Field fail to frustrate Sale who edge closer to the title after an entertaining game.

League leaders Sale secured a flattering 45 points to 10 win over sixth placed Huddersfield at Heywood Road to take them within four points of the National 2 North title with two matches remaining.

The home side made a determined start and were on the scoresheet after only five minutes. Having pressured their visitor’s defence from the off former Huddersfield fly half Chris Johnson cut through under the posts for the first of his team’s tries which he had no trouble converting.

Huddersfield responded well to the early set back. A penalty took them deep into the Sale half and having worked the ball through several phases Sale were penalised again on their 22 and scrum half Joel Hinchliffe took the points.

Both teams produced lively and entertaining rugby as they battled to establish the advantage. A Huddersfield threat was snuffed out when they were penalised at the breakdown and Sale worked the ball full width left from the resulting lineout with some good defence holding them up just short.

Sale Number 8 Tom Ailes got the second try on twenty minutes, going over after a scrum close to the Huddersfield line and Chris Mayor got a third ten minutes later. The centre made space and took full advantage of a defensive lapse after a good lineout and drive. Johnson successfully converted both of them.

The scrums had been fairly evenly contested in the early part of the match but on the stroke of half time Huddersfield were made to struggle in a series of three close to their line. Having penalised them in the first two referee Ben Davis awarded a penalty try after Field failed to halt the push in the third to give Sale a 25 point lead at the interval.

A Johnson penalty extended the advantage for Sale five minutes after the re-start which provoked a gutsy response and a converted try for Huddersfield two minutes later. Fly half Harry Davey, making a welcome return after injury and a spell of duty with Yorkshire Carnegie, was the man who scored it. From a quick tap free kick Davey glided magically past the Sale defenders for a classy individual touch down which Hinchliffe converted.

The score put some wind into the Huddersfield sails and once again they proved a match for the table toppers in open play. However any chance of an unlikely come back was conceded on the hour. When Huddersfield lost possession at a break down the ball was fly hacked towards their line and it popped up nicely for lock Jake Barren to run on to and score. Johnson again added the extras.

Winger Jack Moorhouse notched the sixth and final try of the match for Sale, cantering in on 73 minutes when Huddersfield were turned over whilst trying to counter attack. Johnson made no mistake with the conversion to maintain his 100% record in the match.

With time running out Sale full back Jonty Rawcliffe made a try threatening line break and it took a fine tackle by Elliot Knight to stop him. The Huddersfield winger showed real pace in the chase back to bring his man down. 

Sale now lead second placed Sedgley Park by a single point with a game in hand. Trips to Leicester Lions and Luctonians provide the opportunities for them to gain the four points needed to clinch the title.

Richard Sykes, Rugby Union Correspondent, Huddersfield Daily Examiner.


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