BONUS POINT WIN SECURED
The North East was the destination for the dogs’ penultimate away game of the season as they faced Darlington Mowden Park in the cavernous Northern Echo Arena.
Backed by a sizeable away following, Sale started the game well albeit the persistent rain made ball handling challenging. The hosts took the lead in the 20th minute when fly half, Ali Ledingham, slotted a penalty. 3-0
DMP moved further in front five minutes later when centre, Ben Frankland, ghosted through a gap to score under the posts with Ledingham adding the conversion. 10-0
It took until the last minute of the half for the dogs to respond with Josh Brown, on his 50th appearance, barging over after a strong maul; Tom Curtis making a difficult conversion look easy. HT 10-7
The rain that had abated slightly at the end of the first half was back with a vengeance at the start of the second and it wasn’t long before DMP’s second row, Max Davies, was yellow carded after much pushing and shoving.
Sale took advantage of the extra man in the 47th minute when Nev Edwards collected Tom Curtis’ perfect cross kick, pirouetting beautifully and touching down before his feet went into touch; Tom Curtis again on target with the kick. 10-14
Having just returned to fifteen players, the home side lost Garry Law to a yellow card and the dogs took advantage in familiar fashion, Josh Brown scoring from a catch and drive. 10-21
Good defence saw Sale survive a period of DMP pressure and the bonus point was secured when skipper, Andy Hughes, burst through a gap to slide in (the try awarded to the disgust of the home fans who believed he had lost the ball forward short of the line). 10-28
A third yellow card for the hosts in the 78th minute gave the dogs a chance to add some gloss to the performance and Jake Barron did just that, putting the ball down over the whitewash under serious pressure from several defenders; Tom Curtis made it five kicks from five. FT 10-35
A game of two halves in testing conditions but, ultimately, a bonus point win for the dogs which sets up next week’s top of the table clash perfectly.