May 3 2011
A grand night out - Heywood Rd is a favourite venue of mine and not just because it is my closest place to watch the Tigers. A real rugby club feel to the place. Development team games are a pleasure to in that you can stroll around the ground at your leisure to find the vantage point of your choice.
The Board was out for fun and meeting up with some old faces, Peter Wheeler, Rory Underwood, Lord Digby Jones, Terry Gately, Cockers, Matt, Burkey, Steve Smith, Steve Hanley (prompting who the F was that from Matt), and Steve Diamond.
Sale kicked off to us and we fumbled the restart, not for the last time in the game. We were then awarded a penalty and from the ensuing lineout we got a ferocious drive on for the ball to pop out and find Bucknall waiting to drive over. Billy stepped up and slotted over the afters. It was then Sale’s turn, I was less than impressed at Will Hurrell’s tap on the chest of Boko in lieu of a tackle, indeed throughout the game he seemed a very different player with and without the ball. Sale duly scored their first try through Boko and Bell failed to convert, another recurring theme.
It was a beautiful evening although quite chilly out of the sun, the only element to caused any bother was a gusting wind in Tigers’ favour in the first half that held up clearance kicks to the point the barely travelled 5m forward.
The next try was from Sale possession on our 22, some how Harrison came away with the ball and then passed outside to Forsythe who simply sped along the touchline outpacing everyone to touch down, again Billy added the extras.
Sale then broke away with some fast footwork of their own to score through Leck, again the conversion was missed.
Billy added a penalty to stretch the lead to 10-17, his kicking style drawing purrs of appreciation from the knowledgeable Sale fans next to me.
Danny announced his presence with a tackle on the onrushing Sale forward knocking both he (1m) and the ball (10m) backwards, he was also spinning out of contact beautifully. Harrison looked busy and sharp although he went off the boil later on with some dreadful dithering. Ford ran the game well and again impressed me with his defensive duties, I am sure we have got the best of the brothers. Billy looked good apart from one dreadful miss pass (or should that be brilliant seeing as it missed everyone?), Lucas looked sharp and fast, more of him later.
I was interested to see Lee Imiolek (ex Sandbach RUFC) again doing well against Julian although he got stuffed a couple of times for good measure. The other side of the scrum was more balanced.
Billy then went over for a well created try which he converted, surely game over? Sale though refused to lie down as they were to do all night to make it a compelling game. A converted penalty making it 13 – 24 at half time.
The second half underway and again Sale showed real spirit laying siege to the Tigers’ try line and taking repeated penalties to touch for the catch and drive only to fail at the last due to an overthrown lineout.
Calum Green then showed his cat walk potential and received a yellow card for crimes against fashion by wearing his shirt in an off the shoulder (back as well) mode. For me it was infuriating, he did what the Magners teams and Welsh regions in particular have been getting away with for ages. Enter the breakdown, bind on in a casual manner and then walk around to the wrong side to cause a nuisance of yourself. I think the Yellow card was for repeated infringements from the Tigers.
Sale gathered psychological strength from this and showed good patience to set the drive well before putting on the power to go over for a well worked try by Boko again and this time Bell hit the conversion.
Another Billy penalty helped only for us to concede another well worked try to Sale who worked the ball top the right corner before scoring over on the left through Addison, unconverted.
Julian was replaced by Ryan Bower and at the first scrum Imiolek showed his experience by popping Bower up for a penalty. Sale elected for another scrum and this time Bower did much better, so much so that the Tigers won the ball.
Lucas then fielded a high kick and deftly chipped over the defence, ran through and caught his own kick before setting Forsyth up for his second of the evening. Sale though responded with their 5th try of the night for Flanker Baleirara to be driven over.
Blow the blinking whistle Ref!
Which he obligingly did, some 10 minutes later. A cracking game, 9 tries and plenty of action. The forward exchanges were pretty abrasive and I did have a chuckle when one of Sale’s forwards decided to shove Julian about, he wasn’t quite as sure of his actions when Julian turned to face him. Of our forwards there were no stand out players but full blooded commitment. How Duffy caught a ball off his toes and stood up with 2 Sale players on his back defies logic.
Well done to the team and the club.