Sale RUFC 3, Leigh RUFC 7
The amateurs of Leigh won a famous victory at Heywood Road against more illustrious semi professional opponents, knocking them from their lofty top of the table position.
The win was largely based on a performance of total physicality at the ruck and in the tackle for the full 80 minutes.
Leigh started strongly and were quickly on the attack with forwards and backs combining well. Sale lost a prop to the sin-bin, but refused to concede. Leigh missed two penalty chances, before Sale converted one on their first foray into Leigh territory. Leigh lost prop Tom Baker and were now forced to defend desperately to the interval which came with Sale holding the narrow lead.
Sale started the second period strongly but the welcome return of Baker saw the Leigh defence stay strong. The siege was lifted when their back row, Calvin Crompton made a storming run out of defence scattering defenders in his wake. Leigh now seemed to sense the moment and threw everything into attack. Wonderful quick hands by Wood, Baker, and Millard provided the opening, for flanker Peter Ince to score wide left. He cleverly promoted the position for youngster Elliott Ryan to smack over the vital conversion.
Sale now showed why they top the table and battered the visitors line, but the Leigh defence under the schooling of coaches Vila Matautia and Mark Turner is a hard line to break. The two big defensive plays were from second row Paul Hampson, and more significantly David Wood, who dislodged the ball from ex-Superleague winger Kevin Penny, when he seemed certain to score. The Leigh defence was now back in control, but were relieved to hear the final whistle.
This was not a day for MoM nominations as the full 18-man squad perfomed heroically