Sale FC brought in form Plymouth Albion down to earth with a hard-fought, one point victory.

By Bob Smith

On a very heavy pitch in blustery conditions, winger Jack Moorhouse scored 2 tries and Chris Johnson kicked an invaluable 6 points as Sale gave every ounce of effort to secure the victory against in form Plymouth, who came into the match on the back of 4 straight wins and a points tally of 152 in January.

The Sale pack quickly asserted themselves with solid scrummaging and an impressive drive to create an overlap for winger Jonty Rawcliffe to touchdown in the 3rd minute, only for a forward pass to nullify the effort. Having weathered the early pressure, Albion responded positively, making ground into the Sale 22, eventually forcing a penalty in front of the posts which Connor Eastgate slotted home.

Sale were quickly on the front foot once more and despite the conditions , continued to run the ball, rewards coming with tries from Moorhouse and Johnny Leota in the 19thand 26th minutes respectively.

Not to be outdone, Albion came back with a try from No 8 John Kelly, rounding off an impressive forward effort from the visitors. Both teams found it hard to put any prolonged passages of creative rugby as unforced errors crept into the game as it edged towards half time.

The pattern was broken when, following a scrum on half way, Albion cut loose, Josh Skelcey sprinting clear to score in the final minute of the first half giving Albion a slender one-point advantage.

The lead changed hands within minutes of the restart, Rawcliffe sprinting clear from halfway, finding Moorhouse on his shoulder 2 metres from the line and diving over to score. Chris Johnsons’ excellent conversion extending the Sale lead.

Back came Albion with a lineout on the Sale 5 metre line, which, disrupted by Sale 2nd row Rhys Davies, led to a loose ball, Albion hooker James Salter first to react and touchdown.

Albion went further ahead, recovering the ball from a charge down by Sale skipper Andy Hughes in their own half, catching Sales’ defence out of position, running clear to play full back Skelcey in for their 4th try, on this occasion the extra points were added by Eastgate.

Sales’ response was decisive, with their forwards dominant as they worked their way forward, Number 8 Jarad Williams crashing over to score, restoring a slender lead. Both teams drew on their last reserves of energy with Sale holding on to their slender 1 point lead to take a well-deserved bonus point victory.


Sale FC 26 vs 25 Plymouth Albion


Photography, courtesy of Andrew Lush

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