This Saturday we are back in action at Heywood Road. The CorpAcq Stadium sees the return of the team after the summer break to face Doncaster Knights at 2:00 pm. This is a return fixture from last year.
Sale FC’s season finale ends on a losing note as Cambridge produce the great escape at the CorpAcq Stadium.
With Sale FC’s season finale being one where the home side had already secured their future in National League One in only their first season in the league, today’s game was always going to be more about the visitors Cambridge, and whether or not they could escape the relegation battle that they had become a part of during the second half of the season.
Knowing that the bottom two had already gone, these being Esher Rugby and Loughborough Students respectively, it was going to go down to the wire with three sides, namely Caldy, Birmingham Moseley and Cambridge, who occupied the final relegation place all going into battle knowing a five point win would allow them to survive.
The game was barely three minutes old when Cambridge Centre James Ayrton, was able to latch on to a pass from brother Michael, who had run around the oncoming Sale defence before putting his brother in to the right of the posts, therefore giving the visitors the lead and Fly Half Ben Penfold the opportunity to add the extras in the opening exchanges of the match.
Now that the visitors had taken a seven point lead in the match, Sale were looking to try and get back in the match with a number of attacking possessions that didn’t really come off, due to either sloppy passing or the ball being knocked on in terribly wet conditions.
With the weather playing a large part in the afternoon’s proceedings, Sale struggles continued especially when they had been awarded an advantage, leading to a lineout close to the Cambridge 10m line. Unfortunately, Briggs couldn’t find his man and the advantage was seemingly lost.
On 13 minutes, the visitors managed to score again as Sale coughed up possession once more, leading to Cambridge’s Penfold putting in a cross field kick that Robbie Povey missed, allowing winger Mike Ayrton to go over in the corner unattended. With Penfold missing the extras here, Cambridge now had a lead that they wouldn’t lose even though Sale never ever gave up.
Even though the next 20 minutes saw possession change hands at regular intervals, it was Sale who went into half time very much on the up, as they created a plethora of scoring chances, which they weren’t able to convert, mainly due to some resolute defending from the visitors, but also the fact that they were able to infringe at regular intervals at the breakdown.
With five minutes to go, the infringements by Cambridge were punished as the referee gave Cambridge Flanker Ciaran Moore a yellow card for repeat offences. From this advantage Sale went to the corner giving them their third 5m line out in a row, from here Sale built a great platform leading to Prop Simon Griffiths the chance to rumble over in his final appearance for Sale FC.
Going in to the break, Sale had reduced the arrears to seven points and got the wind in their sails. At the start of the second half, Sale tried hard to make the man advantage count some more, but unforced errors lead to them coughing up possession in valuable areas, providing the visitors with further chances to extend their lead.
Something that they did in the 47th minute, when the returning Moore latched on to a rolling maul set up from their own lineout throw, meaning that the visitors lead was up to 12 points, and the chance to survive the National League One relegation battle becoming more apparent.
At this time however regardless of the latest score, the visitors were going to be relegated as the closest side to them Caldy were beating the other potential relegation candidates Birmingham Moseley by ten points to seven with only 15 minutes to go in the game.
For the next 30 minutes, this game seemed to go into an almost stalemate, with neither side being able to get any real grip on a game, that was fast becoming increasingly error strewn as the weather seemed to affect both sides, even though there were opportunities available as they regularly attacked each other’s halves of the field.
However, there was one final twist yet to come, as on 76 minutes replacement Winger Sam Yawayawa was provided with an opportunity to score in the corner, giving the visitors the five points that they so desperately needed to stay in National League One, therefore relegating our Cheshire neighbours Caldy down in to National Two South from next season.
Even though the afternoon’s result didn’t go the way of Sale FC, they can be safe in the knowledge that they will be playing National League One rugby next season, especially after the pre-season predictions from the national journalists said that “Sale FC would be certain relegation candidates in their first season of National One rugby”.
To watch the highlights of Saturday’s game please follow the link here
Saturday afternoon sees Sale FC Rugby play our last National League One game of the season against Cambridge Rugby.
The day is a celebration of rugby, with the Minis and Juniors having their awards presentation in the morning, followed by the first team game, before the Men’s, Women’s and Under 16’s sides have their awards presentation in the evening.
With Sale FC now mathematically safe from the relegation battle, it is sure to be a fantastic day of rugby for all involved. However, our visitors sit just inside the relegation zone and will therefore be looking to escape from the grasps of relegation and National League Two South for next season.
We look forward to seeing you at the CorpAcq Stadium, where there will be a barbecue on for all fans, with a parade at half time for all the minis and juniors to participate in.
Admission to the game is as follows: Adults £10, Concessions £8 and Children U16’s FREE.
England U20’s select Connor Doherty to face the Junior Springboks in Coventry.
Tomorrow Evening (Friday 26th April) England U20’s are playing the Junior Springboks at the Butts Arena, home of Coventry Rugby, Kick Off is 7.30pm and is being streamed live on EnglandRugby.com.
The game against the Junior Springboks will serve as a vital test for the U20’s squad before the U20’s World Championships commence in June this year in Argentina.
Amongst the squad selected by Head Coach Steve Bates, is Sale Sharks Academy and Sale FC player Connor Doherty, who played a part earlier this season in the U20’s Six Nations campaign. Connor is also joined by Sharks Academy team mate Gus Warr.
This game is the second successive fixture against the Junior Springboks as the last one in 2018 took place at Worcester Warrior’s Sixways Stadium, once again as vital preparation for the U20’s World Championships.
When discussing the game’s importance, Head Coach Steve Bates said
“Last year’s match against South Africa was an important match in that it highlighted areas we needed to tighten before we played our first fixture at the Championship in France, while it also gave us an opportunity to play against one of the main contenders for the tournament. We learned a lot about their physicality and how they played and it proved to be a real eye opener for the squad as to what to expect from one of the southern hemisphere nations.”
The squad selected for the game is as follows:
15. Josh Hodge (Newcastle Falcons), 14. Charlie Powell (Bristol Bears), 13. Sam Spink (Wasps), 12. Connor Doherty (Sale Sharks), 11. Jake Morris (Gloucester Rugby), 10. Manu Vunipola (Saracens), 9. Gus Warr (Sale Sharks), 1. Olly Adkins (Gloucester Rugby), 2. Alfie Barbeary (Wasps) – Bloxham School, 3. Marcus Street (Exeter Chiefs), 4. Joel Kpoku (Saracens), 5. James Scott (Worcester Warriors), 6. Tom Willis (Wasps) – Captain, 7. Andy Christie (Saracens), 8. Rusiate Tuima (Exeter Chiefs)
Replacements 16. Kai Owen (Worcester Warriors), 17. Ben Atkins (London Irish), 18. Alfie Petch (Exeter Chiefs), 19. Jon Kpoku (Saracens), 20. Izaiha Moore-Aiono (London Irish), 21. Ollie Fox (Yorkshire Carnegie), 22. Will Haydon-Wood (Newcastle Falcons), 23. Jack Reeves (Gloucester Rugby)
After a thrilling final at Winnington Park, Sale manage to overcome Chester.
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
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.
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
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.
To watch the highlights of the game follow the link here