On Wednesday night (4th February) Manchester City boss Kevin Keegan said to his coach Derek Fazackerley as they came back out for the second half trailing 3-0 to Tottenham Hotspur: "Where's the nearest job centre?"
Kevin's employment concerns were resolved when his team pulled of the most unexpected of comebacks last to win the game 4-3.
Unfortunately for Sale, this most memorable of sporting retorts did not go unnoticed by the NEC Harlequins Under 21 players, from which they seemingly drew inspiration for their own improbable comeback, bringing some FA Cup like spirit to the wind swept surroundings of the Military Stadium, Aldershot.
Sale's early dominance began with a score under the Quins posts just five minutes into the game. The try came directly from a Quins scrum won against the head, which would prove to be telling as, at the times when Sale were the controlling side in the fixture, the common denominator was their ability to control the set-piece.
In these stages of the game Quins seemed to lack both direction and cohesion with the ball in hand, with much possession being turned back over to Sale via needless kicks. The scoreboard kept ticking over through a Sale penalty, following persistent pressure notably from their formidable driving lineout.
The somewhat indifferent attitude some of the Quins players had adopted in the first half was proving costly when several sloppy missed tackles were punished by the Sale wing who made no mistake in scoring their second try down the left flank. It meant the half-time scoreboard read 15-0 to the visitors, with Quins showing little to suggest that Sale would not continue their scoreboard ascendancy in the second half.
Disappointingly, the second half began (in some chronological mirror like fashion) just like the first, with an early Sale try. This time by way of their international Under 19 loosehead prop.
The scoreline was now a depressing 20-0. However, the mood was lifted by a well-taken penalty by Quins fly half Luke Cousins. Fortunately this was not a one off and four minutes later Quins open side flanker Chris Cracknell did his best to make his exclusion in the England Under 21 set-up even harder to believe by scoring one of the most excellent individual try's any player may wish to score.
The now rejuvenated Quins team started to play towards what they were capable of; their previous starvation of possession and territory was now replaced by a comparative over indulgence. The follow on being time and space for the consistently impressive Tom Allen to run an incisive arc through the Sale defence, with Cousins then adding the extras to take the score to 15-20. A Quins victory was now becoming a possibility.
The Quins scrum was now operating with considerably more effectiveness which allowed scrum half Duncan James to powerfully dart through the Sale close defences and score after picking up at the base of the set-piece. The resulting kick by Cousins took Quins into the lead for the first time in the game (22-20).
The shock of leading the fixture obviously proved too much for the Quins players, who then proceeded to allow Sale possession and territory to mount attacks on the Quins try line.
Great character was shown at this point by Sale in responding to going behind. They did this in the best possible way by scoring a try with just minutes remaining. The conversion was missed and it seemed that for all of Quins second half efforts, victory would be snatched away at the last moment.
However, James was clearly not of this line of thought as, with just seconds left on the clock, he took the opportunity of a tap penalty to catch Sale unaware. He then sold a dummy that Mothercare would have been proud of and found himself in the no-mans land between the defensive line and the full back. With absolute confidence in his supporting team-mates he launched the deftest of chips into the bottom right corner, for the on coming Brown to gather and score.
The resulting conversion was missed, which mattered not as this was to be the last play of the game with Quins the victors by 27-25.
During week commencing 22nd April Harlequins will launch an innovative, new Membership Scheme which will replace the existing Season Ticket Holder Programme. Further details of the scheme will be announced in due course.