MATCH REPORT: Sale FC vs Rosslyn Park




The 1st XV fell to defeat in Manchester on Saturday against a resurgent Sale FC.

The match began with the hosts under some early pressure and a Park driving maul came close to opening the scoring just a few minutes in. However, Sale defended well and stopped the maul just short of the line to snuff out the early chance. Despite Park generally getting the better of the opening exchanges, it was Sale who got the first score as Connor Doherty shot out of the line on halfway to snatch an interception as Park looked to spread the ball to the wing and exploit the space out wide.

The 1st XV responded well to conceding and quickly answered back through Charlie Walker. The attack was launched by Dan Hiscocks as the scrumhalf made a break into the opposition 22. The ball was initially lost but a turnover from Theo Manihera regained possession back before play was spread wide to Walker on the touchline. The clinical winger beat his opposite number with ease and dotted down in the corner. Bragman nailed the touchline conversion, despite the tough angle, to level the scores. Sale edged back in front thanks to a penalty from Tom Curtis before extending the lead through another Doherty score, again against the run of play. Despite not really having a period of sustained attack in the match to this point, the home side ran in their second try when the ball came loose during a Park carry on halfway resulting in the Sale centre being able to run it in untouched.

A half break from Bragman in the opposition 22 that looked like it could have resulted in a score was unfortunately called back as the referee brought the match to a halt for a clash of heads between two Sale defenders. Soon after, play resumed with a Park scrum and a clever Bragman cross-field kick found Benji Marfo on the left wing who coolly touched it down. However, play was pulled back by the referee once more for the clearing of a man past the ruck in the build-up and the score was wiped off.  Amidst this pressure, Sale were able to clear their lines momentarily before Park were again back on the attack. A dangerous break and offload by Jasper Cameron to Will Burton took play down to the opposition 22 and created a big overlap on the left-hand side. Spotting this, Marfo attempted to find Stokes out wide, but Sale’s Mark Dixon got his fingertips to the pass and reeled it in for what was a try-saving intervention.

Following this, Park came close to scoring once more as another Bragman crossfield kick was gathered in by Stokes. The fullback cleverly popped the ball to Matt Bolwell who in turn found Marfo, but the winger was unfortunately dragged down short of the line. Park remained camped on the Sale tryline for the next several minutes, being prevented from scoring multiple times by an immense defensive effort from the hosts. They were eventually able to scoop up a loose ball and clear momentarily, but another huge Burton break brought play back into their 22. Unfortunately for Park a familiar scene unfolded as Sale’s Stone Priestley-Nangle reeled in yet another interception for the home side and cantered away down the touchline. The lightning quick Marfo tracked down the number 8 short of the line, but the big forward had the presence of mind to offload the ball to his scrumhalf, Matt Bradley, for the third try against the run of play for the hosts. Despite getting the better of the home side in the penalty count and creating more chances, as well as dominating the territory and possession stats, the 1st XV found themselves 24-7 down headed into the break after a frustrating first half.

A rough start to the second period led to an early penalty that Sale put into the corner, scoring through Jake Barron soon after. Following this, a back-and-forth few minutes saw both sides produce some promising attacks before Park frustrations boiled over and Arthur Ellis was shown a yellow card for arguing with the referee over a dubious penalty decision. Sale made the most of the man advantage and quickly got their next score. A grubber in behind looked to have been dealt with by Park in the dead ball area amidst pressure from substitute Sean Street, but after conferring with his assistant the referee deemed Street to have got a hand to the ball and touched it down. Frustratingly, another Park score was scrubbed off by the referee 10 minutes later. A crucial Henry Spencer turnover penalty on his own tryline was quickly followed by a scrum penalty on halfway. Then a powerful Matt Gordon break and offload to Ellis brought play down to within 10 metres of the Sale line. A beautifully weighted Stokes miss-pass found Walker out wide who dotted down, but the officials deemed the pass to have drifted just forward and play was pulled back.

Park finally got the score that had been coming with only a couple of minutes left to play when Bragman crossed the whitewash following a lineout deep in Sale territory, but the hosts had the final say with a score by Street as time expired.

Referee: Ben Wood


Tries: Doherty (9’, 23’), Bradley (39’), Barron (45’), Street (57’, 80’)
Conversions: Curtis (10’, 24’, 40’, 46’, 58’), Bradley (80’)
Penalties: Curtis (19’)
Yellow Cards: N/A

Sale: Carlile, Stagg, Opuku-Fordjour, Gray, Bamber, Barron, Hughes, Priestley-Nangle, Bradley, Curtis, Walsh, Robins, Doherty, Dixon, Mulchrone

Replacements: Brown, Birchall Stout, Woodman, Street


Tries: Walker (12’), Bragman (75’)
Conversions: Bragman (13’)
Penalties: N/A
Yellow Cards: Ellis (53’)

Rosslyn Park: Garvey, Cameron, Hay, Burton, Spencer, Bolwell, Ellis, Wrafter, Hiscocks, Bragman, Marfo, Gordon, Manihera, Walker, Stokes

Replacements: Miller, Pieterse, Stevenson, Baldwin, Addams


Blackheath 22 – 42 Rams
Chinnor 55 – 26 Richmond
Cinderford 19 – 43 Sedgley Park
Darlington Mowden Park 24 – 33 Taunton Titans
Leicester Lions 29 – 36 Bishop’s Stortford
Plymouth Albion 19 – 18 Birmingham Moseley

Matchweek 11 in National One saw Rams, Sedgley Park, Taunton and Bishop’s Stortford all pick up big bonus-point wins on the road. Elsewhere, Chinnor and Plymouth joined Sale with wins at home as the former hammered Richmond and the latter eked out a narrow victory over Birmingham Moseley.

Up Next for Park is a clash at The Rock against Cinderford. Match tickets are on sale here.