Altrincham Kersal 0 -20 Rochdale RUFC
On a wet and windy day at Stelfox Road, Rochdale got their first win of the season in great style and without conceding any points.
Dale welcoming back Jim Flitcroft and Andy Redfern along with Rob Wadsworth in the engine room looked up for it from the start with Ollie Coldman kicking confidently and pegging Altrincham back in their own half, good breaks from Redfern, Schofield and Gui de Sousa tested the home defence, but dropped passes ended several good attempts at the line.
The referee who seemed obsessed with the offside rule while missing other offences caused the game to stop and stutter and he eventually yellow carded the unlucky Redfern for what he saw as a team offence. Down to 14 men Dale were on the back foot but defended well and the home side seemed determined to drop the ball at every opportunity. The deadlock was broken on 25 minutes when after sustained pressure de Sousa battered his way over the line with Coldman converting 7-0. The home side had plenty of ball winning line outs and passed the ball well at times, Dale were stretched but defended so well that when the ball broke to Flitcroft on the wing, a good passing movement between Matt Buckley and Josh Schofield saw him break through to the line but was judged to have been held up…. No try .
With half time approaching Dale needed another score to match their dominance in attack and they got it in the unlikely shape of big prop forward Dale Slamon who supported by captain Tom Callaghan crushed the Altrincham defence to score a push over try, the conversion went just wide from Coldman 12-0 . Half time was looming and with Rochdale restored to 15 men they ended the half going forward again with young winger Buckley who went on a run and was stopped short of the Altrincham line.
Half Time 12-0
The second half started in driving rain both sides lost the ball repeatedly in the terrible conditions, lots of solid defence by Dale saw the home side frustrated unable to break the visitors line despite a good share of the ball.
The menace of Josh Schofield was never far away and supported by James Duffy and Dom Serridge they tested the home defence. A good break into the 22 saw Schofield beat two players and slip the ball inside to Coldman who was held down in the tackle and penalised for not releasing.
Coldman had the next score to his name as Altrincham were penalised again 30 metres out in front of the posts Coldman went for the points and was rewarded with a perfect kick in the conditions that floated over to make it 15-0 with 60 minutes gone.
As Dale pressed, the home defence became ever more desperate and the referee had no choice but to yellow card the Altrincham No 8 for a high tackle on Schofield. Dale continued to run the ball wherever possible and although the home side tried to get back in the game they could not find a way through. Lots of mistakes and penalties from the referee marred the last quarter. Dale had the last laugh on 75 minutes, after a break down in the centre, Schofield supported by Coldman led to the fullback getting a final pass to score wide on the left a try he failed to convert leaving the final score 20-0. This was an epic performance from Rochdale, lots of ideas going forward and resolute defence and plenty to build on for the future.
Next week is a free weekend but they return to Moorgate Avenue on the 21st of October when the visitors are the once mighty Firwood Waterloo.
Dave Rhodes R.R.U.F.C.