Tries - James & Beal, Con. - James, Pen. - James
Tries - Uzukwe & Allcock, Cons. - Shepherd & Lewis, Pen. - Lewis
15.Tim Jeffers, 14.Sam Broster, 13.Sam Bedlow, 12.Sam James (capt.), 11.George Beal, 10. Tom Deakin, 9.James Mitchell, 1.Ciaran Parker, 2.Cameron Neild, 3.Conor McGrath, 4.Will Fairclough, 5.Luke Harris, 6.Luke Tyrrell, 7.Liam Parfitt, 8.Andrew Hughes
Replacements: Sam Lawton, Matthew Beaty, Joel Barker, Jonny Kenny, Will Baterbury, Sam Lowthian, Dafydd Jones, Jack Wise, Rory Hardman, Matt Geiger, Henry Ravenscroft
15.Howard Packman, 14.George Wacokecoke, 13.Lewis Jones, 12.Tom Stephenson (capt.), 11.Alex Wootton, 10. Harry Shepherd, 9.Cameron Lee-Everton, 1.Danny Hobbs, 2.Owen Griffiths, 3.Harry Morley, 4.Jamie Manley, 5.Lewis Ludlam, 6.Simon Uzokwe, 7.Sam Harry, 8.Jack Allcock.
Replacements: Calum Miller, Ollie Walker, Dan Lewis, Ashley Elvers
Saints' replacement kicker Dan Lewis slotted home a penalty to win this Academy game, a warm up match before the young sides commence their league action later in the month.
Unlike in Salford the previous night, the air was clear and visibility was abetted by strong sunlight at Heywood Road.
Like their seniors, the Saints exerted early forward pressure which set them up for the opening try after three minutes when flanker Simon Ozokwe got the final touch. Harry Shepherd converted. The Sale Academy replied in style, forcing a series of scrums in the Northampton 22, but the phase ended with a penalty to the visitors. The young Sharks stepped up the mobility of the game, inspired by half backs Mitchell and Deakin, but the handling didn't necessarily match the ambition of the passing.
Mitchell missed a 24th minute penalty attempt but James made no mistake just two minutes later to open the home account after Saints strayed offside. Saints fullback Packman, with his orange boots, took the eye with some sound handling and enterprising play running out of defence.
Saints produced a rolling maul - surely a whole club tactic - to make 25 metres of progress out of defence before sending the ball along the back line. To Sale's relief, the dangerous Packman was forced into touch. The first half ended with home loosehead prop Ciaran Parker producing a crunching tackle on Lewis Jones and the scoreboard showing 3-7.
The splendidly named George Wakecokecoke produced an early threat for an unchanged Sharks team after the break, but Mitchell cleared the danger. In reply, Sharks scored their first try of the game. A good lineout drive set up Neild, who was almost over, but the ball was recycled out right and spun to skipper Sam James, who coolly converted his own effort to put his team three points clear.
Jonny Kenny, due to play for King's Macclesfield but their game was frozen off, was the first Sharks replacement and was quickly involved. Luke Tyrrell made a strong burst, but Saints, with Packman inevitably involved, moved up a gear.
Both sides were down to fourteen men after Wacokecoke and Neild were shown yellow cards two minutes apart.
Saints regained the lead with fifteen minutes left, when Elvers fielded a diagonal kick to the left corner, setting up number 8 Jack Allcock for a try. Dan Lewis converted to put Saints 14-10 up.
Sharks immediately replied, with a sweeping attack including prop Parker dummying a pass to himself - always guaranteed to raise a cheer. James finally sent winger George Beal over for a one-point lead, but couldn't convert the try.
With two minutes left, Sharks Academy were penalised for handling in the ruck, and Lewis had his moment of glory.
This was one of those games which 'could have gone either way', a view shared by Sharks Academy coach Brendan Thomas, who said, "We were really pleased with the lads. We drew lots of positives out of the game. Commitment was fantastic, but they must apply a little bit more nous in their game management. Performances like this will see us do OK in the upcoming League."
Sharks Academy open up their Premiership Academy League programme with a home match against Newcastle Falcons at Heywood Road on Friday 21st December, kick off 2.00pm.
Scoring (Sharks first): 0-7, 3-7 (Half Time) 10-7, 10-14, 15-14, 15-17
Referee: Andrew Rawson