Sale started their year with a workmanlike 16-8 Aviva Premiership victory over Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park on Friday.
Sale Sharks started their year with a workmanlike 16-8 win over Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park on Friday.
Tom Brady's first-half try was the difference as the Falcons' frustrating season continues.
Trailing by just five points at half-time, they failed to fight back and seal just their fourth win of the season.
Sale will feel they have had a strong season, with this win pushing them up to sixth position until Exeter and Leicester play over the weekend.
Newcastle's search for a league success continues, having not gained victory in a Premiership game since their triumph over London Irish in October.
After Phil Godman and Danny Cipriani had traded early penalties, they both then missed one apiece in a game of limited chances.
The game's first flash of quality resulted in a try for the visitors. The Sharks moved the ball from the left wing to the right with speed to find Brady on the overlap who skipped over for his second try of the season.
Falcons, the lowest scorers in the Aviva Premiership so far this season, managed to get a score for themselves soon after. Andy Saull was the man in possession when Newcastle drove over the line from a rolling maul.
Dean Richards' men went in five points behind after Cipriani's penalty on half time.
Sale were going in search of their sixth win of the season and looked good value for their lead.
The rain began to pour as the second-half kicked off. Unfortunately though, tries didn't. Dan Braid's sin-bin was the only notable talking point as the game ticked towards the hour mark.
Sale's chance to gain what could have been an unassailable lead was squandered when Cirpiani sent wide a kick from a fairly central position, as the second half looked more and more likely to end without a point being scored.
Cipriani's replacement, Nick Macleod, continued Newcastle's woes. His penalty ended any hopes of a Newcastle losing bonus-point.
Pen: Cipriani 2, Macleod
Newcastle: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Danny Barnes, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Phil Godman, 9 Mike Blair, 8 Ally Hogg (c), 7 Andy Saull, 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Scott MacLeod, 4 Carlo del Fava, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Rob Vickers.
Replacements: Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Franck Montanella, 18 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 19 Sean Tomes, 20 Richard Mayhew, 21 Warren Fury, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 James Fitzpatrick.
Sale: 15 Robert Miller, 14 Thomas Brady, 13 Jonny Leota, 12 Sammy Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 James Gaskell, 7 David Seymour, 6 Dan Braid (c), 5 Michael Paterson 4 Jonathan Mills, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Thomas Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Andrei Ostrikov, 20 Viliami Fihaki, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Nick Macleod, 23 Phil Mackenzie.
Referee: Andrew Small
Assistant referees: Kevin Stewart, Robin Goodliffe
Television match official: Trevor Fisher