We’ll take con­fi­dence from this, says Keep

The Rugby Paper - - National League 2 North - ■ By TOM HARLE

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.”

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