Wilmslow 28 Rochdale 12
On an overcast but warm day at Pownall Park Dale were missing seven regular players but still fielded a talented young side to face third in the league Wilmslow.
Dale started the better side with good tackling, solid play in the rucks and mauls, Wilmslow looked disjointed and some poor handling led to the visitors gaining ground and after seven minutes Dale were awarded a penalty 30 metres out in front of the posts the kick by Oli Coldman falling just short.
Most of the play was in the Wilmslow half and Dale pressed hard without getting the final pass or breakthrough they needed West and Joesbury were a constant threat and it was the scrum half combining with full back Coldman who put together a great passing move that Jonny Mair finished with a try , Coldman couldn’t convert so 5-0 to Dale who looked in charge after the first half hour.
Ten minutes later after a lot of Wilmslow pressure the visitors gave away a penalty in front of the posts which was kicked 5-3. The penalty count began to mount against Dale and they conceded another one in the same spot leading to a simple conversion 6-5 with half time looming. The ball was taken in by Wilmslow from the re-start and after a tight passing move the home side were on the Dale 22 when what was judged a high tackle by West on his opposite number led to a further penalty which was well taken by the Wilmslow fly half leaving the half time score 9-5 to the hosts despite Dale having had most of the ball and played in their opponents half for the bulk of the time.
The second half carried on were the first had ended and from the kick off despite Dale taking the ball they were driven back into their own 22 lost a scrum and Wilmslow drove forward to score under the posts and convert 16-5.
In all this Dale’s young pack with Bradley, Sutherland , Castree and Johnson did well and battled for every scrum and line out. The increasing pressure from the Wilmslow pack caused some handling errors and eventually they scored again on 60 mins but the conversion was missed 21-5.
Five minutes later Dale were back in the game West just failing to go over in the corner after a good break from the base of the scrum by Joesbury.
West took the clearance kick from Wilmslow and fed in sub Gleeson making his debut he battered his way to within a meter of the line the ref saw an infringement and awarded a penalty try, Coldman dispatched the kick 21-12 game on.
With Wilmslow down to 14 after a yellow card in the penalty try incident Dale had a real chance to get back into the match. Wilmslow continued to press and with Sutherland having to go off with a bang to the head a scrum 10 meters out was won against the head by Dale but the resulting clearance kick was taken by the sub. Full back who made full use and fed the wing forward Harvey who found a gap to score near the posts. The conversion left the score 28-12.
Dale continued to press with Gleeson and West combining well and only being stopped on the line by desperate Wilmslow defending. Another yellow card against Wilmslow left them with 13 men for a while but despite heavy Dale pressure the score stayed at 28-12. A much better performance by a patched together Dale side who, had they taken first half chances could have won this game. Next Saturday at the earlier start time of 2.15 pm Dale take on Blackburn at Moorgate Avenue. Special mention to the 2nd team who beat Stockport 65-0 after the previous week’s record defeat quite an achievement.
Dave Rhodes R.R.U.F.C