Thursday, 07 July 2022

Heartache as Rams lose to final kick

SEB REYNOLDS admitted he could not fault his Rams side after they suffered a gut-wrenching 22-21 defeat at Sale, but confessed there are things they can learn in defeat, writes Richard Ashton.

The visitors led 21-5 at the interval on the back of scores from Henry Bird and man-of-the-match Ollie Cole as well a penalty try and two Drew Humberstone conversions, and dominated the first 25 minutes of the second half.

However, Sale produced a stunning defensive effort to repel the visitors and having crossed the whitewash through Joe Carpenter in the first half, went onto do so twice more through Jack Metcalf and Ollie Longmore to set-up a grandstand finish as James Robins converted both to cut the gap to two points.

And it was the fly-half who held his nerve with the final kick of the match, bisecting the uprights from 30 metres out and to the right of the uprights to send the Heywood Road crowd into delirium.

Speaking after the match Reynolds said: “We took the game to Sale, we were the better side and played some fantastic tempo rugby for more than an hour and I think 21-5 was a deserved lead.

“But credit to them, they came back really well and they just nicked it in the end.

“I can’t fault our guys at all, but there are things to learn — that’s always what you’ve got to look at and we need to get better from here.”

At the heart of his side’s impressive performance was try-scorer Cole, and Reynolds added: “Ollie was superb and his tempo was really good, but I just think everyone played well.

“In the end it came down to the wire and Sale deserved it because their 10 did what he did at the end. Fair play to them.”

Reynolds may have wondered whether he had stepped under a ladder or smashed a mirror in the build-up to the contest, which saw him deprived of skipper Robbie Stapley, vice-captain Tom Vooght and third-in-command Jamie Guttridge — the entire starting back row — within a half-hour of the start, the former duo not even making it onto the pitch.

And he said: “After 30 minutes of the game we had our fourth skipper from when we named the team on Friday and I thought Drew was absolutely brilliant.

“He’s been fantastic all year the way we just move him around positions and he just deals with it is superbly.

“In fairness, both teams lost players – they were down to the bare bones and didn’t have any more replacements to make – in the end they deserved to win.”

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