Sale 21-15 Worcester: Sharks hold off Warriors' fightback
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 09/09/18 6:29pm
England wing Denny Solomona was among Sale's try scorers as they held off an excellent Worcester fightback to seal a 21-15 triumph at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Steve Diamond's charges controlled the opening 40 minutes and deservedly went into the interval 18-0 in front thanks to Josh Beaumont and Solomona tries.
AJ MacGinty added two three-pointers and a conversion against a Worcester side that struggled throughout the first half, but the visitors improved significantly after the interval.
Bryce Heem's score reduced the arrears before Duncan Weir's penalty took them closer to the Sharks, but MacGinty's fourth successful effort off the tee appeared to ease the tension.
Chris Pennell's try did set up a tense finale but Sale secured their first Gallagher Premiership win of the season.
Despite losing their opening two games of the season, Alan Solomons' men have been close in both, although they struggled in the early exchanges in the second round.
Sale dominated possession and, although the Warriors were initially stout in defence, Mark Jennings made an indent in the opposition rearguard and took play up to the 22.
Although that move broke down, the returning centre was threatening again minutes later, but the Sharks failed to get across the whitewash and had to settle for a penalty from their stand-off.
They were not to be denied, however, and an excellent piece of skill from Marland Yarde helped the hosts score their first try of the game.
Diamond's charges once again went through the phases close to the Warriors' line and, following MacGinty's flick, the wing controlled it with his foot, picked up and duly offloaded to Beaumont, who did the rest.
WillGriff John was then denied a score by the television match official after it was adjudged that the tighthead had knocked on before MacGinty extended the home team's buffer.
Worcester had barely touched the ball and, when the visitors did, they were profligate.
Solomona had come within inches of intercepting one loose pass and the Midlanders evidently failed to heed the warning as the England wing successfully pounced to scamper 80 metres and go over unopposed.
Solomons needed a response from the Warriors in the second period and the South African immediately received it as Heem barrelled over the line.
All of a sudden, Worcester had the momentum and almost scored again but they were denied by the TMO. Weir did reward their endeavour by kicking a penalty, but MacGinty hit back almost immediately for the Sharks.
Sale were soon on the back foot once again, though, and the visitors displayed outstanding patience to get back into the contest.
For the second time in the match, they went through over 30 phases and eventually crossed the whitewash. Josh Adams created it, taking an excellent outside line, drawing in Yarde and offloading to Pennell, who finished in the corner.
With the Midlands outfit just six points in arrears, they went in search of the winning try, but the Sale held on for a crucial win.