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Sunday, 26 May, 2002, 16:17 GMT 17:17 UK
No excuses for Ponty
Sale celebrate their Parker Pen Shield victory
Sale's defence stayed strong in the closing stages

Pontypridd captain Paul John supported full-back Brett Davey's decision not to attempt a late penalty kick that could have levelled the Parker Pen Shield final against Sale.

John declared that the decision to kick for touch in the closing stages remained the right one, despite his side losing out 25-22 at Oxford's Kassam Stadium.

"It wasn't a one-off," he said. "It was a balanced decision. We felt that with the wind we'd put it into touch.


Gaining qualification for Europe was obviously a pre-season goal but winning something is superb
Sale captain Bryan Redpath

"We'd just scored by driving over from a line-out and we thought we could do it again."

John added that Sale's defence had ultimately sealed a match that Ponty needed to win to secure Heineken Cup qualification.

"Their defence was superb," he said. "Whatever we threw at them came straight back at us.

"I couldn't see us scoring again - that was the problem. They're a very good side."

Sale secured the victory with three second-half tries from Martin Shaw, Steve Hanley and Dan Harris after being 15-3 down at the break.

And captain Bryan Redpath was clearly delighted with his side's fightback.

"I was disappointed at half-time," he said. "We knew we could do better and we showed in the final period before the break.

"This is a massive day for the club. Gaining qualification for Europe was obviously a pre-season goal - but winning something is superb, especially a competition as big as this one."


It's devastating that we haven't managed to qualify for the Heineken Cup
Pontypridd coach Lynn Howells

Sale boss Jim Mallinder admitted that success would help the club to gain more of a foothold in the north-west.

"We're trying to build something," he said. "And winning a massive trophy like this is vital for us.

"We knew Ponty would come at us from the start and all credit to the guys for sticking in there and recovering well.

"We've had some great travels this year and this is a wonderful day for the club."

Pontypridd coach Lynn Howells was understandably disappointed with the result.

"It's devastating that we haven't managed to qualify for the Heineken Cup," he said.

"But we'll have to pick ourselves up. We'll regroup and get there next season by finishing higher in the league.

"And we'll come back and win the Parker Pen Shield."

He added that it was a 'game too far' for his team, saying: "Lifting our game again was always going to be difficult.

"It wasn't physical tiredness, but mentally and emotionally it was a game too far for the players."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Sale number eight Pete Anglesea
"This means a lot to me"
Pontypridd captain Paul John
"We couldn't break down Sale's defence"
Pontypridd coach Lynn Howells
"It was a big ask to reach Europe by winning a cup final"

Heineken Cup final

Matt Dawson

Parker-Pen final

SPORTS TALK

EUROPEAN STATISTICS
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