REPORT – Warriors Development XV 33-24 Sale Sharks Development XV

A Warriors Development XV claimed an impressive victory over a strong Sale Sharks side at Sixways on Monday night.

Warriors had been 12-5 behind in the first-half but battled to victory, with Josh Adams eventually wrapping up the game with a try on the full-time whistle.

Sale had taken the lead after 17 minutes as Tom Brady took advantage of a crossfield kick from fly-half Tom Morton.

Jonas Mikalcius levelled the scores with Warriors' first try of the evening before Sale’s Morton went from provider to scorer to give Sale a seven-point lead.

Mat Gilbert then stole in for Warriors’ second try, with Jamie Shillcock’s conversion taking the score to 12-12 at half-time.

Warriors looked the stronger side after the break and were awarded a penalty try following a dominant spell.

Charlie Ingall’s score in the corner from a Sale breakaway try took the scores level once again as the final quarter approached.

Warriors started to get the upper hand as powerful number eight Huw Taylor forced his way over in the corner before Matt Rogerson pulled a score back for Sale.

As both sides pressed late on, it was left to Adams to make the game safe in the dying moments. 

Warriors had the first real chance of the evening when Max Stelling looked to play in Perry Humphreys down the left.

But the young full-back couldn’t get his hands on the ball as a Sale defender forced Humphreys to drop the ball backwards.

The dry conditions meant both sides looked to get ball in hand and play running rugby but it was Sale who were enjoying the upper hand in the early stages. 

The visitors kicked a series of penalties into touch as Warriors struggled to get out of their own half and Sale took the lead after 17 minutes as Brady found himself on the end of a crossfield kick from Morton. 

The kick landed perfectly in Brady’s hands, allowing him to dive over the tryline to give his side a 5-0 lead.

Warriors had selected a string of their future first-team stars and included four of the five players called-up to
England’s Under 20s RBS 6 Nations squad.

And Warriors were intent on showing their attacking prowess as they looked to stamp their authority on the game.

Shillcock’s grubber kick almost deceived the Sale full-back Tim Jeffers, who slipped as he chased the ball towards his own tryline and gifted Warriors a five-metre scrum.

Warriors couldn’t take advantage of the scrum but continued to press forward as Mikalcius made good ground through the middle.

And the hosts finally got their first try of the evening as Adams received Stelling’s pass on the left and raced towards the line before grounding in the corner to level the scores at 5-5.

The free-flowing rugby perpetuated and Sale soon retook the lead as Morton, who had been a creative force all evening, twisted his way over the line following a mesmerising run from scrum-half James Mitchell.

The match was a close affair as both sides expressed themselves and Warriors added their second try as Gilbert grounded from the bottom of a driving maul.

Shillcock added the conversion as Warriors drew level at 12-12 to end the first-half scoring. 

Three Pears Academy Manager Mark Hewitt made a string of changes at half-time as Warriors upped the ante and attacked Sale at every opportunity. 

Taylor nearly went over in the corner after clever work from the Warriors backline but he was bundled into touch by two Sale men.

Replacement Tiff Eden then saw his crossfield kick touched down by a Sale defender with Warriors men bearing down.

Warriors were very much on top and managed to nudge ahead again as the referee awarded the hosts a penalty try after a sustained spell of pressure on the Sale tryline. Eden converted to put seven points between the sides.

The scoring continued in rapid fashion as Sale went straight up the other end and touched down in the corner courtesy of Ingall, who was the benefactor of some smart work from the Sale backline.

Morton’s conversion levelled the match at 19-19 to set up a tense final quarter.

But there was barely time for Sale to regroup as Warriors showed their class yet again with their fourth try of the evening.

This time it was England Under 20 international Taylor who forced his way over the line from a driving maul, with Eden converting from the tightest of angles.

But Sale would just not give up and reduced the deficit once again as giant number eight Rogerson went over following another melee on the Warriors tryline.

Crucially Sale couldn’t convert as Warriors held on to a two-point lead with five minutes remaining. 

And Warriors wrapped-up the victory on the stroke of full-time as Adams was rewarded for his endeavour throughout the evening with a try in the corner.

Warriors: 15 Perry Humphreys (Craven 19-23, 78) 20, 14 Josh Adams, 13 Max Stelling, 12 Robbie Smith, 11 Jonas Mikalcius (Mayne 78), 10 Jamie Shillcock (Ham 47), 9 Jacob Ham (Eden 42); 1 Derrick Appiah, 2 Jaba Bregvadze (Singleton 40), 3 Gareth Milasinovich (Rees 40), 4 Andrew Kitchener (Hewitt 40), 5 Darren O’Shea, 6 Mat Gilbert, 7 Ben Fowles (Hill 74), 8 Huw Taylor (C)

Replacements: 16 Jack Singleton, 17 James Page, 18 Joe Rees, 19 Charlie Hewitt, 20 Ted Hill, 21 Tiff Eden, 22 Stan Mayne, 23 Max Craven

Timeline:
17m: Brady try 0-5
24m: Mikalcius try 5-5
27m: Morton try 5-10
28m: Morton con 5-12
32m: Gilbert try 10-12
33m: Shillcock con 12-12
52m: Penalty try 17-12
53m: Eden con 19-12
55m: Ingall try 19-17
56m: Morton con 19-19
62m: Taylor try 24-19
63m: Eden con 26-19
73m: Rogerson try 26-24
80m: Adams try 31-24
80m: Eden con 33-24