Match Report for Saturday 22nd October 2016
Rochdale 15 Birkenhead Park 45
Today’s game was won and lost in the first half when Birkenhead’s pack dominated to run in four tries despite brave Dale defence.
The scoring began as early as the third minute when BHP were awarded a penalty in front of the posts and converted to make it 3-0.
Dale responded well and the ball came through the backs to make good ground until Jim Flitcroft was stopped on the BHP 10 metre line.
The visitors then started a strong passing movement down the middle of the pitch battering the Dale defence back under their own posts a short inside pass let in the centre to score under the posts the conversion followed and Dale found themselves 10-0 down after 10 mins play.
The return of Dom Serridge at scrum half allowed Townsend to join West in the centres and with good line out ball they caused plenty of headaches for the BHP defence without being able to quite penetrate the final line to score. In one such move Flitcroft linked up well and got past his tackler only to be forced into touch.
Meanwhile at the other end of the pitch Dale were struggling to contain the rampant BHP pack who are a formidable unit, the play went into the Dale 22 and a heavy tackle on the BHP winger Tyrer led to a penalty from the line out the ball was taken in by the visitors pack and driven over the line for a converted try 17-0 with 25 mins gone.
From the re-start Dale had the ball and a good passing move saw West break thru’ on the 22 metre line and feed a short kick thru’ for Townsend to chase over the line but the referee was on the spot to judge that he had not made contact for the touch down. That let off only encouraged BHP to re-double their efforts and under pressure Dale gave away another penalty which took the play to their 10 metre line. The line out was won and the maul made ground almost to the line and when the ball came out it was an simple task to touch down under the posts 24-0 on 35 mins.
There was still time for two more scores before half time the first being a copy of the first try for BHP after a penalty was given to them 10 metres out the ball disappeared up the number 8’s jersey and the pack crashed over for a converted try 31-0.
Dale had the last laugh as they pressed gamely to try to break the stubborn BHP defence both Townsend and West were proving a handful and after West was take out by his opposite number the referee gave a penalty. Oli Coldman slotted the ball over to make the half time score 31-3.
Rochdale started the 2nd half well but found it hard to get past the Bhp 22 metre line but after a penalty Dale won the line out and filtered the ball out to West who forced his way through the visitors defence to score a well deserved try which was converted by Coldman. 31-10
Dale continued to press through the backs and play ended up being stopped for several minutes after an incident between West and his opposite number saw several players get involved and ended with West and the BHP winger being yellow carded.
The game descended into a kicking match for a while with neither side able to settle back into an attacking mode.
Dale then conceded a penalty close to the posts and BHP elected to run the ball and scored under the posts to make it 38-10 after 75 mins. The visitors kept on pressing and Ross Hartley was penalized for holding up play from the resulting penalty the referee awarded a penalty try to BHP and issued another yellow card against Dale 45-10.
In the final minute Jim Flitcroft went over in the corner for a well deserved consolation try in the corner final score 45-15.
Next week sees Rochdale visit Warrington always a lively fixture.
Dave Rhodes R.R.U.F.C.