Posted in Uncategorized

View from the Birtles: Sale Sharks 24 Worcester 29

For while there, it looked as if Sale might pull off an unlikely victory. Tries from Jodie Ounsley and Holly Bawden (a cracking, mazy run from about 40 metres out) left them 17-15 up at the break against a team that had looked, frankly, a level above for most of the half.

In the second half, though, Worcester reasserted their dominance and bullied their way to a 29-17 lead going into the final minutes. Sale added some respectability to the score with a cracking try from Vicky E. Irwin on the last play of the game, but the fact remains that this team is still a work in progress.

Based on this game, the most obvious area needing immediate improvement is the scrum. For the first half and much of the second they were brutally pushed backward by the Worcester pack. And I mean “pushed” – I was half expecting to see a push-over try from the halfway line.

Things improved a bit when Hannah Davies came on at tight head, in that they stayed stable for about 10 seconds before going backwards. By the end of the game, the scrum was holding its own, but there’s some cause for concern, there.

On the plus side, the defence was mostly pretty good, but with a few too many badly missed tackles. There were positive signs in attack, too, but also a degree of naivety that will be fixed with more game time. Three telegraphed passes were intercepted easily, with one of them leading directly to a try and only sterling defensive scrambling snuffing out the others.

But the important thing is that this was a thoroughly enjoyable game, with no lack of skill and commitment from both sides. If you’re still wondering whether to take a punt, do so. You’ll get some cracking entertainment and, if you’re a Sharks season ticket holder, you get in free. It’s a no-brainer, really. Get down there and give the women some support: they deserve it.

In other news, I had an interesting chat at half time with a random bloke who wandered over and started talking to us. This fella:

I know him from somewhere…



Photographer and science geek. Rugby fan (Sale Sharks).