MATCH REPORT – Sale Sharks Women 17– 10 Exeter Chiefs Women

Sale Sharks Women earned a dramatic last-minute win over Exeter Chiefs Women in their final match at the Corpacq this season.

A pulsating first half saw advantage and possession trade hands numerous times before Sale Sharks took their chance with the final attack of the half to lead at the break.

Despite positive play, the Sharks were unable to ram home their advantage in the second-half before Exeter Chiefs equalised after a Vicky Irwin yellow card.

With the clock in the red, Hollie Bawden intercepted to give Sale a famous fourth victory in the Premier 15s.

The opening exchanges were even with Katy Daley-Mclean controlling Sale’s play, drawing on her experience to push the Sharks up the pitch.

Exeter were unable to build on promising starts seeing two chances knocked on to hand the advantage back to Sale.

The Sharks looked to be over the tryline in the fifth minute working the ball from the lineout but it was not given as no side could convert their possession into points.

However, Daley-Mclean opted to kick for the posts from a penalty and converted in the 11th minute to give Sale a narrow lead.

The Chiefs hit straight back as USA international Gabby Cantorna converted a penalty with Sale judged offside.

After the drinks break, Exeter went aerial and put pressure on Alex Wallace who was unable to deal with a bouncing kick into the 22.

The Chiefs then crossed the whitewash for the first time but were deemed to have scored with a double movement.

It was then Exeter’s turn to struggle with a tricky bounce as Sale forced the Chiefs deep into their own half but could not find the line.

Exeter had done well to keep the pace attack of Lisa Neumann and Jodie Ounsley quiet in the first-half but nothing could stop Neumann finding a gap in the Exeter’s defence and racing to the try line to score the first try of the game.

Daley-Mclean then kicked the conversion to give Sale a deserved 10-3 lead at the halftime.

The Sharks were full of confidence in the opening ten minutes of the second half turning down a kick for points to try to hammer home the advantage but the ball was knocked on.

Before Exeter could clear their lines, Sale had turned over the ball again and this time Daley-Mclean chose a shot at the posts but failed to connect with the ball cleanly as the scores stayed the same.

Irwin, on as a second-row replacement, was shown a yellow card for a high tackle to leave Sale with 14 players with 13 minutes to go.

The Chiefs used the player-advantage first being held up on the line before equalising through a try from Japan international Sachiko Kato and a conversion from Cantorna.

The final five minutes were nervy for both sides and again Sale’s defence stood firm in the face of repeated Exeter attacks.

Sale were returned to full-strength with three minutes to go before Molly Kirby came on for her Sharks debut and was straight into the tick of the action as Exeter launched a late attack.

With the final move of the game, Hollie Bawden intercepted and sprinted to the tryline to give Sale an incredible 17-10 win.

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