We’ll take confidence from this, says Keep
SALE laid down a marker at the top of National 2 North with a commanding defeat of third-placed Hinckley.
First-half tries from Jack Moorhouse and Anthony Bingham set Sale well on their way to a fourth straight home win.
Aside from Joe Wilson’s excellent kicking in damp conditions, Hinckley struggled to stem the tide at Heywood Road.
Rhys Davies crossed the whitewash after the break to condemn George Chuter’s side to their second reverse of the campaign.
Sale director of rugby Jonathan Keep regretted his side did not secure a bonus point score, but was more than happ with Sale’s display.
“On a wet day, we just wanted control and we largely had it,” said Keep.
“The first half was a bit sticky but second half we came out and played really well with territory.
“There’s a bit of disappointment in not getting the bonus point but we’ll go up to Tynedale next week with confidence.”
Continuous torrential rain made handling tricky from the outset but Sale adapted quicker and led from the 10th minute.
Ten metres out scrumhalf Matt Sturgess showed presence of mind to clip a crossfield kick over to Moorhouse. The centre claimed cleanly to dot down in the far corner, with Chris Johnson adding tricky extras.
The hosts’ early dominance was underpinned by set piece superiority. Gaz Rawlings did an excellent job at disrupting the lineout and referee Mick Harris was punitive on the Hinckley scrum.
A penalty for offside on halfway gave Chuter’s outfit an unlikely route onto the scoreboard, as Wilson drove over a superb kick.
The three points Wilson then slotted to cut Sale’s lead to just one were simple in comparison, coming after a big Hinckley heave.
Before the break, league convert Bingham re-established the advantage, with Moorhouse managing to grip a flighty spin pass to put the winger in the corner.
Johnson made another tricky conversion from a narrow angle to make it 14-6.
Sale forged further in front on 53 minutes, an effort indebted to the forwards who ran a perfect lineout before driving lock Rhys Davies over for the try.
The home side fell short of a bonus-point try, but unlike last week’s draw at Leicester – having been 17-0 up – they showed no sign of late nerves.
A late 40-metre charge from loose forward Ben Avent was the closest Hinckley came, leaving coach Chuter frustrated.
“We didn’t play conditions too well and were a bit tactically naive playing with the wind,” the Hinckley boss said.
“We couldn’t create and get into positions to make opportunities.
“It’s a shame to come to one of the top teams in the league and not really bring our A game, so we’ll be looking for a reaction to this.”