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A swing the other way

Last weekend, after the Friday night win against the Quins, ‘other’ results did Sale Sharks a favour. This weekend, it was quite the opposite.

Bath, Saints and Wasps all rose up the table at the Sharks’ expense. Bath squandered a 17-point advantage at Gloucester but gained a bonus point. Saints pipped Quins by a point at The Stoop and Wasps confounded all expectations by beating the Chiefs 26-19 at Sandy Park, Exeter’s first home defeat in the Premiership for over twelve months.

EXETER, ENGLAND – APRIL 14: Nizaam Carr of Wasps celebrates during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Exeter Chiefs and Wasps at Sandy Park on April 14, 2019 in Exeter, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images).

Credit to the Warriors, who seemed to be ‘up for it’ at Sixways last Saturday. especially after the Falcons had slipped up against the Tigers the night before. Let’s say it was not the best of days for everyone connected with Sale Sharks.

There are three rounds to go in the Gallagher Premiership: Sharks play Bath and Gloucester at home, with a trip to Bristol sandwiched in between.

Last minute dramas

Coping well with the pressure were James Grayson (Northampton Saints) who slotted a conversion over with 30 seconds showing on the countdown clock and Ian Madigan (Bristol Bears) whose last-gasp penalty gave his side a vital 23-21 win against Saracens.

The crowd at Ashton Gate on Saturday teatime was 14,798. Sharks’ final away match will be there on Friday 3rd May (7.45pm) and it’s not being televised.

BRISTOL, ENGLAND – APRIL 13: Sam Bedlow of Bristol Bears (L) celebrates as they are awarded a last minute penalty during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Bristol Bears and Saracens at Ashton Gate on April 13, 2019 in Bristol, United Kingdom. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Five to eight

Not the time to set one’s alarm each morning (Sharks staff are all at Carrington by then, anyway!) but the weekend’s results saw the club slip from fifth to eighth.

Also, positions five to eight in the Gallagher Premiership table are the tightest of squeezes, with three points separating the four clubs.

The middle of the table reads:

Wasps 47pts.

Saints 46pts.

Bath   45pts.

Sharks 44pts.

The situation will undoubtedly change before the final round on Saturday 18th May.

Europe next

Sale Sharks travel to France for Saturday’s European Challenge Cup semi-final in La Rochelle.

Stade Rochelais, on the back of a run of five successive Top 14 defeats, put Section Paoise to the sword, scoring 10 tries in a ruthless drubbing.

Arthur Retiere amassed 18 points – including a brace of tries – and Kini Murimurivalu also claimed a double as La Rochelle showed no mercy to lowly Pau.

European Rugby Challenge Cup Quarter-Final, AJ Bell Stadium, England 29/3/2019, Sale Sharks vs Connacht, ©INPHO/James Crombie.

Round the leagues

With Easter approaching and after a relatively mild Winter, the final tables of Rugby Union’s leagues are more or less settled.

Sale FC, with a game to play, suffered at the hands of National One champions-elect Ampthill on Saturday, but are safe in 11th place, two above Cheshire rivals Caldy.

Hull Ionians top the shop in National 2 North, leaving second-placed Chester facing a play off game against Canterbury.

Northern Premier champions are Hull, with fifth-placed Rossendale the highest North West club in the table. Rob Webber’s Sandbach, the Midlands Premier Division’s most Northerly club, finished ninth.

Carlisle took the honours in North One West, with Blackburn runners up. Both hit the eighty points mark on Saturday, against De La Salle (Salford) and Douglas (IOM) respectively.

Cam Neild’s Altrincham Kersal topped Lancs & Ches. One, seven points clear of Bowdon, under the coaching of Josh Strauss and Byron McGuigan. AK rounded off their season with a 22-18 win at Rochdale.

Staying in Lancs & Cheshire, Aspull and Ramsey (IOM) topped divisions two and three.

Congratulations to all our regional clubs on their efforts this season.

Up for the Cup

Sale FC face Chester in the Cheshire RFU Cup Final at Winnington Park this Thursday (Kick off 7.00pm).


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