Sale Sharks won 24-7 at Caldy last weekend in the Premiership Rugby Cup, but were made to work hard for the bonus-point victory.

The Sharks started the better of the two sides in the torrential rain and were in front inside two minutes when they took a quick penalty and the ball got to Jean-Luc du Preez who went over and despite the missed conversion, it looked like it could be a long afternoon for the Ravers.

As conditions worsened, and with the visitors camped on the Caldy try line, the home side managed to repel everything thrown at them, but the away side didn’t allow the hosts to break through, leaving the game in a long-kicking stalemate.

Just after the half-hour mark, Du Preez used his strength to power through for his second of the afternoon and with the conversion successful it gave the visitors a 12-point lead, an advantage they would hold until the break.

At the start of the second half, Sale came out of the blocks firing again, scoring after two minutes from the restart when Sam Dugdale powered the ball over the line to extend the lead to 17 points.

Caldy continued with a long-kicking game and their persistence paid off from a scrum on the halfway line when Callum Wilkinson went over the line under the posts, with Lewis Barker adding the extras to bring the Wirral side within 10 points.

The game then became scrappy with the weather not good for free-flowing rugby. Caldy won a number of penalties, opting for the lineout in preference to taking the points in the hope of getting another try to level the match.

This play shook Sale who were unable to get into any rhythm and looked edgy as they went after the bonus-point try.

As the game reached its conclusion, the difference between the professional game and semi-professional was clearly seen as Caldy began to tire and Sale took advantage in the final play to score the bonus point through a try from Ben Bamber.

After the game Sale supporters agreed Caldy put in a great performance and will be a force in the coming Championship league season.

The win makes it two wins and two defeats for Sharks in Pool 2 as they sit third on 11 points.

They have also beaten Bedford Blues 47-12 at home but lost 18-14 at home against Leicester Tigers and 23-10 at Newcastle Falcons.

They wrap up the group at home against Ampthill tomorrow night (7.45pm).

Their Premiership opener takes place on Sunday week when they host Northampton Saints.