Charlie Hodgson became the highest points scorer in GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP history as Sale Sharks lost 32-25 to Newcastle at Edgeley Park.
Record breaker Hodgson kicked 20 points on the day as he surpassed Jonny Wilkinson’s record haul of 1489 to move to 1492 points.
Even though Sale missed the chance to capitalise on Gloucester’s defeat at Leicester, the day belonged their number ten. 28-year-old Hodgson, who made his debut for the Sharks against Auch in 2000, entered the record books in the 65th minute with a penalty that drew the Sharks level.
Despite Sale establishing a commanding 13-point lead after eight minutes, Newcastle hit back with tries from Jon Golding, Danny Williams, Andrew Fenby and Brent Wilson to earn their third successive away victory; and their fifth in a row in all. Newcastle’s final try was scored in the 78th minute and earned a bonus point.
Sale were full of attacking intent from the start and with a line-out deep in Newcastle territory, lock Dean Schofield drove to the line. From the resulting ruck, Dwayne Peel put Neil Briggs over from close range to open the scoring after six minutes. Hodgson slotted the conversion and added two further penalties.
Falcons’ fly-half Tom May kept the Falcons’ scoreboard ticking over with two penalties before Newcastle made the breakthrough after 29 minutes. Prop Golding finally found a gap in the Sharks’ imperious defence to crash over but May sliced the conversion wide.
The Falcons caught Sale napping two minutes after the restart. The ball was shipped wide and Jamie Noon put Williams over in the far corner with May landing the conversion.
Hodgson restored Sale’s lead five minutes later with a penalty. May then sent a penalty wide but Newcastle were soon in control as substitute Fenby scored on his debut after 52 minutes. Alex Tait made a jinking run through the Sale defence which was only halted by a last-ditch tackle by Nick Macleod. But the ball was shipped wide and Mark Sorenson shipped the ball to Fenby for an easy run in; May converting.
Hodgson added a further penalty and brought Sale to within three points when he slotted over another penalty when Newcastle lock Tim Swinson was sent to the sinbin. Wilkinson’s record was then broken in the 65th minute as Hodgson drew Sale level.
But Newcastle spoiled the celebrations as they overturned the Sale scrum five metres out and Wilson crossed the line. May kicked the conversion to hand the Falcons victory.