This was a very impressive performance from Park to end Sale’s unbeaten home run of more than a season, all the more so because Sale proved to be a very good side indeed.

Park’s afternoon got off to the worst possible start when, with only two minutes on the clock, scrum half Russ Weir had his box-kick clearance charged down and the ball fell nicely for Sale centre Jack Moorhouse to score, converted by fly half Chris Johnson for 7-0.

Park soon showed they had not come to make up the numbers, an immense attack putting pressure on the home try line, Park eventually driving over for flanker Henry Spencer to claim the try. Fly half Greg Lound converted for 7-7 on six minutes.

Sale were attacking with pace and power enough to trouble any defence, but Park stuck to their task, making some immense tackles. When Park did get the ball to the other end, however, Sale looked distinctly vulnerable to the power and organization of the visiting pack.

On 15 minutes Park were caught offside, allowing Johnson a penalty to regain the lead at 10-7.

At this stage Sale were the better side and made it tell with a searing attack up the left five minutes later that led to prop Simon Griffiths touching down out wide. Johnson nailed a superb touchline conversion for 17-7.

Park came back to test the home defence until a knock-on intervened.  But they refused to let Sale settle, won a penalty that was kicked to the corner and Sale had no answer to a perfectly executed catch-and-drive, hooker Tom Vaughan-Edwards touching down from the back of the pack.  Lound hit a good conversion to reduce the deficit to 17-14.

Park very nearly snatched the lead with a repeat performance but Sale managed to get enough bodies in the way to retain a three-point lead at the interval.

Park came out fired up for the second half and were soon pressing the home line. Eventually the dam broke and flanker Jack Barnard touched down for Park, Lound’s conversion giving the visitors a 21-17 lead.

Sale still looked dangerous on the ball, but Park’s defence was simply superb. On the hour Johnson brought Sale within a point with a drop goal, but paradoxically it could also be seen as an admission that there was no way through Park’s defensive wall.

The visitors were now the better side, and underlined the fact when young back-row replacement Hugh Tizard marked a distinctly promising debut in senior rugby with his first try after Park spent a period battering the home line. Lound converted for 28-20.

The home side were not completely out of it yet. A further penalty by Johnson on 69 minutes took them within 5 points at 28-23.

With five minutes remaining, Park were awarded a penalty at the very limit of Lound’s range and the fly half struck it superbly to secure the win at 31-28.

Sale had two late penalties, and the fact that both were kicked for the losing bonus point rather than to go for a try said everything about Park’s grip on the game. Both missed, the last being the final kick of the match. Full back Henry Robinson shouted to his players, “Great win, lads”. No one could disagree.

Next Saturday Rosslyn Park are at home to the side at the bottom of the table in the form of Loughborough. The Midlands side scraped out of relegation trouble last season after borrowing a number of players from Leicester, but started this term by losing their first seven matches, conceding nearly 300 points in the process. However, they turned things round last Saturday with a 39-27 win over pre-season title favourites Darlington Mowden Park and will be desperate to record another win to ease their relegation worries.

They always have a large contingent of alumni supporting them when they play in London, and Park will need to be fully on their mettle to avoid a potential banana skin.