Old Elthamians were stunned by a try at the death on Saturday as they lost a 12-try thriller at Heywood Road.

Sale centre Jack Moorhouse forced his way over the try line four minutes from time to complete an impressive second half comeback from the home side and left injury-hit Elthamians wondering what might have been.

Three times in the second period, the visitors pulled away with a 10-point advantage and on each occasion they allowed Sale to claw their way back into the game and ultimately snatch victory.

The home side had made a strong start to this incident-packed, end-to-end encounter, opening up a 14-0 lead after only 12 minutes through tries by man of the match Sale wing Paulo Odugwe and hooker Christian Taylor.

But Elthamians stunned the home crowd with a three-try burst in the space of six minutes. First fly-half Tom White, on his 250th appearance for the club, crossed from five metres out after good work from his pack. Then wing Ben Howard sprinted 40 metres for a wonderful solo score before lock Charlie Self gave OEs the lead for the first time when he forced his way over from close range.

However, with Elthamians threatening to cut loose, the game was halted for 72 minutes for Sale full-back Jonty Rawcliffe to receive medical attention after a nasty collision with Elthamians captain Hamish Barton.

Once the ambulance had departed and the game restarted with 12 minutes of the first half still to play, Elthamians picked up where they left off, skipper Barton crashing over by the posts after an excellent initial break from Kieran Moffat.

Leading 24-14 at the interval, it was Sale who struck first in the second period when Odugwe out-stripped the OEs midfield for the try, but it took the visitors just three minutes to restore their 10 point advantage, hooker Nathan Morris bursting away from a driven maul in the Sale 22.

The game had been played at a furious pace throughout and as gaps started to appear in two tiring defences, both sides were quick to take advantage.

Sale cut the deficit again when flanker Adam Aigbokhae stormed through a gap in midfield, Elthamians replying with their sixth try of the afternoon when centre Alex Brown charged over from a scrum five metres out.

Leading 38-28 in the final quarter, Elthamians looked to be heading for their fifth win in six games. Instead, it was the home side who sparked a dramatic swing in momentum. Odugwe completed his hat-trick on 65 minutes with a jinking run down the narrow side and with the visitors hanging on desperately to a four point lead in the closing moments, Moorehouse collected a lovely inside pass and raced away down the left touchline to score the match-winning try.