Newcastle hold off Sale Sharks

Date published: September 2 2016

Newcastle held off a late fightback from Sale to start their Premiership campaign with a 19-17 victory at Kingston Park on Friday.

The Falcons were looking for payback after losing out to the Sharks 15-21 the last time these two met in the north-east.

Mike Delany and AJ MacGinty traded penalties for the only points of the opening quarter of the match.

Sinoti Sinoti bagged the only try of the first half and Delaney got the conversion to give Newcastle a 10-3 lead going into half-time.

Delany then slotted a penalty early in the second half but Johnny Leota crashed through for Sale's first try minutes later and Dan Mugford got the conversion.

Delany scored two successive penalties to open up another lead for the home side but Byron McGuigan turned the game on its head with a late try and Mugford followed up with another conversion to put Newcastle supporters back on the edge of their seats. However, it was too little too late from the visitors as Newcastle went on to win 19-17.

The last time Newcastle won their season opener was nine years ago when a young Toby Flood starred in a hard fought win over Sale Sharks. 

After a good deal of pressure from the Falcons, Rob Webber was deemed to have gone off his feet right in front of the the posts and Delany made Sale pay handing the home side a 3-0 lead with six minutes played.

Despite being pegged down in their own half for the opening 20 minutes MacGinty was handed the opportunity to get his team level after Sale where awarded a kickable penalty. The USA international never looked like missing making it 3-3.

Just as it looked as if both teams where going into the break level, Delany found Sinoti on the wing who crashed through for the game's first try. Delany found the conversion from an acute angle to give the Falcons a 10-3 lead at the half's end.

Delany got the first points of the second half from the kicking tee increasing the home side's lead to 10 points.

Newcastle celebrations where cut short though as Leota charged through for a magnificent solo try. MacGinty dissected the posts with the conversion to cut the lead back down to three at 13-10.

Newcastle were awarded a penalty at the scrum and Delany made it four from four to put the Falcons 16-10 in front.

Eifion Lewis-Roberts was judged to have gone off his feet and Delany once again made Sale pay with another three points.

McGuigan got on the end of a well weighted Mugford grubber to score a try on his debut. Mugford nailed the conversion from in front of the posts to get Sale right back in the game at 19-17 with ten minutes left on the clock.

Mugford was handed a golden opportunity to win the match for the visitors with the last kick of the match but he pushed the penalty wide and Newcastle went on to start their season with a hard fought 19-17 win.

The scorers:

For Newcastle:
Try: Sinoti
Con: Delany
Pens: Delany 4

For Sale:
Tries: Leota, McGuigan
Cons: Mugford 2
Pen: MacGinty

Newcastle: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Mike Delany, 9 Sonatane Takulua, 8 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch (c), 6 Evan Olmstead, 5 Will Witty, 4 Calum Green, 3 Taione Vea, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Jon Welsh
Replacements: 16 Ben Sowrey, 17 Alex Rogers, 18 Sam Lockwood, 19 Opeti Fonua, 20 Callum Chick, 21 Sam Egerton, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 Dominic Waldouck

Sale: 15 Byron McGuigan, 14 Will Addison, 13 Sam James, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Nev Edwards, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Laurence Pearce, 7 TJ Ioane, 6 Josh Beaumont (c), 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Eifion Lewis-Roberts
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 James Flynn, 18 Kieran Longbottom, 19 Jonathan Mills, 20 Magnus Lund, 21 David Seymour, 22 James Mitchell, 23 Dan Mugford

Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant Referees: John Meredith, Wayne Falla
TMO: Trevor Fisher