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.


Rosslyn Park Match Preview

A vital game for The Dogs as they take on quality outfit Rosslyn Park. Fighting on either spectrum of the table- We push for a top 5 whilst Park look up to secure a top spot.

Jonathan Keep announces the squad ahead of this anticipated thriller

SATURDAY- 18th JAN 2020

The Rock | Rosslyn Park | London

Sale FC 33 v 14 Canterbury RFC – National League D1 – 11th January 2020, Heywood Road, Sale, Greater Manchester, United Kingdom, (Credit Image: Gareth Lyons for Sale F.C. 2020)

Last week began a regeneration of form as The Dogs seemed to enjoy their run out against Canterbury. An impressive team try finished off by Matt Bradley made NCA’s ‘Try of the week’ as well as racking up 40k views on England Rugby’s Twitter!

Great to see the lads appreciated for their efforts- a brilliant try!

A dominant display last weekend will certainly help with squad morale heading into a huge game against 3rd-placed Rosslyn Park. The dogs will need to be firing again this week to produce some more quality.

Tote Howcroft, Head Coach- gave his thoughts ahead of the game:

“Saturday sees another journey down the M6 to the capital, where we face a talented and very well coached Rosslyn Park team- who sit only 3 points off the top of the table.

We go there on the back of a good 5 point win against Canterbury, but if we are honest, last Saturday was a long way off a complete 80-minute-performance.

We showed some glimpses of real quality in the first half, which included Matt Bradley’s NCA try of the week, a fantastic team try. However, we will need to go up a few gears this Saturday if we are to challenge a team with title ambitions- looking to bounce back from a London Derby defeat at Blackheath last week.

We look forward to the challenge of ‘The Rock’ this week with the hope of avenging our home defeat back in October.”

6 changes have been made to the squad with this week. The forwards however, remain unchanged with Juan Pablo Rivas returning back to the squad after an injury spell. He’s joined by Dan Matthews, John Blanchard Jr and Stone Priestley-Nangle all eager to continue their form off the bench to make a difference to an important game.

The Backs feature few changes, with positions mainly changing. Patrick Ah Van comes off his favoured left wing into the Centres alongside Jack Moorhouse who starts at 13 this week. Jonty Rawcliffe remains on the right wing with Anthony ‘Bingo’ Bingham returning to the left. Emiliano Calle Rivas starts this week at fullback after impressing off the bench against Canterbury. Chris Owen returns to the bench hoping to also make an impact.

Tom Brady and Fergus Mulchrone remain sidelined with injuries whilst James Williams starts at 12 again for the Sharks this weekend against Glasgow Warriors. We wish him all the best.

1st team Captain, Andy Hughes has said:

“We are expecting a tough game when we travel down to London this weekend.

Rosslyn Park are a class outfit and are sitting 3rd in the table. They were beaten by Blackheath last week so we are expecting reaction from them as they fight for promotion. But, we have worked hard in training all this week in order to meet this challenge.

We go in with no pressure on us and if we perform well then we back ourselves to get a result.”

Stay up-to-date this weekend with Park’s Live Stream!

Old Elthamians Match Report

Old Elthamians 28-21 Sale FC

4th Jan 2020

Too little to late a familiar tale, as Sale miss out.


This encounter was always expected to be physical with both teams residing either side of the table. Old Elthamians (OE) aim to push towards a top 5 whilst Sale look to generate some momentum in the new year.

The game produced what was expected on paper; with Old Elthamians coming out fast putting Sale under pressure from the get go. Well matched and perfect conditions with a fierce game ahead.

11” Sale continuously suffer from heavy pressure with the defense gasping after minutes of try-line defense, before an OE forward finds their way to the line, under the sticks, 11 minutes in.

15” Sale begin to generate some possession of the own with a Chris Johnson break most notable, putting OE on the back foot, but, nonetheless OE return well building possession again. A resulting penalty from an isolated ruck provides OE the opportunity to clear their lines. The subsequent line-out generates a well-executed move & chip kick to which Anthony Bingham reacts quickest, leaving OE inches from scoring.

20” Sale still on the back foot from the dot down with OE making a few crafty breaks, before The Dogs reciprocate some craft of their own. As Patrick Ah Van perfectly offloads to Fergus Mulchrone steaming down the center of the park who pins his ears back to finish off an exciting phase of play.

30” Momentum has certainly shifted in FC’s favor as they continue to hold possession and territory

OE 7-7 FC

But, the tale of this game gifts OE opportunity after opportunity to generate some phases, putting the Sale defence under threat, a quick shift with 5 minutes remaining of the half.

35” Good line-out defense from The Dogs leaves Elthamians after a physical maul, held up, without points.

Yet OE continue to build pressure as a generous cross field pops up for the winger to collect- Sale on the back foot- as play is shaped to the opposite end, fast hands leaves a gap in the middle of the park which is exploited- Try Scored Elthamians.

HT 14-7

44” A rocky start as Sale find themselves depleted, after an unexpected break from the Scrum-Half, making his own luck as he accelerates away, scoring under the sticks from a scrum at halfway.

OE 21-7 FC

Sale look the lesser on the scoreboard, despite a heavily contested game. A few thrills leaves them trailing.

48” OE continue to mount pressure 5m out from the line, but, gritty FC defense leaves them empty handed on this occasion.

58” An exciting game in between phases. With more to be added as an Elthamian prop finds himself in unfamiliar territory- on the end of a well delivered long pass as he touches down in the corner.

OE 28-7 FC

62” It’s all to fight for as Sale shape to the corner- as they are rewarded with some line-out expertise. A well-shaped line-out move leaves hooker Ollie Longmore free in the corner to dot down.

Possession and territory constantly changing hands, as the game heads towards an exciting ending.

70” Sale continue their thrill with possession, mounting pressure in an intense last 10, hopeful of more opportunity. Another penalty is sent to the corner, with the forwards’ expertise still fresh. A well delivered maul and resulting pick & go’s leave OE scrambling as Jake Pope finds the white wash from a meter out.

An exciting end to the game with Sale hopeful of a comeback as emotions turn sour with a few handbags thrown in the dying moments of the game-a fitting end to an aggressive encounter.

Sale FC unfortunately suffer the familiar tale of too little too late as they miss out on a win on the road. Not the ideal way to start a new decade, but certainly exciting looking ahead to the rest of the season.



 Old Elthamians 28-21 Sale FC


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Looking Ahead…Our Next Home Game.

@ Heywood Rd.


Sale FC vs Canterbury

Sale FC Rugby
National One


Highlights soon to come!

In the mean time, check out our Youtube Page!