Manchester 38 Rochdale 7
On a sunny day at Grove Park Rochdale played without their full compliment of players but led by captain Tom Callaghan they were determined to give a good account of themselves against an experienced Manchester side.
The Manchester fly half was keen to kick at every opportunity and tried a drop goal which hit the posts and bounced back to the attackers and the wing forward went over close to the posts 7-0 after 10 minutes. Rochdale kept in the game with good runs Josh Schofield and Chris Hodgkinson only failing due to poor handling on the final pass. Manchester moved the ball well with their No.8 breaking through the Dale defence and starting a move which came out to the right wing for a second try this was well converted from the touchline.14-0.
A series of penalties saw the game flow from end to end but Dale could not break through the Manchester defence whilst the home side carved holes in the visitor’s lines enabling their winger to squeeze in at the corner again this time the kick was missed 19-0.
Dale had several chances and finally a poor clearance kick from the Manchester full back went straight to Olly Coldman who sprinted through the Manchester defence line and released Blair Henry who outpaced the full back to score a cracking try under the posts, Olly converted 19-7 after 35 mins.
Despite good attempts at either end the score remained the same at half time.
Dale had a couple of changes for the 2nd half with Harry Hill coming on at Hooker and Daz James at scrum half.
Ged Woolfenden also joined the fray in the back row.
Manchester were on the score sheet again in the 47 th minute with a well worked try from the wing half going under the posts 26-7.
After a penalty for a high tackle Manchester were given a chance to score when another dropped pass was intercepted by the quick outside centre to score his second try of the afternoon 33-7. With less than ten minutes to go the home side picked up their last try after a bizarre pass on the Dale line that hit the posts but was not picked up right away led to a good passing move and the try came wide and unconverted 38-7. Try as they might Dale could get no further than the Manchester 22 Josh Schofield coming closest to a breakthrough. All in all a disappointing aft0ernoon but some good individual performances.
Next week Rochdale usher in the new season with an opening league fixture against Northwich at home, with a 3.00pm K.O. at Moorgate Ave Bamford,
As usual coach Mick Gould will be blooding new players who have progressed well through last season.