Old Elthamians moved back to the top of the National One table on Saturday after scoring 20 unanswered second half points to secure their third successive victory.

OEs had conceded early scores in their three previous games, but they started brightly and after Sale were reduced to 14 men following a yellow card to lock Rhys Davies, they opened the scoring on 13 minutes when No.8 Ben King dived over from close range.

Despite having little possession early on, Sale hit back with a two try-burst in seven minutes. Full-back Jonty Rawcliffe was the first to an OEs chip in midfield to run the ball back 40 metres for the try. Then industrious No.8 Tom Ailes stole possession from the base of a ruck on the edge of the OEs 22 and galloped over by the posts.

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However, the home side cut the deficit to just two points on the stroke of half-time when skipper Hamish Barton took a quick tapped penalty before off-loading to centre Kieran Moffat who raced over for the try.

It was to prove a pivotal moment because although Sale made a bright start after the interval, with a strong wing against them in the second half, they never looked like breaching the miserly OEs defence.

Once Elthamians had retaken the lead with a 49th minute White penalty, they took a firm stranglehold on proceedings for the remainder of this hard fought contest.

Moffat and prop Lewis Brown combined superbly in midfield to set up winger George Perkins for Elthamians’ third try on 57 minutes. White added a second penalty shortly after before the bonus point was secured four minutes from time when replacement prop Cam Holenstein barrelled over from close range.

“I thought we played very well,” said OEs DoR Gavin Lach. “Sale had a big wind advantage in the first half but our try on the stroke of half-time was absolutely crucial.

“We soaked up pressure very well at the start of the second half, but it was the way we played that was so pleasing - our patience when we had the ball in hand was excellent against a strong Sale side.”