Sale U23 23 – 20 Newcastle Falcons U23
Newcastle Falcons U23 Development side lost out in the dying minutes of their game against Sale Under 23s at Manchester’s Heywood Road on Monday night.
A Falcons side including a mixture of senior team, academy and invitational players were first out of the blocks after eight minutes when George McGuigan touched down to claim the first try. Rory Clegg converted to take the score to 0-7.
Less than ten minutes later though Sale were also off the mark when the Falcons conceded a penalty to allow Mark Lawrence to put three points on the board.
His side continued to pressurise, coming close a try of their own before being pulled up for a forward pass on their way to the line.
But it was the Falcons who took the next score of the game, Clegg making it 3-10 from another penalty. The visitors pushed for a second try but found themselves pinned back by a strong Sale defence.
With five minutes of the first half to go Sale broke through the Falcons’ defence after continued pressure, evening the scores at 10 all at the break.
As the players came out for the second half Newcastle Falcons were once again first off the mark with Pete Weightman running in a try just two minutes in. Clegg again converted to take the score to 10-17 after 42 minutes.
The hosts tried to reply quickly but it took them more than ten minutes to get the score, James Flynn going over the line for the try. He was followed shortly afterwards by team mate George Nott, touching down to give his side a 20-17 league.
With Sale conceding a penalty from the kick off though Clegg was allowed to level the score to 20 all with 15 minutes left to play.
Both teams dug in, determined to take the win, but it was Sale who grabbed the points when Falcons were penalised for a high tackle eight minutes from time.
Falcons gained a final penalty in the last minutes of the game and won a line out but the ball was turned over before the visitors could capitalise, ending the scoring at Sale 23-20 Newcastle.
Speaking after the game, Academy Manager Mark Laycock said: “It was a good game of rugby with two evenly balanced sides both giving it there all.
“We went out there to win and to show what we can do. The lads are disappointed but we put in a lot of good offloads and broke their line quite a lot, so there’s a great deal to be positive about.”