The wind was strong as it always seems to be in the North East and the Sharks players were out early testing conditions and getting in some catching practice. The rain had held off before kick off which was a blessing as the pitch was saturated in parts.
Falcons were soon on the front foot and won a penalty after only two minutes which Phil Godman kicked easily 0-3. From the restart Sale started to build and won a penalty of their own on five minutes forty metres out which Danny Cipriani kicked with ease. 3-3.
Sale playing with the breeze earned another penalty on 14 minutes 45 metres out but Cipriani miss hit it.
On 16 minutes Newcastle warmed the home crowd with a powerful run down the right hand side of the pitch with Saull and Hogg making valuable metres. Ross Harrison saved the day with a great tackle on Hogg.
Two minutes later Godman missed a penalty kick opportunity when the wind picked up and his kick drifted wide.
Tom Brady livened up proceedings with a great touchline run on 23 minutes, beating off two attempted tackles to touch down. 8-3, Cipriani converted 10-3.
The try awakened the Falcons who put pressure on the Sharks defence with a driving maul from the lineout and Andy Saull emerged from the bottom of a pile of players to claim the try, 10-8. Godman's conversion attempt from the touchline fell short.
Sharks hit staright back and Leota and Tuitupou combined well which almost earned at try. Falcons impeded and del Fava was deemed responsible and sin binned. From the scrum Sharks tried to force their one man advantage but Falcons held on. Tait however was trapped in goal and another five metre scrum was awarded with a Sharks put in. After three sets Falcons won a penalty and cleared their lines. Carlo de Fava returned from the sin bin and Falcons were justly proud that they had not conceded any points despite being a man down.
On the stroke of half time Sharks were awarded a penalty 15metres out which Cipriani kicked to give Sale Sharks a 13-8 Half time lead. Sharks however would be playing into the wind in the second half which was gradually picking up speed.
HT Newcastle Falcons 8 Sale Sharks 13
Viliami Fahiki took the place of James Gaskell at half time and just as the team took to the field the heavens opened so Sharks were now playing into driving rain.
Seven minutes into the second half Eifion Lewis Roberts and Marc Jones were introduced as substitutes for Ross Harrison and Tommy Taylor.
Play was held up due to an injury to Carlo del Fava who collided with Rob Miller and came off worse. The physio team raced onto the field and by the time del fava recovered there were more medics on the field than Holby City.
On 62 minutes Sharks won a penalty 30 metres out which Danny Cipriani lined up but it drifted wide 13-8.
On 73 minutes, Nick Macleod who had replaced Cipriani had his first opportunity to put points on the board and his 25 metre penalty was perfect 16-8.
The Sharks defence was immense in the last few minutes and Newcastle Falcons were going sideways , making very little ground.
FT Newcastle Falcons 8 Sale Sharks 16
Sale Sharks: 15. Rob Miller, 14. Tom Brady, 13. Johnny Leota, 12. Sam Tuitupou, 11. Mark Cueto, 10. Danny Cipriani (off 64mins), 9. Dwayne Peel (off 64mins), 8. James Gaskell (off HT), 7. David Seymour, 6. Dan Braid (c), 5. Michael Paterson 4. Jonathan Mills, 3. Vadim Cobilas (off 64mins), 2. Tommy Taylor (off 48mins), 1. Ross Harrison (off 48mins).
Replacements: 16. Marc Jones (on for Taylor 48mins), 17. Eifion Lewis-Roberts (on for Harrison 48mins), 18. Henry Thomas (on for Cobilas 64mins), 19. Andrei Ostrikov (on for Fihaki 63mins), 20. Viliami Fihaki (on for Gaskell HT-63mins), 21. Will Cliff (on for Peel 64mins), 22. Nick Macleod (on for Cipriani 64mins), 23. Phil Mackenzie
Scoring Sequence (Falcons first): 3-0, 3-3, 3-8, 3-10, 8-10,8-13 (Half Time) 8-16
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|Newcastle Falcons Score Card|
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