1stXV Welcome Sale For Their First Ever Visit To Dillingham Park
Sale Football Club was founded in 1861 by a team of enthusiastic sportsmen drawn mainly from Sale Cricket Club. The fifth oldest surviving rugby club and the most prominent in the history of the North West.
Sale FC first played games on either a rented portion of Sale Cricket Club or on fields owned by local farmers. Although the club didn’t have a home to call our own, this setup did mean that Sale FC became a very real part of the community and a strong bond was formed with local people, something the club have continued to build upon over the years.
Success on the pitch meant that better facilities were demanded and in 1905 Sale FC bought a field at the end of Heywood Road. Better training grounds and social facilities, coupled with the formidable force of the 1910/11 squad took the club to an unprecedented P26, W24, D2 season.
Over the years, Sale FC have featured many prominent international and County players. Pat Davies became the first England international in 1927 and the ‘Roaring Thirties’ brought about an international backline; Hal Sever (England wing), Claude Davey and Wilf Wooller (Wales centres) and Ken Fyfe (Scotland wing). Fran Cotton, Steve Smith, Dewi Morris, Richard Trickey and Jason Robinson are just some of the more recent players to have played at Sale, check them out in the club’s hall of fame
Prior to World War II, an increase in membership meant that the Club had almost outgrown facilities at Heywood Road and so an additional site on Woodbourne Road was purchased. Initially this was meant to be a training ground for the junior team but there were talks to eventually relocate the rest of the Club there too. Post war the priorities changed leading to the further development of Heywood Road. A new clubhouse was built, the old bath house was replaced by squash courts, changing facilities were improved, floodlights installed and the commemorative ‘Jim Birtles Stand’ replaced the old bike shed.
The success and growth of Sale FC in recent years has enabled the club to invest even further into the facilities and the purchase of land at Carrington for training purposes. This site is now regarded as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ and is used not only by Sale FC but by the club’s professional friends over at Sale Sharks and even a number of international clubs too.
Whilst five star facilities are important for development and growth, it is the enthusiasm and dedication of the people at Sale FC that really make for such a great club. From players to clubhouse secretaries, supporters to groundsmen, everyone has an important role to play.
Promoted as Champions of National 2 North last season Sale lie 10th in National 1 with a played 28 Won 12 record. Last week Sale defeated Plymouth Albion at home 31-22 to secure another season in National 1. They have two players Connor Doherty and Christian Taylor who have been rewarded this season with England u19 and England Students call ups.
Last week our 1stXV secured a bonus point win away at Moseley despite a strong second half comeback from the home side, our promotion rivals Old Elthamians failed to secure the 4 try bonus point restoring our lead at the top of National 1 to 5pts. OE’s have another tough game this week away at Bishop’s Stortford, it is possible that we may secure promotion to the Championship this weekend, be there or you’ll regret it.
Director of Rugby Mark Lavery comments “It’s Sale FC’s first visit to Dillingham, they play an exciting brand of rugby which is really entertaining to watch so I’m sure it will be a good contest.
We played well in parts last week but we didn’t put an 80 minute performance together so we are hoping to improve on that on Saturday.
Regrettably Richmond can not fulfil the 1881’s fixture so we only have two games at home this week with the 1sts and 5ths both kicking off at 15:00 on the top pitches.”