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A very entertaining game at Moorgate Ave, and the weather played its part with a chilly bright afternoon. Rochdale 1XV had a day off and the 2ndXV took centre stage. The visitors Wilmslow were unbeaten in the league so far this season so Dale were not favourties to take the points. Captain for the day Daz James rallied his men and fought a close encounter that saw them win a thriller with the last play of the game. Young winger Matt Buckley scored two tries and could have had a couple more. Rochdale took the lead early on with a well worked try by Jack Holt who backed up well. Only five minutes later Zak Hartley scored the second after a good run and chase, converting his own try.

Hartley kicked well throughout the game despite feeling unwell, his probing runs were well backed up by Ashley Smith and Aaron Riddell who put in plenty of tackles during the first half. Wilmslow had steadied the ship after about twenty minutes and started to become dominate with their big pack. They ran in two tries before halftime and Rochdale had a narrow lead at halftime courtesy of an offside infringement that Zak Hartley converted. 15-12 then at halftime, and a close second half beckoned.

Winger Buckley had two chances early in the second half and should have converted at least one, but he cut inside only to be caught short of the tryline by the Wilmslow fullback. The visitors piled on the pressure and took the lead with a number of phases through the middle, their halfback pairing were working hard and the two flankers were causing some mayhem for the homeside. The kicker had certainly brought his boots and missed very little all afternoon. Another Wilmslow try soon afterwards definitely put Rochdale on the backfoot. Daz James took control and had the forwards up their game. Plenty of ball was coming through the middle and Humphries and Warburton were pushing the ball wide on every occasion. Another chance came to Buckley wide left but he was cut down and bundled into touch. From the lineout Wilmslow put Dale under terrific pressure but the defence held out well. A penalty to Dale was put well up the pitch by Hartley and to set piece ball went out to Buckley this time he did not disappoint and scored close in. A real nailbiter was on the cards. Rochdale went close with another breakaway and after a period of Dale pressure Mr Parry managed to get over the line for a converted try. Wilmslow scored from a penalty but with the score on 30-31 Matt Buckley came up trumps after a dazzling run from James Willetts and good support play from Jonny Mair and Alun Tweedale.

Rochdale had beaten the unbeaten and had worked very hard for their spoils. A great team effort and watched by an appreciative crowd.


Steve Helliwell RRUFC