Sale FC 2nd XV 12 Hoppers 2nd XV 19
Hoppers maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a hard fought but ultimately deserved victory against a dogged Sale side.
Young’s men came from behind at the Carrington Training Centre, a venue where they tend to huff and puff.
The opening exchanges were frenetic, frantic and pretty messy but Hoppers established control. After some sustained possession Ben Geatches broke the deadlock to score under the posts for a converted try.
The hosts were reduced to fourteen when their scrum-half was sent to the sin bin for a swinging arm. Hoppers though failed to capitalise and their accuracy let them down, the Sale outside centre intercepted a loose pass and raced home from fully fifty metres. Preston had been in control but the scores were now tied and the match appeared to be mirroring their encounter from January.
Sale grew in confidence and Hoppers struggled to maintain their early momentum. Todd was then sent to the bin for the away side and the men from Heywood Road took full advantage. The hosts drove a line out over from short range for an unconverted try.
Hoppers had a chance to reduce the arrears before half time but Farley missed with two penalties and the teams turned round with the hosts leading 12-7.
Young’s men started the second stanza the stronger and with Napier coming on after his nine month lay off it looked as though Hoppers had got their act together. Credit should go to a determined Sale side who repelled a number of attacks. Robinson was prominent for the visitors whilst Proctor began to find gaps at the edge of tiring tackles.
Sale began to concede penalties close to their line and were again reduced to fourteen for a rather cynical transgression. With the Hoppers pack dominant they began to put huge pressure on the Sale scrum. Todd fed Murray who strolled under the posts for a converted try and Hoppers now led 14-12.
This time Hoppers maintained the momentum and Sale were on the rack. Another penalty deep in Sale territory saw Todd feed Murray who kicked cross field to the alert Robinson. The young winger stayed strong to beat his man and score in the right hand corner.
Farley’s conversion was short but Hoppers closed the game out to secure their third win of the fledgling season. Young’s men weren’t quite as fluent this week but given the youthful make up of the team they responded well to the pressure.
This week sees the return of Friday Night Lights as Young’s men face champions Sedgley Tigers in what is already a top of the table clash. Entry at Lightfoot Green is free in what promises to be an entertaining encounter between two excellent sides. Please pop down to support the lads who appreciate the support.