BONUS POINT WIN KEEPS MATTERS TIGHT AT THE TOP
Sale headed into this top of the table clash knowing that only a bonus point win would keep them in the hunt for promotion.
With big home support and a sizeable away following creating a tremendous atmosphere, the opening exchanges saw both sides showing their defensive strengths.
Rams took the lead in the 19th minute when, following a fine run from Tom Walsh, an attempted pass was intercepted by flanker, James McRae, who raced in from 50m; Alex Sears added the extras. 0-7
Five minutes later, the visitors lost number 8, Robbie Stapley, to a yellow card for a high tackle on Tom Curtis and the dogs took full advantage of the extra man when Tom Walsh slid over in the corner; Tom Curtis adding a superb conversion. 7-7
Sale took the lead in the 32nd minute when the ball was moved across the field at pace, Tom Brady eventually releasing the galloping Ben Bamber to score; Tom Curtis again on target. HT 14-7
The Berkshire men started the second half in the ascendency but the dogs’ defence did brilliantly to repel a couple of catch and drives near the try line.
The lead was extended on 58 minutes in familiar fashion, Josh Brown scoring his 20th try of the season from the back of a rolling maul. 21-7
Rams came again and were unfortunate to see the ball bounce over the head of winger, Jak Rossiter, when he was in acres of space. Sale weathered the period of pressure and then scored the bonus point try when Nev Edwards picked up a loose ball to sprint in from 70m. 28-7
The visitors grabbed a second try in the 73rd minute, centre, Ellis Jones, escaping the clutches of the defenders to stretch over the line. 28-12
Three minutes later, the dogs put the result beyond doubt when James Robins leapt high to pick off a pass and stroll in to the obvious delight of the vociferous home crowd. Tom Curtis making it five conversions from five. FT 35-12
A fine game of rugby between two exceptional teams who gave absolutely everything, but a superb 80 minute performance from Sale to set up a mouthwatering finale to the season