Altrincham Kersal 43 v 28 RRUFC
Kersal have had a similar start to the season as Dale but came out winners in this fair paced game at Stelfox Ave.
Rochdale made errors from the start and Kersal raced away to a 12-0 lead with only 15 minutes gone, Dale failed to tackle on several occasions and gifted the ball to Kersal in the first two of their tries. Kersal’s first try although unconverted was after the referee judged that Rochdale had pulled a maul down and from the resulting penalty Kersal were on their way. James Duffy returning to the first team put his marker down for his position, he kicked well throughout the match and had much influence all day. Townsend had another good game and showed what an asset he is to the team. Kersal scored their second almost from the restart as they did for their third try on 18 minutes.
Rochdale needed to stem the scoring and indeed kept hold of the ball through a couple of phases, Jon Mair received the ball and straight away sent it out wide were an unmarked Callum Duffin used his considerable pace to round the opposition and score Rochdale’s first try, well converted by Coldman. 12-7.
A collapsed scrum had Kyle Parry receiving extensive treatment for a neck injury and that was the end of his game, Rob Ward replaced Parry and after a while found his throwing arm.
Alas Kersal were quickly back in charge when somewhat luckily the ball went straight to their centre who was free and in space and he walked the ball home. The try was unconverted, Oli Coldman then kicked a nice penalty making the score 19-10, penalties were then exchanged and the half finished at 22-13.
The second half had Dale in charge for a while with Kersal looking jittery. The Dale supporters were thinking Rochdale were back in the match. Tom Hindle and Jake Castree were working hard in the middle and the front row led by Callaghan kept the first ten minutes fairly even. Coldman missed a penalty . Hindle and Castree combined to get another penalty for handling on the floor, Coldman uncharacteristically missing again.
Rochdale were applying good pressure on a tiring Kersal and superb handling after a ruck with good support play from Townsend saw Jimmy Flitcroft burst through two tackles and had another tackler holding onto him as he outstretched his arm to score the try of the game. Coldman failed with the conversion 22-18. Townsend ably supporting this time passed to Callaghan who returned the ball and Townsend was caught just short of the line after a fine run. Rochdale had all the pressure at this stage. Within a minute the ball, this time spilled by Kersal came out to Travis Townsend who had the space to round the defender and score near the posts, he converted his own try and Rochdale were ahead 22-25.
This was the apparent signal for Kersal to waken again, or that Rochdale had spent much energy getting back into the match. Kersal ran in three more tries before the end. The first of these was converted to make the score 29-25, Coldman then kicked a further penalty bringing Dale back to 29-28. Hearts in mouths the Rochdale supporters urged their team on, but they were spent.
Final Score 43-28. Rochdale had battled their way back into the game and fought hard throughout the day. A good end to end game with plenty to get the crowd shouting. Christopher Hodgkinson was a welcome return from injury and Danny Joesbury had some game time to increase his experience at this level. A rest week next week with no game. Then Rochdale are at Home on the 22nd October to Birkenhead Park.