Luctonians vs Sale FC


On Saturday, Sale made the long cross-country journey to Herefordshire to take on Luctonians in their final game of the season. The blue and whites had already confirmed promotion two weeks ago but, for Luctonians, their goal was clear – they needed a bonus point win to avoid relegation and in hopeful anticipation, Mortimer Park was packed to the rafters.

The match started with both teams using their kicking games to good effect but it was Sale who made the first breakthrough. Following a mazy run from Chris Owen, the ref awarded a penalty to the visitors and, from the resulting scrum, the forwards pushed powerfully towards the try line with Tom Ailes diving over.

On 20 minutes, Sale, in their fluorescent away strip, extended the lead with a brilliant try. Superb runs from Matt Simpson, Joe Kelly and Tom Ailes took the title winners deep into the hosts’ half before Chris Johnson sprinted in and then added the conversion.

Sale were now beginning to dominate territory and looked dangerous every time they had the ball in hand. After Andy Hughes was held up over the line, the third try duly arrived as Tom Ailes again floated over from the base of the five-yard scrum.

The task was beginning to look impossible for the home side but they gave themselves a lifeline before half time as, following a good maul from the forwards, the ball was worked through the hands for Adam Clayton to score under the posts with Sam Boxhall adding the conversion.

HT Luctonians 7 Sale 19

Sale started the final 40 minutes positively and this was epitomised by a barnstorming run from hooker, Chris Taylor, but their superiority from the first half was not to last.

Buoyed on by the vocal home support, Luctonians began to crank up the pressure and eventually crashed over for their second try with Boxhall again adding the extras.

Sale made several changes in an attempt to stem the flow and this included sending on centre, Jack Moorhouse, to play flanker in place of the injured Gareth Rawlings.

Following wave after wave of attacks from the home side, Sale relieved the pressure in the 70th minute as Adam Aigbokhae marauded his way towards the opposition try line. When the black and whites were penalised for offside, Chris Johnson extended the lead back to 8 points with a penalty.

Still the Herefordshire men kept coming and they were rewarded with a third try in the 75th minute when Ben Barkley crashed over with the subsequent conversion narrowing the gap to a single point.

Sale seemed to have done enough when they secured the ball from the kick off and went through a few phases before replacement fly half, Matt Sturgess, kicked the ball into touch believing time was up.

However, to his dismay, the referee indicated that there was still time for the lineout to be taken and when he awarded a penalty to the hosts shortly afterwards, the fly half arrowed the ball into touch close to the try line to set up a frantic finale.

From the first throw, Joe Kelly was penalised for an infringement and shown a yellow card and when Luctonians secured the ball from the second lineout and pushed towards the line, it seemed inevitable that they would secure the crucial bonus point try and the win.

However, after several attempts to breach Sale’s defensive line and with the time in the red zone, the ball was lost in contact to the Champions obvious relief.

FT Luctonians 21 Sale 22

It was impossible not to feel sympathy for the Luctonians players at the final whistle. They had given absolutely everything to a man and had come within inches of avoiding the drop.

As for Sale, having already won the league, it would have been easy for the boys to take their foot off the pedal, but Jon, Tote and the players deserve enormous credit for the fact that they did not.

Instead, and as with every game this season, they put their hearts and souls into the full 80 minutes, defending as if their lives depended on it one last time.

This has been a very special season for a very special team and all at the club are immensely proud of their achievements. The coaches and players will now get some well-earned rest before they embark on what is bound to be a challenging, but incredibly exciting campaign in National League One.

#honthedogs #onesalefc



21 - 22
Full Time

Luctonians v Sale FC 1st XV

The match at Luctonians was a potential banana skin for Sale at this stage of the season.  If we are to move toward the playoff spot, then we need to get some five point games beneath our belts.  For long periods of this game, it was a distinct possibility that we’d be quite lucky to get one.  This was an error strewn game with too many penalties given away especially at the breakdown.  At one point I thought the referee was going to end up with a RSI from rolling his arm continually in the same direction.

We went down to a soft try in the first 20 minutes and then compounded with another one not long after, at the half hour mark we finally got on the board with a well taken penalty from Liam McGovern, who was playing in his 100th game for Sale FC.  We managed to get on the board again before half time with an excellent try taken by Sam.

The second half started to look like Sale might do their usual and run away with the game, but a spirited Luctonians side buoyed by some very vocal support from the locals meant that their heads never dropped.  It wasn’t until the hour mark that an Andrew Hughes try after huge pressure from Sale put us into the lead.

Luctonians came back with a penalty to bring the score to 18-20 and an upset seemed to be a possibility.  A massive defensive effort on the line from Sale for an extended 10 minute period seemed to steady the ship and in the final play of the game Sam went over in the corner for a try bringing us the four try bonus point.

This game epitomises why Sale are second in the table, we didn’t play well, but still managed a 5 point haul. This stage last season we’d have lost this game and it is a huge testimony to the coaches and players that there is a different attitude in the team and the club as a whole and the results reflect this.

All in all a tense and difficult game against a spirited side who deserved their losing bonus point.


18 - 25
Full Time