Northampton Wanderers romped to a 54-12 win as they hosted Sale Jets in the Premiership Rugby Shield, with the victory seeing them rise to second place in the Northern Conference after five outings.
Wanderers had wrapped up the try bonus point before the half-hour mark hit, with first-half tries from Ryan Olowofela, Karl Garside, Sam Matavesi, Tommy Freeman and Josh Gillespie giving them a 35-0 lead.
And though Sale bookended the interval with two tries of their own, Wanderers stormed to victory – adding three more scores from Fraser Strachan, Rob Langley and Morgan Dayes before the final whistle blew.
Wanderers were the first to strike as Northampton speedster Olowofela showed his pace to sprint in from the halfway line – leaving a host of Sale defenders in his wake.
Mathews’ conversion put the home side on the front foot and it was not long before they had their second. Olowfela broke through to get Wanderers up to Sale’s 22 and the forwards took over from there, barging forwards before Garside worked his way over.
Mathews’ added a second conversion to his tally and Wanderers had their third of the night as the clock ticked over the half-hour mark. Ampthill guest Langley trucked the home side close before the ball was worked wide and Matavesi scrambled over in the corner.
A third conversion for Mathews took to score to 21-0 and Wanderers wasted no time securing the try bonus point; again Olowofela started the move, breaking through to get play up to Sale’s 22 before the ball came wide and a brilliant looping pass from Mathews fed Freeman for a walk-in in the corner.
And Wanderers were up and running again from the restart; sending Olowofela and then Gillepsie through the middle before the ball came inside to Harry Mallinder, the fullback charging towards the line before popping up to Gillespie for the score.
Sale enjoyed their first real period of possession just after though, and eventually the pressure paid off for the visitors as they sent Raffi Quirke over on the stroke of half-time.
And the away side took the first blood of the second spell too, sending Joe Sproston over five minutes into the second half but from there it was all Wanderers and after the forwards crashed it close, Strachan stretched over for the home side’s sixth.
A cracking bit of play from deep earned Wanderers’ next score, with Mathews taking it to the line before the ball went through Strachan, Devante Onojaife and Freeman before Langley produced an acrobatic finish in the corner.
And Wanderers added an eighth as the game entered it’s final quarter – slinking up the pitch before shipping the ball to Dayes for the score out wide.
A touchline conversion from Mallinder sent the scoreline to 54-12 and though Wanderers pushed close in the game’s dying minutes looking for a ninth, that was what the scoreline showed as the final whistle blew.