Sale FC Rugby win their rearranged game against their Northern rivals.
As games go this one most definitely lived up to its long awaited billing, thanks in part to the delay caused by the snow we had at the beginning of the month.
A touch of class from Emi Calle Rivas secured a bonus point victory for Sale FC against Darlington Mowden Park in this National League 1 clash at the CorpAcq Stadium. On four minutes Sale FC got points on the board from a Calle Rivas drop goal.
Sale FC 3…Darlington Mowden Park 0
Darlington responded well, with their pack applying pressure to disrupt Sale at the scrum, forcing Sale to kick to touch and concede lineout possession.
An exchange of kicks between Darlington fly half Sears and Sale full back Robbie Povey ended with a knock by Darlington 2nd row Joe Craggs .
A lineout on 9 minutes gave Darlington an opportunity to bring their backs into play, quickly moving the ball wide for Captain Matt Heaton to score in the corner .The try was not converted.
Sale FC 3 DMP 5 Within minutes, the process was repeated, on this occasion in the opposite corner , winger McCartney getting in on the act . Fly half Warren Seals was again unsuccessful with his kick . . Darlington’s lead now 7 points
Sale FC 3 DMP 10
From the restart Sale were awarded a penalty and from the resulting lineout, another penalty which scrum half Matt Bradley took quickly drawing a third in front of the posts which Calle Rivas slotted home. Another consequence of the penalty was a yellow card for Darlington Fly Half Seals.
Sale FC 6 DMP 10
Sale kept up the momentum and were quickly on the front foot with a long kick by Full Back Povey deep into the Darlington half. Despite trying to run the ball clear, Darlington were well martialled by Sale, forcing a penalty close to half way, an extra 10 metres was conceded when a Darlington player petulantly threw the ball away. Calle Rivas found touch close to the try line and from a well-executed lineout Ryan Parkinson drove over to score. Calle Rivas narrowly missed adding the extra points.
Sale FC 11 DMP 10
Darlington’s lead was restored on 22 minutes when Sale conceded a penalty for not rolling away Centre Garry Law the successful kicker in the temporary absence of Warren Seals.
Sale FC 11 DMP 13
On 30 minutes, following a period solid defence by Sale great work by Captain Andy Hughes forced a turnover resulting in a penalty to Sale for hands in the ruck.
The kick was clinically despatched into the Darlington 22 by Calle Rivas, from the resulting lineout a controlled drive by the Sale pack concluded with a try for second row forward Matt Postlethwaite in the 32nd minute which Calle Rivas converted .
Sale FC 18 DMP 13
As the first half drew to a close Sale continued to take the game to the visitors , Paulo Odogwu getting involved in midfield followed by a break by Kieran Dunne which was prematurely ended by a no arms tackle giving Sale a penalty on 37 minutes.
Sale FC Rugby 18 Darlington Mowden Park 13
An early penalty from a high tackle on Odogwu came to nothing following a Sale knock on at the lineout.
Sale continued to keep Darlington pinned deep in their own half with a succession of long kicks culminating with excellent work from flanker Dave Seymour on 54 minutes, grappling the ball away from the opposition and releasing Paulo Odogwu to sprint the 45 metres to the Darlington posts. The try was converted by Calle Rivas extending the Sale lead .
Sale FC 25… D MP 13
Resolute in defence, Sale gave the visitors few chances to mount sustained attacking plays , Darlington failing to capitalise from a penalty award on 65 minutes, not finding touch and giving substitute Jonty Rawcliffe the opportunity to clear downfield.
The highlight of the match came on 70 minutes, a solid lineout and rolling maul, laid a platform enabling an accurate pass to find Calle Rivas in space. The fly half feigned a drop goal attempt but instead placed a deft chip behind the Darlington defence perfectly placed for centre Johnny Leota to run on to , beat the full back Chris McTurk to score under the posts.
Another conversion by Calle Rivas extending Sale’s lead.
Sale FC 32 DMP 13
In the closing minutes Darlington, to their credit, regrouped and took the game back to Sale forcing a penalty and Yellow Card against Dan Birchall ( not rolling away) eventually leading to a try on 78 minutes by Matt Dudman with Law adding the extras.
Sale FC 32 DMP 20
In the final minute, a try from substitute Simon Uzokwe, converted by Law was the last meaningful play of the day.
Final Score Sale FC 32 – Darlington Mowden Park 27