Rochdale 45 Warrington 34
On a perfect sunny day at Moorgate Avenue with the pitch in immaculate condition Rochdale entertained Warrington looking for revenge for the away fixture where the Cheshire side snatched victory in the last minute against Dale.
With West, Macklin and Flitcroft unavailable coach Mike Gould brought in young backs to take on the powerful Warrington defence.
Dale had to defend well in the opening minutes as it was clear that the visitors had come for the points and several breaks behind their big pack gave Warrington lots of territory. After 12 mins. The home defence finally broke and the visitors overlapped and scored in the corner the conversion being missed 5-0.
From the re-start Warrington were awarded a penalty but failed to take the line out ball after a good challenge from Chris Hodgkinson the Dale No. 8, the ball was passed along the line to Josh Schofield who beat three defenders to score. Oli Coldman converted 7-5.with 15 mins gone. Next on the score sheet was Gui DeSousa Dale’s giant 2nd row who ploughed over the hapless Warrington defence to score. The kick by Coldman from the touchline fell just short 12-5.
On the half hour the visitors were given another penalty on the Dale 22 and the line out made the 10 metre line, again Rochdale took the line out and Coldman cleared to half way. From the resulting Warrington attack Dale were penalized again for offside. The kick came in from 30 m. 12-8.
Dale were soon back on the attack, building patiently Gui DeSouza again had a charge from 10 metres out and demolished three defenders before slipping the ball to Schofield to pop over a simple try Coldman added the extras and the score with 5 mins to half time was 19-8.
A long re-start kick from Warrington was taken by Ross Hartley who was eventually tackled on half way ,the ball came back for a big clearance by Coldman and was collected by the visitors, and again the referee gave them a penalty for Dale not rolling away. From the tackle the kick reached the Dale 22 metre line but again the throw was squandered and Dale were back on the attack. By this stage DeSouza was running amok in the Warrington defence who could not find an answer to the 2nd Row’s direct running, he broke through 3 attempted tackles to score a great individual try under the posts, Coldman almost flat lined the ball to just go over the bar and leave the score at half time 26-8.
Right from the kick off Dale were back in business a break down the left flank saw that man Schofield scurry past defenders to plant the ball over the line for his hat trick try and secure his side a bonus point, the conversion was missed 31-8. Warrington were back on the attack but being held in the midfield by Dale. A break by the Warrington Hooker took them to within 10 metres of the home line, brave defending by Hartley and Captain Tom Callaghan held them there, penalties were exchanged and despite Coldman clearing back to the 22 Warrington put together a passing move which led to a try scoring move just wide of the Dale posts. The conversion left the score 31-15. With 20 mins Left the battle of the packs resumed with Warrington battering at the door but solid defence denying them a score until 65 mins when a good passing move down the right saw them score an unconverted try 31-20. From the deep re-start the visitors were penalized for non- release and having taken a quick tap Dale re-placement scrum half Alun Tweedale fed Ross Hartley who made good ground only to see his final pass intercepted by the Warrington centre who in turn lost the ball in A crunching tackle. Dale made no mistake this time and a lovely passing move saw a great try taken under the posts and converted with ease by Coldman 38-20.12 mins left and Dale running rampant at the visitors, another flowing move ended with Schofield breezing past the Warrington winger to score his fourth and Rochdale’s sixth try of the day converted 45-20.
Both sides were tiring in the heat and the pace of the game began to take its toll a couple of late and high tackles were dealt with well by the referee without having to resort to showing cards. Warrington to their credit kept on attacking
And on 77 mins scored a somewhat scruffy try which was converted to make it 45-27 should have been the end of it
But from the deep re-start the Warrington winger collected the ball in his own 22 and managed to run the whole length of the field and score their bonus point try, final score 45-34.
A great game played in a good spirit Dale did what was needed and man of the match Schofield ably supported by DeSouza and the whole side deserved the victory and that all important bonus point.
David Rhodes R.R.U.F.C.