Sale FC 1861 win top of the table clash

Crucial bonus point win sees Sale FC 1861 close the gap

Sale FC 1861 faced table-toppers and unbeaten Sheffield at Carrington looking to avenge their only defeat of the season back in November 2022.

Backed by a healthy and vociferous crowd, the girls got off to the perfect start in the 5th minute when, following a maul that was stopped just short of the tryline, the ball was recycled for Kim Seddon to blast through a gap and score under the posts; Aimee Wallace added the conversion. 7-0

1861 continued to press and were rewarded with a second try in the 19th minute, going through several phases before moving the ball wide for Sarah Cornforth to release Amber Hallmark to power in. 12-0

The visitors bounced back into the game a few minutes later as Cara Williams crossed the whitewash and Lucy Kilheeney converted. 12-7

The rest of the half was interrupted by injuries and the frequent blast of the referee’s whistle as both sides struggled to gain momentum. HT 12-7

The start of the second half saw superb breaks from both Georgia Sutherland and Kirsty Reid but it took until the 58th minute for us to extend our lead, the ref awarding a penalty try after we were stopped illegally with the whitewash in sight. 19-7

A yellow card for Georgia Sutherland allowed the away side back into the game and they took full advantage of the extra player as their centre scored a fine try from 40m out. 19-14

With the game firmly in the balance, the 14 players dug in, forcing several knock ones before Sheffield were themselves reduced to 14 in the 72nd minute after our maul to the line was disrupted unfairly.

This proved critical as we kicked to the corner, won the lineout and mauled to the line with Hannah Kurtz diving over to the delight of the home crowd; Aimee Wallace again on target with the extras. 26-14

1861 saw out the final few minutes without major alarm and celebrated wildly as Aimee Wallace gleefully kicked the ball into touch. FT 26-14

As expected, an intense battle against a very good Sheffield side but, ultimately, a fantastic performance from the girls to earn a vital win and close the gap at the top of the table to ten points with three games in hand.