Sale stumble at the Meadow

Sale FC lose at College Meadow against Old Elthamians

Old Elthamians 32 Sale FC 14

Saturday 26th January 2019

A windy away day in London as the 1st XV travelled to face Old Elthamians. Having played OE’s only twice before and with a win apiece, the lads set about their business on the front foot taking the game to the southern team. Although Sale started well with success at an early scrum, it was the home side that started to put the pressure on, working through multiple phases.

A yellow card for Rhys Davies after contact at the lineout was quickly followed by a OE’s Try as Sale were reduced to 14 men. An excellent restart kick from Kieran Wilkinson forced the OEs scrum half to kick into touch on their own 22.

Soon after the home side chipped over the Sale’s defence, but Sale fullback Jonty Rawcliffe collected the ball in the air then outstripped the OEs defence to score and Kieran Wilkinson converted to take the 14 men of Sale into the lead on 18 mins.

Paolo Odogwu tracks the OE’s winger (c) Ian Carter Photography

Sale were soon back under pressure from a strong OEs team but managed to get back on the front foot after being awarded the penalty. Moments later quick thinking by Tom Ailes at the back of the ruck who picked up and hopped over the back of the breakdown to stroll in under the posts unopposed on 24mins extending Sales lead.

The lads continued to work hard throughout the 1st half and were handling all that OEs threw at them, up until quick decision making from OE’s after being awarded a penalty saw them run in a Try on 39mins with the conversion making it 12-14 to Sale at HT.

With Sale now playing into a stiffening breeze in the second half, an early kick through by OE’s Fly-half went too long as the ball went dead as both team tried to get a grip of the wind. On 49 mins OE’s were awarded a penalty when Sale were adjudged to have held on too long at the breakdown, which was converted to see OE’s take a lead of 15-14 that they then never relinquished. In 57mins the hosts extended their advantage as they broke through the middle to score under the posts with the conversion making it 22-14.

Adam Aigbokhae makes a terrific tackle (C) Ian Carter Photography

The hosts continued to keep it simple and used the boot of their Fly-half along with the now stronger wind at their backs to keep Sale penned in.  Good breaks by both Kieran Wilkinson and Anthony Bingham got Sale back up the field, but a penalty was awarded for obstruction against them and their hard work was undone.

With the penalty count beginning to stack up against Sale the lads found themselves having to defend deep inside their own half.  On 75mins, the referee adjudged Sale to have collapsed the scrum and awarded another penalty in front of the posts that was duly converted by the home team, to make it 25-14. OEs then hammered the Sale line and eventually drove over for the bonus point Try on 77 mins to make it 32-14.

 In the dying minutes Sale pushed for a try and through multiple attacking phases for the dogs they refused to give up, but unfortunately, could not get a consolation score. In a game that the lads gave so much and with a score line that flattered the home side, it was in fairness better game management by OEs that saw them win the game and Sale walk away for nothing to show for their efforts.

Tom Ailes ploughs through the OE’s Scrum Half (C) Ian Carter Photography