again from the breakdown found Jack Scantlebury piling through to touch down close to the posts for the crucial bonus point try. Banks rounded off the scoring with his third conversion.

Captain Andy Hughes takes control of man and ball (c) Andy Todd Photography

Credit has to go to the Sale side, who battled well throughout, despite being short-handed for half of the game, but with so much having gone against Stortford in the season to date, this was a crucial win and one that was well deserved by a team that overall posed a much wider range of attacking threats than the visitors.

Sale 2’s come up second best against the Sedgley Tigers.

Sale 2nd team hosted Sedgley Park 2’s on Saturday, looking for a win from one of their remaining two fixtures of their North West Intermediate Premier League campaign.

Adam Aigbokhae tackles Sedgley’s Jobe Johnson (c) John Hoye Photography

After their previous encounter with Sedgley Park earlier in the season, Sale were looking to make improvements to their performance, whilst at the same time keeping a full team on the pitch, after the last game saw us use up all our squad and finish the game with only 12 players by the end of it.

With the weather being overcast, and occasional showery bursts adding to blustery conditions it meant that the players were in for an interesting afternoon’s rugby, that as it turned out was not too bad a game, although there was more ‘windy conditions’ as the match went on.

So it was Sedgley who got us under way here at the CorpAcq with their useful No.9 A.J Potgieter kicking the ball in the direction of captain Ben Simpson, who immediately put Sale on the front foot making progress back towards the halfway line, before a loose pass that hit the deck was quickly followed up with Sedgley turning defence into attack leading to them heading to the corner only to be stopped as the referee deemed that there was insufficient advantage and the penalty was awarded.

Ben Simpson goes on the charge through the Sedgley cover defence (c) John Hoye Photography

From here Sedgley, pushed the ball wide through their pacey backs as they looked to get the first score on the board, however a knock on at the crucial moment gave Sale a reprieve and scrum deep inside their own 22m zone. At the resulting scrum Sale were able to clear their lines and run hard at the Sedgley defensive line, as they made their way up the field approaching the halfway line.

Sale’s progress here was halted as Sedgley were adjudged to have held on to the ball, something that led to the referee speaking to both captains allowing them to seek clarification regarding the reasoning behind the penalty.

At the restart with the penalty, Matt Simpson played the ball and Sale were seen to making good progress up the field, with the forwards linking up with the backs creating opportunities with each and every phase, unfortunately a loose pass here gave the ball back to Sedgley as Adam Aigbokhae knocked the ball forward just as he was about to make a clinical break through a hole in the visitors defence.

The game continued in this same manner for the next 10 minutes, as neither side could hold on to the ball sufficiently well enough to gain any advantage in the match. However, in the 14th minute Sedgley Park scored the first points of the game thanks in the main to their backs creating an overlap on the left hand side of the pitch for their centre No.18 to score unattended, with Potgieter kicking the extras it gave Sedgley a 7 point lead.

The lead was to be added to some three minutes later, as Sedgley flanker (No.6) finished off a well worked move from the lineout allowing him to score under the posts, Potgieter once again added the extras and the lead had become 14 points to nil in favour of the Tigers.After this score, Sale seemed to come back into the game with a mixture of well worked moves and a large number of phases that gave them some sort of momentum as the half ticked on. For most of the second quarter of this half Sale seemed to be the likelier of the two sides to score, only for them to either knock the ball on or lose possession at a vital moment, when any number of players could have reduced the arrears.

Sale edge ever closer to the Tigers try line (c) John Hoye Photography

Credit where its due however must go also to Sedgley who played their part in stopping Sale getting on the score board as their defence made a number of important tackles and line out steals giving them the ball when Sale were in the ascendency.

At the halftime interval, Sale were 14 points down but nevertheless in a good position to win the game. From the restart by Sale’s No.10 Callum Ramsey he seemed to put a great kick up in the air for the forwards to chase, as we looked to put Sedgley under pressure and turn the deficit around.

Unfortunately, the jump from captain Ben Simpson and flanker Andy Raw missed the flight of the ball and it lay firmly in the grasp of the Sedgley tight head prop Jobe Johnson, who managed to bulldoze his way through some strong tackles from the Sale defence, before he was able to offload to his teammates, leading to Sale ending up in their 22m zone.

As the attack continued it only seemed a matter of time before Sedgley would cross the line again for their third score of the afternoon, as their hooker cut a scything line across the Sale defensive line giving their scrum half Potgieter an easy conversion taking Sedgley out to a 21-0 score line.With Sedgley now firmly in the driving seat and looking to add further scores with every passing phase, it was the turn of their No.8 Luke Crampton to receive the kick off from Callum Ramsey, something that he seemingly took with great ease, before releasing it wide to their backs, who were relentless with their constant wave of attacks throughout the game that they charged at the Sale defence with.

Sale make excellent progress in the 2nd half where they were rewarded with a penalty try (c) John Hoye Photography

These attacking phases would lead them to score once more as their No.9 Potgieter put their second row Scott Murphy over in the corner, therefore giving Sedgley the try bonus point and that man Potgieter his fourth conversion of the afternoon and a 28 point lead to boot.

Sale looked for all intent and purposes that their afternoon was done after just 48 mins and the floodgates would open as they did earlier in the season, this thankfully wasn’t the case as the referee firstly dispatched Sedgley second row No.5 Greg Morgan to the bin for a shoulder charge before adding to their woes just a few moments later with a number of penalties for either repeat infringement or preventing the ball coming out from the base of a ruck.

Here the referee gave the Sedgley captain Crampton his final team warning, as Sale came to life and subsequently threatened to visitors line. This pressure was turned into points on the 55 minute mark, when winger Mike Agyei-King rounded off a wonderfully worked move for Sale to register their first points of the game, fortuitously Callum Ramsey was able to bounce the ball off the crossbar aided by a large amount of top spin as it went through the uprights to make the score 7-28 in the visitors favour.Even with only the slightest reprieve to Sale in terms of registering on the scoreboard, Sedgley crossed for the final time of the afternoon, as they pounced on to a Sale mistake, after they took advantage of a penalty given to them by the referee. At the ensuing lineout Sedgley won the ball with ease before going wide and giving Crampton the chance to cross the try line. Unfortunately, Potgieter wasn’t able to keep his perfect conversion record of the afternoon as he pushed it wide from the right hand side of the pitch. Just a short while later, the referee gave the Sedgley flanker No.6 a yellow card for dissent, as it was a team related offence this time around he was dismissed for, leaving Sedgley with 14 men on the park for the majority of the remaining 15 minutes of the game. With this extra man, Sale took full advantage of this opportunity creating chances for themselves through the hard work and effort from second row partners Witness Mandizha and John Blanchard Senior, who was tackled high forcing the referee to award Sale a penalty try under the posts, from what was a clear scoring chance. With the conversion part of the penalty try package Sale ended the game with 14 points on the board and a final score of 33-14 in favour of our visitors who took their chances well for the most part and rightly deserved the win, even though the referee awarded a considerable number of penalties against them during this fixture.

Matt Hoye stops Tigers Jobe Johnson (C) John Hoye Photography

Post-match Captain Ben Simpson was quite upbeat about the game, taking a large number of positives from the game, adding that the mixture of the youth and experience in the side will leave them in a good place for their Conference B fixtures that follow in the second half of the 2nd team campaign.

Sale Sharks and Sale FC Rugby Announcement

A Club Statement

“The agreement between Sale Sharks and Sale FC Rugby has fantastic benefits for both clubs as we work together to grow rugby in the Northwest. We are very excited about what this means to both clubs and in particular how this will take Sale FC Rugby to where we believe it should be.”

 

 

Steve Smith, Chairman , Sale FC Rugby

 

Sale Sharks and Sale FC Rugby To Work Even Closer

Gallagher Premiership Rugby club Sale Sharks and National One side Sale FC Rugby have announced an initiative to work together more closely than ever before.

The venture entails support from the senior club, on and off the pitch, with Sale FC Rugby rising to Championship status part of the long-term ambition.

Since the advent of professionalism at Rugby Union clubs, the Sharks and the FC have been connected for over twenty five years. Indeed, the Sharks played at the iconic venue of Heywood Road until 2003.Sale FC Rugby have the history and Sale Sharks the professionalism.

They have now agreed to work together more closely than ever before.This latest move allows the two clubs to retain their own identities. They have devised a philosophy that will assist Sale FC Rugby in their ambition to play Championship Rugby whilst avoiding financial difficulties, and concurrently develop Sale Sharks into the strongest rugby franchise in the country.Sale Sharks will continue to invest into its own Academy and also into Sale FC Rugby, making all three teams stronger in their respective competitions.

Whilst both organisations will continue to be separate entities, operating independently in accordance with their status within the game, their rugby departments will co-operate fully.

Corpacq, Morson and Sale Sharks will invest sufficiently and liaise with Sale FC Rugby’s Executives to enable Sale FC Rugby to become a sustainable ‘break even’ business, thus securing the club for years to come.

Sale FC Rugby will benefit from the loan of senior and talented young players on a wider level of availability. Sale Sharks, who have players gaining on-field experience at several clubs, will be able to keep more players at a higher matchday fitness level.The ‘sharing’ of players will strengthen all teams and create a development pathway which all parties believe will be ‘second to none’.Furthermore, Sale FC Rugby will have access to the Sharks’ coaches, dietitians, kicking and scrum coaching expertise and rehabilitation staff.

 

Sale FC M&J Coaches Go BIG!

A group of dads, coaches and Vets players from Sale FC Rugby took up the challenge of cycling the length of Hadrian’s Wall, in an attempt to raise money for our clubs official charity ‘The Alex Hulme Foundation’. We are a family club at Sale FC Rugby and this charity is very close to our hearts. 

The challenge took place over the weekend of the 25th & 26th May and saw us start at Carlisle Castle and cycling east to the fort at South Shields on tracks and cross country for approx. 90 miles. They views were stunning and the people we met during the challenge were very supportive and even made donations that went to our total raised.

Although this was a very difficult challenge we all finished together and had a brilliant time. We were motivated through the challenge to do all we could to help the Foundation and with the responses we got to our social media update videos throughout both days, kept our spirits. We would like to thank everyone who donated to help us raise over £5,200.00 to the Alex Hulme Foundation.

Pantelis Goes International

At 17 years and 52 days old Pantelis Stylianou is the youngest ever player to be called up for the Cypriot National Rugby team and the youngest ever player in the tournaments history. Playing at the European Rugby 7s Conference in Belgrade Serbia over the weekend of 8/9 June 2019. Although the team narrowly missed out on progressing in the Conference Cup itself, which would have led to an Olympic qualifier competition, they did however win the Conference Trophy with an emphatic final game win over Austria.

Pantelis was the only player in the squad to play in all 6 games. He scored 4 tries, which also makes him the youngest ever try scorer and was voted the Cypriot player of the tournament by his team mates and management. The team won 4, drew 1 and only lost 1 game (by a 1 point difference), quite an achievement for a small island team.

Due to Pantelis’s performance he has been selected for trials for the National XV squad in August, ready for next seasons European fixtures. Pantelis was one of the original members of Sale FC M&Js program, progressing through the age groups and finally playing two years up for the Senior Colts 2 seasons ago.

He is continuing to train with the Sale FC senior squad and is hoping now that he is 17, he will play for the senior team in the forthcoming season. Pantelis says

It was a fantastic feeling and I’m very proud to be part of an international team.

It was a great experience and definitely one I would like to repeat. Obviously its a different type of game from XVs rugby that takes some getting used to but, Im glad I played my part well and helped the team make a good impression at the tournament

England Counties vs Georgia XV

This afternoon Neil Briggs and Andy Hughes take on a tough Georgia XV the kick of is 1500 British time and is live streamed on here. This is Andy’s second tour with England Counties with the ever youthful Neil Briggs on his maiden tour.

Andy Hughes said:

This is a great opportunity to represent your country against a tough Georgian team known for their forward power. Training has been intense and with a high skill set, we should be able to meet the challenge ahead.

Andy Hughes training with England Counties in Georgia

England U20s News

  • England U20s – Tries: Sleightholme 2, Seabrook Cons: Vunipola Pens: Vunipola 3
  • Ireland U20s – Tries: Flannery. Moore, McCann 2, Healy, Hodnett. Cons: Flannery 2, Healy 4

England U20s lost their opening game of the World Rugby U20 Championship, beaten 42-26 by Ireland in Sante Fe, Argentina.

The side will next take on Italy on Saturday 8 June (KO 7.30pm BST) in Sante Fe before ending their Pool B campaign against Australia on 12 June.  Read More Here

England vs Ireland Highlights

AGM Announcement

Dear Member,
As the Honorary Secretary of Sale FC, I formally invite you to attend the Annual General Meeting on Monday 17th June 2019 at 7.00pm in The Suite at Heywood Road.
The Officers of the Club look forward to welcoming you to review our first season in National League One.
Apologies should be sent to secretary@salefc.com
The agenda and the minutes of last year’s meeting can be found here

Kind Regards

Gareth Daniel

Honorary Secretary