My First and the Last Game of the Season Sale v Bath 6th May
July 31 2017
DaveAitch recalls his visit to the AJB to watch Sale run out 27 to 24 winners against Bath on Saturday, 6th May 2017. Many thnaks to Dave for providing an interesting article and for "holding the front page" for another fortnight
So, have you noticed everything starts with “so” these days, I left home a little later than intended, due to this-and-that. My plan was to use the motorway then the A57 and park at the aeroport. It has been mentioned many times the traffic isn't as bad on a Saturday afternoon as it is on a Friday evening and this certainly proved to be the case. All was quite traffic free until the stadium came close. Fortunately the entrance to the parking was just about where the queue ran to so I wasn't caught up in it. I paid my £5 to the pleasant lady and found a parking spot.
It's not too far and a fairly easy walk to the AJ Bell unless mobility is a problem. For instance Ollie, who used to come to games, would struggle to manage it. I would suggest the walk is quicker than the drive.
Things are being done to the road system, so probably the traffic flow will be smoother once complete. I marvelled at the dead, headless pheasant on the roadside and also the new pub, the Barley Farm. Both were photographed but I doubt even H's D would want to see a dead bird on his day off.
I hadn't bought a ticket in advance, which actually paid dividends. There was no queue at all for 'buying on the day' but there was a queue for those picking up tickets already ordered. I bought my ticket for the North Stand, realising a couple of minutes later I meant the South. It was changed without fuss: full marks to the bloke at the ticket office.
I wandered through the beer tent and out again to find the match-day 23 posing with the cheerleaders. I looked at them, the 23 that is. Well, I thought, I know the Currys are only 18 but I didn't expect the rest to look so young. (Sorry the photograph isn't straight but this was the only only that had everyone in.)
One thing did surprise me, and it must just about be the first time in history that the queue for the gents was longer than that for the ladies. I spotted someone well known in the middle of the queue, but I've no idea who he was, or indeed presumably still is, unless it's a case of 'here today, goon tomorrow'. I think he spotted me, too.
There weren't too many people inside the stadium when I went in, but the crowd soon picked up and ended as a reasonably healthy 8,308.
Most of the usual suspects were not in the normal place. I knew iBozz couldn't go, and I did wonder how many of the others might attend the Sale FC v The Southerners (whose name I should know [Ed: Old Elthamians who won 19 to 14 in the play-offs]). Just when I thought I might be able to concentrate on the game up come Mrs. Trellis, wearing a nice peach coloured frock, and H's D who was all enthusiastic about his forthcoming sailing holiday in Scotland.
The game itself? Well the Major reported on it, and I certainly can't better his scribblings. Suffice it to say there was the now expected try from Solomona and one each from Curry and Charnley. Don't ask me which Curry. Bath pressed near the end, but stout defending kept them at bay for Sale to win by three, 27-24, just as the car reg had predicted.
Leaving the stadium on foot was easy, which is more that can be said for most parked at the stadium. The road system does prevent any speedy egress of vehicles. The travel home was pretty straightforward too, arriving back about four hours after leaving. As several have said, Saturday afternoons are significantly easier than Friday nights for travel to the AJ Bell. I note, from the Sale Sharks website, that the plan is to play games at the start and end of the season on Friday nights, with daytime games when the darker days set in, unless TV coverage dictates otherwise. Is that a good compromise? I'm sure everyone will have a view but I think it could work quite well.
If anyone has stuck with this to the end “well done”, but it doesn't really matter as the front page has been kept stocked and the forum kept open.