Dave Rhodes R.R.U.F.C.
Rochdale welcomed 3rd place Wilmslow to Moorgate Avenue a week after their impressive win away at Birkenhead. Still missing centre Jimmy Flitcroft and without loose forward Chris Hodgkinson Dale still fielded a strong side with hopes of a fourth straight win in their minds.
Dale took the game to the visitors in the first 10 minutes moving the ball skilfully to the backs and one such move saw Josh Schofield carve open the Wilmslow defence and release Dick West who burst through two tackles to score with an outstretched hand, Oli Coldman slotted the conversion 7-0.
Wilmslow had a big advantage in the pack and their aggressive No. 8 Taylor was on hand to intercept a loose pass from Tom Hindle on the Dale 22 and score under the posts which was converted with ease. 7-7.
On 25 minutes West was yellow carded for an over zealous tackle and down to 14 men Rochdale struggled to keep the Wilmslow pack at bay. Wilmslow were awarded a penalty minutes later and McCoullogh the full back scored from 40 metres out 7-10. Next a piece of bad luck as scrum half Dom Serridge was injured in a heavy tackle and was forced to leave the field with a suspected dislocation.
Good breaks by the home side saw them reach the Wilmslow 10 metre line before a deliberate knock on by the visitors gave Dale the chance of 3points as half time approached they chose to kick for the corner and from the resultant line out won the ball, the recently returned West picked it up and drew defenders to him before passing to acting scrum half who knocked on giving the visitors a scrum and some breathing space in a hectic passage of play. Dale had one more chance before half time but again poor passing lost them the chance to go in front. Half Time 7-10.
The second half started with Wilmslow on all out attack and despite great defence by Ross Hartley, captain Tom Callaghan James Duffy and the rest of the pack it was the ever dangerous visitors No 8. Taylor who did the damage battering his way through under the posts for a good solo try converted 7-17.
Dale bounced back when a huge kick was taken on half way by West who surged through the Wilmslow defence to score a great try converted by Coldman 14-17
Wilmslow were next on the score sheet when McCoullough slotted a penalty from right in front of the posts to make it 14-20 with 5 minutes left .A penalty on 22metre line to Dale Coldman strokes the ball over 17-20 with only minutes to go.
After lots of Dale pressure they were awarded a penalty 30 metres out after a yellow card was shown to the Wilmslow prop for a high tackle, up stepped Oli Coldman last week’s hero to try and salvage the point but he saw his kick go just wide. Final score 17-20 good game with Dale having lots of chances to win and making Wilmslow look quite ordinary at times no one would have thought that nine places separated the two sides. Next week the daunting 3 hour trip to St Benedict’s in Cumbria for another must win game.