Missed chances in first half prove costly for Field.
Huddersfield competed well and had their fair share of possession and territory against Sale. However they spurned some good scoring opportunities whilst the National 2 Leagues leaders finished clinically and established a twenty point half time lead. They eventually ran out winners 28 points to 7.
The first of Field’s missed chances came five minutes in. Sale conceded a penalty at a scrum in their own half giving the home side an opportunity to set up an attacking line out but the touch kick was missed.
Five minutes later another one went begging. Full back Lewis Workman made a good break out of defence after Sale fly half Chris Johnson had grubbed through to try to establish an attack. Quick ball at the break down saw Alex Battye held up just short with the ball then shipped down the three quarter line but centre Mark Pease knocked on with the white wash beckoning.
Either side of these promising moments Johnson created a six point lead for Sale with a couple of well taken penalties.
A quarter of the way through Huddersfield were playing well and pressing again but when they were turned over in the Sale half they countered. Number 8 Tom Ailes made the decisive break and put winger Sam Stelmaszek in for a try under the posts which Johnson converted.
More good rugby from Field came in the second quarter. Pease, hooker Ben Morrill and scrum half Joel Hinchliffe all made lively breaks taking play into their visitors 22 but penalty concessions, a lost line out and a couple of turnovers robbed them of their attacking advantage.
On the stroke of half time Huddersfield were awarded a penalty on the Sale 10 metre line providing one final chance to reduce the deficit. However Workman mis-cued his kick, sending it straight over the dead ball line. From the resulting scrum back Sale kicked the ball over the Huddersfield defence forcing Workman to do some tidying up at the back. Although he secured well, when he ran the ball out he found himself isolated and was robbed of it. Sale scrum Matthew Bradley picked up and set up flanker Adam Aigbokhae for converted try two.
Sale extended their lead with another Johnson penalty just after half time and it took some good defensive work by back row men Ben Hoyle and Richard Piper to prevent them going further in front.
Huddersfield got on the scoresheet on the hour. They had been pressurising Sale on the 5 metre line at scrummages which resulted in Sale being penalised and Ailgbokae sin binned. Lewis Bradley showed power and a nimble side step behind the final re-set to put Adam Malthouse in for a try which Hinchliffe converted.
Sale got their third and final try five minutes later. A free kick mid-field saw the ball tapped and passed left with replacement John Blanchard driven over by his team mates in the corner.
Huddersfield finished the match with thirteen men. With only moments remaining Hoyle was given a straight red card for offering referee Tim Allatt some unwelcome advice and Nick Sharpe received yellow for some illegal defensive tactics on his own line shortly afterwards.
Sale missed out on the bonus point try at the resulting penalty scrummage. Although driving the depleted Field pack backwards they picked up early at the base of it and lost possession in the hit in their dive for the line.
Richard Sykes, Rugby Union Correspondent, Huddersfield Daily Examiner.
Men of the match…
For Huddersfield, Mark Pease…Mark had a great game making incisive breaks throughout and putting in some great tackles in the centre. Those trade mark green boots kept popping up everywhere!
For Sale, Adam Aigbokhae…Although Adam was only on the park for 70 minutes he put in a big shift. He combined well with his back row partners, made some powerful breaks and got his team’s second try.