Sale FC are Cheshire Cup Champions

After a thrilling final at Winnington Park, Sale manage to overcome Chester.

The Sale pack rumble towards Chester’s line (c) Matt Eagles Photography

Sale made the relatively short trip to Winnington Park on a sunny Thursday evening to face National 2 North promotion chasers, Chester, in the final of the 2019 Cheshire Cup.

The blue and whites, playing up the slight slope in the first half, started the game well and deservedly took the lead in the 8th minute when Emiliano Calle Rivas slotted a straightforward penalty from 18 metres. 3-0

However, the lead was not to last long as an attempted clearance was charged down and, several phases later, the Chester scrum-half, Tom Holloway, breached the Sale defence for the first try of the game. 3-7

The men in red were now building a head of steam when full-back, Sean Green, broke clear from halfway, Sale scrum-half, Matt Bradley, was shown a yellow card as he attempted to slow the play down.

There followed a sustained period of pressure on the blue and whites try line with Chester hooker, Alick Croft, eventually crossing the whitewash to increase their lead. 3-12

Ed O’Keeffe scoring for Sale FC (c) Matt Eagles Photography

Sale were in need of some inspiration and it duly arrived in the formidable form of hooker, Neil Briggs, who, two minutes after replacing Oli Longmore, emerged from a rolling maul to reduce the arrears. 8-12

Five minutes later came the moment of the game as Sale’s outside-centre, Ed O’Keeffe, received a ball out wide, weaved this way and that and then put a clever kick behind the winger before winning the foot race to touch down.

Half-time 15-12

The second half started in the same way as the first with Sale dominating territory and possession and they soon increased their lead as Rhys Davies broke through the defensive line before offloading for Tom Ailes to stride in; Full-back, Robbie Povey, adding the extras. 22-12

Adam Aigbokhae on the move after breaking through the Chester defence (c) Matt Eagles Photography

The blue and whites were proving irresistible at this point and, following a kick to the corner from Povey, the lineout was gathered in to set up another rolling maul from which captain, David Seymour, stretched and reached to the line. 27-12

If Sale thought the game was won at this point, they were to get a rude awakening as Chester began to prove why they were flying high in National 2 North, winger, Harrison Vare, scoring a fine try after quick hands in midfield. 27-17

With just over ten minutes of the match remaining, the reds scored their fourth try of the game through their number 8, Shay Owen, to set up a grandstand finish. 27-24

However, the blue and whites were not to be denied and following an amazing break from Ryan Parkinson (playing at inside centre rather than his usual position in the back row), Tom Ailes scored his second try to put the game out of reach.

Full-time 34-24

To watch the highlights of the game follow the link here