Gomarsall leaves on low note

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The Independent Online

Andy Gomarsall's decision to leave Bedford at the end of the season was greeted with the sort of enthusiasm that Frank Warren could expect on announcing that he was returning to Goldington Road. Coming less than a fortnight before Bedford face the play-offs against Rotherham, which will decide if they retain their Premiership One status, the timing of Gomarsall's statement could hardly have been more insensitive.

Having revived Bedford's on-field attitude and morale - though not results - since the members bought the club back from the Bahamas-based Jefferson Lloyd International Group, Gomarsall has resurrected his international career and was on England's bench throughout their Six Nations' Championship campaign.

Gomarsall's intention to avoid the possibility of playing Division Two rugby next season could see him at Leicester if they fail to sign Cardiff's Robert Howley.

Gomarsall's move cast a dark shadow over their final league match of a season in which they have recorded just one Premiership victory. With this being seen as a dress rehearsal for the first leg of the play-offs at Clifton Lane on Wednesday week, Bedford were at full strength, but were still unable to deny Sale their second league win away from home since they triumphed at Harlequins in October.

Bedford: Tries Connolly 2, Black, Winters, Stewart; Conversions Gomarsall 2, Hughes; Penalties Gomarsall 2. Sale: Tries Theron, Sanderson, Manson-Bishop, Knight, Mather, Hanley. Conversions Knight 3, Shaw; Penalties Knight, Shaw 3.

Bedford: S Stewart; P Sackey, A Murdoch, J Connolly, G Truelove; D Hughes, A Gomarsall (capt; C Harrison, 60); A Black (V Hartland, 63), C Pearson (A Davis, 19), A Olver, D Sims, D Saltzman, R Winters (J Cockle, 75), F Rossigneux (M Webber, 26), R Banks.

Sale: J Shaw; M Moore, B-J Mather, R Jones (P Devlin, 58), S Hanley: J Baxendell (capt), P Knight; D Bell, S Diamond (J Clark, 75), D Theron (P Winstanley, 75), G Manson-Bishop, A Whittle (M Tinnock, 63), A Sanderson, R Appleyard (R Wilks 10; J Clark 51-63), P Anglesea.

Referee: C White (Cheltenham).

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