National III North newcomers Huddersfield YMCA were given little chance against a Sale team predicted to be the runaway winners of the league but went down by just 37-35.
Sale were made to work for their win in a game which went right down to the wire.
YM were still looking for their first win in the new league, while table-toppers Sale had an unblemished record, but the Laund Hill outfit proved they are not going to be an easy touch for any opponent this term.
Despite being without a few key players, YM were on the front foot from the start and they tested the Sale defence with Adam Ryder breaking through to score the first try of the game.
Unfortunately man of the match Gavin Stead missed the conversion.
From the re-start the kick was fumbled and Sale were on it like a flash and recycled the ball, before spreading it wide to left winger Stelmaszek who scooted over in the corner to level the scores and McGovern was adrift with the conversion.
YM responded with a Stead penalty, but shortly afterwards another penalty chance went begging.
Stead more than made up for it with his next touch as he collected the ball deep into his own half and made a thundering break before finding Tom Bullock on the wing and the youngster won the race to the corner to touchdown – but the try went unconverted.
Sale were a man down as hooker Briggs was sent to the sin-bin for a tip tackle and the YM took the opportunity to press forward.
A break out of defence by Stead saw a number of players in support and Ryder was the recipient of the final pass and he went over for his second score, unfortunately Stead was off target with the kick.
As half-time approached Sale pressure was rewarded with a try from Chris Mayor and McGovern added the extra points and Sale were back in the game at 18-12 on the stroke of half-time.
From the start of the second half Sale picked up the pace and there was more urgency in their approach to the game.
They earned a penalty which McGovern converted to bring the score to within three points, but YM weren’t going to give up easily and Stead held his nerve to get a penalty of his own to take the lead back to six.
Sale came thundering back and flanker Aigbokhae forced his way through a gap and took advantage of some slack YM tackling to score to the right of the posts and McGovern added the extras to nose 22-21 in front.
They extended that lead only minutes later as winger Moorhouse managed to find a gap to scorch through for a try out wide, but McGovern failed to add the conversion.
YM refused to yield and again came back on the attack with player-coach Mark Whitehead making a break with support outside him, he dummied once and opted for a long pass to Bullock who sprinted to the line for a fine score. Stead converted and once again the YM had their noses in front.
Within minutes a loose ball was pounced on and hacked forward leaving a race for the line between a number of players, the ball cruelly struck the post and bounced back into play only to find Ryder backing up, and the centre collected the ball and to complete his hat trick and Stead added the conversion.
It was nail-biting stuff and Sale showed why they are rated as the side to beat in this league.
The visitors came back on the offensive and were awarded a penalty with five minutes to go.
The Sale captain elected to take a shot at goal andMcGovern again reduced the margin to five points – and in the final few minutes Sale threw everything at the Laund Hill side.
YM felt that they were hard done by when the referee seemed to indicate a penalty to the home side for Sale crossing, but appeared to change his mind and awarded the YM a scrum for accidental offside.
The YMCA scrum was tiring with various changes of personnel leaving regular hooker Niall Murphy stepping up to prop and the scrum was wheeled beyond the 90 degrees and the next put in was awarded to Sale.
From the scrum they pressed and were awarded a penalty which they opted to kick into the corner and from the line-out the ball was sent to back rower Waddy who took charge of matters and forced his way through to score and level the game.
McGovern kept his nerve and kicked his side infront with no time left on the clock.
Huddersfield YMCA: Stead; Van Rooyen, Ryder, Dalby, Bullock; Clarke, Wilson; Dyke, Hill, Moore, Bell, Housley, Whitehead, Hodge, Lumb. Interchange: Murphy, Willans, Aspinall