Rugby union round-up: Leeds Tykes suffer as Sale battle back to claim victory

Leading at half-time, Leeds Tykes let hosts Sale fight back to take a 21-17 National One victory and leave the Yorkshire side in the bottom three.

Exeter Chiefs’ Will Witty scores his side’s third try of the game at Sale on Sunday in the Premiership. The Chiefs won 25-15.  Picture: Martin Rickett/PA

Things started well enough for the Tykes. After Sale ran in an early try on 11 minutes, Leeds’s full-back Charlie Venables kicked a penalty and converted a try from centre Jacob Mounsey on 26 minutes to take a 10-5 lead.

Mounsey and Venables then combined in similar fashion eight minutes later to put their side 17-5 ahead. Sale pulled back a second try to narrow the gap to 17-12 at half time, but hopes were high of the Yorkshire side building on their lead.

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However, Sale tightened up their defence and crept ahead with two penalties shortly after the break, and another five minutes before the whistle sealed Leeds’s fourth loss in five games so far.

Hull Ionians maintained their good form in National Two (North) with a 36-13 win at Yorkshire rivals Harrogate.

Ionians are now one of three teams at the top with four wins from five matches, while conversely Harrogate have lost four of their first five and are second bottom. An even first half saw the scores fairly level.

Centre Sam Fox kicked two penalties and a conversion for the home side, while Ionians No 8 Callum Sanderson had touched down and stand-off Ben Smith added a penalty. But the second half belonged to the East Yorkshire side. Second row Joseph Makin levelled the scores at 13-13 after 52 minutes, and a run of three penalties from Smith on 66, 69 and 72 minutes put Hull Ionians 22-13 ahead.

Wing forward George Mewburn added a third try for the visitors, Smith converting, and centre Josh Britton’s last-minute try secured the four-try bonus point as well as the win.

Rotherham Titans are top of the early National Two table after a hard-fought 28-13 win over Fylde at Clifton Lane.

Stand-off Jonny West kicked three penalties and converted two tries by No 8 Callum Bustin, while replacement Richard Stout also touched down.

Like their city rivals Ionians, Hull secured an away victory with a 17-11 verdict at Tynedale.

After a penalty from stand-off Simon Humberstone opened their account No 8 William Hall added a try which Humberstone improved to take a 10-0 lead.

Tynedale hit back to briefly lead 11-10 with a try and two penalties, but Sam Crane’s 65th minute try and Humberstone’s conversion left Hull victorious.

Wharfedale secured their first win of the league season so far with a 23-8 victory over Blaydon.

Winger Rian Hamilton and replacement Sam Gaudie scored the Yorkshire side’s tries, while centre Tom Davidson kicked two penalties and one conversion, leaving Jack Blakeney-Edwards to tag on one conversion and penalty.

Leading 10-0 until the hour mark, Huddersfield were left to rue missed chances after their 12-10 loss to visitors Luctonians.

Stand-off Joseph Potter kicked a first-half penalty and converted a 34th-minute try from Liam Parfitt on 34 minutes to go ahead.

However, they had no answer as Luctonians ran in two tries and a conversion in the final 20 minutes.

Sheffield Tigers left Chester empty-handed after a 35-24 loss.

Full-back Robert Davidson scored two tries and wing forward Connor Scott added one, while Mark Ireland kicked all conversions and a penalty – but it wasn’t enough to stop Chester running in five tries.

Otley are top of the North Premier Division after securing a fifth victory in a row, overcoming hosts Billingham 23-16.

York narrowly lost out 22-21 at Macclesfield, while Sandal were beaten 56-12 at home by high-flying Preston Grasshoppers.

Driffield are top of North One East after a 46-0 drubbing of Morpeth. However, unbeaten Ilkley are just two points behind with a game in hand.

Elsewhere, Exeter Chiefs’ director of rugby Rob Baxter felt their first-half performance laid the platform for a much-needed first Premiership victory of the season.

Despite going 10-0 down and failing to make a dent in the Sale Sharks defence in the opening 39 minutes, they dominated possession in the second quarter and eventually got their reward.

Henry Slade touched down twice and Will Witty added another try as they secured a 25-15 triumph to get off the mark in 2021-22.

“The key part of the game was that half-an-hour period in the first half where it probably looked like Sale were dominant in defence - it didn’t look like we were going anywhere - but actually that’s part of the wearing down process,” Baxter said.