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Dale fail to find last week’s form

David Rhodes.


On a bleak and chilly afternoon Dale travelled to third from bottom Leigh to try to snatch some more points in their struggle to stay up.

Things started well as Dale pressing forward were awarded a penalty just outside the Leigh 22, Oli Coldman was on target 3-0 after only 3 minutes played.

The next 10 mins was all Leigh as they battered at the Dale line until the move ended with a scrum to the visitors that was collapsed and Coldman cleared to the home 22 with a great kick. Jimmy Flitcroft and Richard West both had good breaks well supported by the pack but Leigh defended well until Flitcroft was taken down by a high tackle just inside the 22 up stepped Coldman but just failed to reach his target 20 minutes gone still 3-0.

Unlike last week Dale were losing a high percentage of their line outs and from one such set back on their own 10 metre line Leigh finally went over in the corner the conversion was made 7-3.

With half time looming it was all Leigh with the Dale defence holding on heroically but as the home side probed and battered the visitors line a ball was slipped out to the centre who scored and with the conversion missed it was 12-3 at half time.

The second half started with Leigh still tails up camped in the Dale 10 metre area again solid defence eventually the ball was turned over but in the break out Leigh were penalized again for a high tackle this time the offender got a card and 10 mins. in the cooler.

No sooner had that happened than in the next ruck Dale Captain Tom Callaghan was given his orders for an offence best known to the ref. Jake Castree had to come off for Harry Hill to come in as replacement prop.

Dale tried to run the ball out of defence but final passing and poor kicks let the home side back in the game and eventually Leigh were awarded a penalty right under the posts which they took to make it 15-3 after 65 mins.

With both sides back to 15 men the game ebbed and flowed but lost line outs and dropped passes cost Dale dearly and soon attacks were turned into desperate defence but try as they may Leigh could not break the Dale line.

In the final minutes a bizarre series of penalties saw two more Leigh forwards yellow carded for slowing up play as Dale pressed for some reward . They finally scored in the corner with seconds to go but the conversion was just wide so the final score was 15-8 only one bonus point for a hard afternoons work.

Next Saturday Dale face Altrincham Kersal at home in a 2-15 kick off which promises to be another tight affair but a must win for Dale.