Saturday saw the first of the 2-15pm kick offs against Cumbrian side St. Benedicts who lie at the bottom of the league but only 2 points below Rochdale….. a win was a definite need for Dale. They soon had cause to celebrate when 2nd Row Gui de Sousa made a break from a scrum on the St. Benedicts 22 and let the ball go wide to centre Josh Schofield who’s speed and footwork were too much for the visitors defence as he scored wide on the right, the conversion from Coldman went just wide 5-0. Dale had the visitors on the rack and only a series of dropped balls and then a high tackle stopped them adding to the try tally. A penalty resulted from the second High tackle after 12 minutes and Ollie Coldman made no mistake in front of the posts 8-0.
Travis Townsend was all over the field making breaks and clearing up any lose ball. One such break saw him bundled into touch on the 10 metre line, from the restart the St Benedicts forwards made good ground but when the ball was lost in a tackle they again transgressed and another Dale penalty went just wide from the normally reliable boot of Coldman. The visitors now got in the game with a break from a scrum on the Dale 22 a good passing move saw them score on the left wing, the try was converted 8-7 with 25 mins gone the game appeared to be in the balance.
After a good restart Dale were halted by a deliberate knock on which earned the visitors wing forward a yellow card, then minutes later it was Dale down to 14 men when winger Blair Henry went off for 10 mins for the same offence. The play on both sides was scrappy, Dale had a penalty line out on the St Benedicts 22 but lost the throw, the visitors in turn handed over possession in a great tackle by Jimmy Flitcroft who scampered through to score under the posts on half time this was converted by Coldman 15-7 half time.
Dale again had lots of ball but failed to punish their opponents and it was only after the ever present Schofield got on the end of a charged down clearance kick, on half way and with a series of soccer style kicks on he made it to the St Benedicts line to score his second try the conversion again wide 20-7 with 48 mins. gone.
Coldman was in the action again with a great relieving kick from half way which saw Dale forcing a knock on from the visitors on their own 5 metre line, a scrum was won and the ball came to Flitcroft who out paced the tiring defence to score his 2nd and Rochdales 4th try securing much needed bonus points. The conversion attempt hits the upright 25-7.
Next on the score sheet was Dom Serridge, always in the thick of the attack, he popped up just wide of the posts after good work from Captain Tom Callaghan and de Sousa, to score the 5th try converted by Coldman 32-7 after 60 mins.
St Benedicts poor discipline again cost them as a high tackle on James Willetts saw them down to 14 for the last 10 mins. Jonny Bradley’s fine performance ensured Dale had plenty of possession at the set pieces.
Dale did manage another try on 75 mins, a good break by Callaghan was picked up and moved down the line for a score in the corner 37-7, there was just time for the visitors to add a consolation try to make the final score 37-14. A totally different feeling to last week, in truth Dale could and should have scored more points.
Next week they travel to 2nd place Stockport which will be a much harder test for them but playing with spirit and flair, they will give a good account of themselves.