Sale FC 59 Preston Grasshoppers 14
Promotion-chasing Sale FC ran in nine tries against an already relegated Preston Grasshoppers side.
Hoppers were 14-12 ahead at Heywood Road, but Sale showed why they occupy a play-off place with a ruthless display.
Hoppers head coach Garth Dew said: “I was proud of the effort today despite the scoreline.
“We had 18-year-old Jack Grandby on debut in the second row, and James Mawdsley playing his first game for more than two years at this level, and other lads playing out of position or with niggles, so to be in the game for 50 minutes against a very strong sale side was commendable.
“We’ll have a light week of training now and look to try and finish the season on a positive note next week by beating Wharfedale at home.”
Sale took the lead after only four minutes when Gareth Rawlings touched down out wide.
That lead was soon doubled through Sale Sharks loanee Paulo Odogwu, who showed his class by beating numerous defenders for a well taken individual score, with Liam McGovern converting this time.
Hoppers responded on 15 minutes when Connor Trueman picked up a loose ball and ran in from 22 meters against the run of play. The visitors then led when fellow winger Jacob Browne capitalised on another Sale error to score in the corner, and Lewis Allen adding the extras.
Sale showed their strength by responding through Jamie Bache, before Tom Davenport crashed over from a line-out in the half’s final act, to put the hosts 26-14 ahead.
Sale then cut loose in the second period and dominated the half. Odogwu bagged his second as Sale ran in five tries in ruthless fashion to settle the tie.
Further tries came through Sam Stelmaszek, Liam Sanderson, Ciaran Connolly and Matt Posselthwaite, who completed the rout when he crashed over from a driving maul to guarantee Sale’s play-off place.
They need to pick up four points away at Otley in their final regular season match to guarantee a home draw in the play-off, while Hoppers entertain Wharfedale in their final match at National League Two North level.