Sedgley Park coach Steve Hazzelby says the impressive home victory over neighbours Sale FC was down to a fine second-half display and proves they can mix it at National League One level.

The Tigers won 26-11 at Park Lane to stay in fourth place after their promotion last season, beating a team that finished second in the division in the previous campaign.

Hazzelby said: “A much-anticipated derby against old rivals Sale FC was a big day for both clubs for bragging rights.

“Sale have been in this league for a number of seasons and had finished second the previous season so this was always going to be a hard, physical contest and so it proved to be.

“It was a well-deserved four-point win and a pleasing second-half performance after cutting out the errors of the first half.

“A special mention to flanker Lewis Bradley, who time after time carried the ball and defended like a demon.”

The opening exchanges were brutal with both defences giving nothing away and it was a tactical battle for territory and possession.

Sedgley scored first with a lovely try for full-back Andy Riley in the bottom left-hand corner after multiple phases in the Sale 22.

The visitors hit back strongly and a penalty in the 19th minute put them back in the game 5-3 down.

A yellow card for number eight Tom Ailes at this point put extra pressure on the Tigers’ defences, but they managed the 10 minutes well and extended their lead with a penalty from fly-half Warren Seals.

However, another penalty from the visitors cut the lead to two points.

Despite this, a well-worked catch-and-drive penalty on the Sale five-metre line saw hooker Danny Maher crash over and Seals added the conversion to give the hosts a 15-6 half-time lead.

It is fair to say the first half was frustrating for the Tigers in that they had created a number of scoring opportunities but had not executed them, giving too many penalties away and turning over possession too easily.

Sale came out strongly in the second half and scored a well-worked try on the left after good phase play in the Sedgley half to make it 15-11 after 50 minutes.

However, the Tigers’ response was almost immediate with a long-range penalty from Seals 45 metres out giving them a bit of breathing space going into the last 20 minutes.

Another penalty five minutes later from Seals meant the visitors would have to score twice to take the lead but the effort and energy from the Tigers was immense, repelling attack after attack and keeping possession well.

Great driving play from the forwards in their 22 then saw centre Oli Glasse cut through and offload to winger Rhys Henderson, who touched down in the top right-hand corner to further extend the lead to 26-11 with 10 minutes to go and Sedgley saw out the win.

The victory keeps them fourth, just three points behind Plymouth in third and Chinnor in second, and only six behind Rams at the top.

On Saturday they travel to Cinderford in the Forest of Dean expecting another tough challenge against an experienced National One side.

Hazzelby added: “We know that this will be another big challenge and a top performance is needed if we are to take the points.

“We will prepare well in the week and go again hopefully keeping the momentum going.”