Sale Sharks made the journey to the Fylde coast to play their, now annual, pre season game. Fylde have enjoyed a lot of success in recent seasons and last season they finished third in Division One under the leadership of former Sharks backs coach Mark Nelson.
New signing Chris Cusiter was named in the 15 that started the game and there was a welcome comeback for Will Addison who last played at Saracens last November before hobbling off with a back injury.
Sharks were soon on the front foot putting pressure on the Fylde line but the defence held firm. Will Addison went close on 4 minutes but was tackled near the line and his pass failed to reach Tom Brady on the wing. It was TOM BRADY who opened the scoring two minutes later when he collected a ball twenty metres out, shrugged off two tackles to touch down. NICK MacLEOD converted kicking toward the club house end 0-7.
Sharks almost went further ahead through Sammy Tuitupou but the referee adjudged that Sammy had run behind one of his own players thus blocking an attempted Fylde tackle.
Andy Hughes was in the wars after 16 minutes and had to leave the field with a facial injury. Liam Parfitt took his place.
Both sides did their best in windy conditions to play fast flowing rugby but all too often moves broke down due to knock ons and an over fussy referee.
Sharks enjoyed a territorial advantage in the first half, they looked defensively strong but credit to Fylde who kept the Sharks at bay. Viliami Fihaki crossed the line on 36 minutes but the referee adjudged a forward pass.
Half Time Fylde 0 Sale Sharks 7
It was a return to the old traditions at half time for Sale Sharks as Steve Diamond and his coaching team went through their pep talk on the pitch. The team then rotated with only Michael Paterson staying on the field.
Fylde got right back into the game on 42 minutes when a Bedlow pass was intercepted by former Sharks player WARREN SPRAGG who raced in to score. Johnson's conversion missed the target but the lead was cut to 5-7.
LUKE McLEAN increased Sharks lead on 49 minutes when Sale turned the ball over and McLean received a pass from Ford and raced in to score. JOE FORD converted 5-14.
Captain Dan Braid looked to have scored Sharks third try on 53 minutes but the referee disallowed the score for a marginal forward pass.
Luke McLean was impressing everyone with his runs and creating space for himself.
On 62 minutes after a Fylde attack broke down Sale moved the ball upfield and fly half JOE FORD shrugged off two tackles and raced in for a great try. FORD improved his own try to giave Sharks a 5-21 lead.
Home winger Oli Brennand made an interception on 64 minutes but knocked on in the process. If he had taken it cleanly it would have been a certain try.
JOE FORD scored his second try on 66 minutes after a prolonged Sharks spell of attacking play. FORD converted and Sharks were well ahead with the game in the bag at 5-28.
DAN BRAID scored Sharks 5th try on 70 minutes with a walk in try from an Ostrikov pass. Ford's touchline conversion was just wide 5-33.
The victory was marred in the final moments when Tim Jeffers collided with a Fylde defender and injured his left knee. The Sharks medical team raced on to the field to assist Tim who had to be helped from the pitch.
Sharks scored their sixth try when CAMERON NEILD crashed over on 79 minutes. JOE FORD converted with the final kick of the game.
Final Score Fylde 5 Sale Sharks 40
Sale Sharks First Half Team Haley, Brady, Addison, Tuitupou, Forsyth,Macleod, Cusiter, Harrison, Jones, Cobilas, Mills, Paterson, Hughes, Seymour, Fihaki
Replacements Neild, Fearn, Flynn, Ostrikov, Parfitt, Cliff, Ford, Bedlow, O'Donnell, El Mahdi, Jeffers
Sale Sharks Second Half Team McLean, Ingall, James, Jennings, Cueto, Ford, Fowles, Fearn, Neild, Lewis- Roberts, Ostrikov, Paterson, Lund, Braid, Easter
Replacements Jones, Flynn, Cobilas, Mills, Parfitt, Cliff, Macleod, Bedlow, O'Donnell, El Mahdi, Jeffers
Sale Sharks entertain Gloucester at the AJ Bell Stadium on Sunday afternoon (kick off 2pm) knowing that a win will keep up the pressure on the leading pack and help earn a place in the elite European Competition next term.
Sale Sharks have re-scheduled the fans evening, and the new date is Tuesday 5th May at the AJ Bell Stadium, starting at 5-30pm for dressing room tours, club shop and ticket office with the players in attendance from 7pm.
After a week off, the lads are now back in training heading into the final run-in of the Aviva Premiership starting with Gloucester at The AJ Bell Stadium next Sunday afternoon, (29th March) kick off at 2pm.