Dale set off well against the huge Blackburn pack and defended well for 10 minutes until the big No. 8 of the home side battered his way through, the ball went wide to the left wing Dale again covered well but the same player followed up play to crash over for the opening try on 12 mins the conversion was missed 5-0.
The Rochdale backs were in full flow, with a strong following wind James Duffy launched a high ball that the Blackburn defence failed to deal with giving away a penalty in the process, up stepped Duffy the kicker for the day with Ollie Coldman unavailable and slotted the ball over the sticks on 15 mins to make it 5-3.
. Travis Townsend was next to test the home sides defence with a mazey run which ended in touch only a few metres out. Josh Schofield was determined to take the game to Blackburn and after being fed by the ever present Rob Wadsworth at loose forward he jinked his way through several tackles only to penalized for not releasing on half way. The home team made the most of the kick and from the subsequent line out the pack drove the ball to right under the Dale posts for the big 2nd row to squeeze over for and easily converted try 12-3 on 25 mins.
As usual Dale were back on the attack straight away with the pack led by captain Tom Callaghan pushing back their bigger opposite numbers and creating a good base for Jimmy Flitcroft and the ever present Josh Schofield to test the Blackburn defence who gave away another penalty in range and Duffy obliged to make it 12-6 on 30 mins.Dale now camped on the Blackburn 10 metre line and desperate tackling led to another penalty for slowing play down, about metres out Duffy went for goal at the extreme end of his range and only just missed the strong breeze just blowing the ball wide.
Dale were then denied a try when a great overlapping move involving Wadsworth, Townsend and Robbie Willetts saw Josh Schofield cross the line in the corner only to have it ruled out for an offside at the initial penalty kick Half Time 12-6.
The 2nd half saw Dale on the defensive Blackburn had obviously had the hard word from their coach at half time and with the wind at their backs went all out for another try.
Harry Hill had replaced Jonny Bradley at Hooker and as Dale defended gallantly on the line. Gui Desousa who was bettering the two giant second rows, was judged to have fouled in front of the posts and yellow carded, Blackburn went for the 7 points and from the line out broke through the resolute Dale defence only to see their scrum half drop the ball with the line beckoning.
Despite the man advantage the home side could not break down the tight Dale defence Callaghan and Ward put their bodies on the line to stop attack after attack but at the other end clever kicking and good Line out work from returning Chris Hodgkinson saw Dale back on the offensive. A good break by Wadsworth was cynically stopped and another penalty chance to the visitors Duffy went for touch deep in the Blackburn 22 and from a well taken line out Dale pushed wide to find a gap with Flitcroft and Schofield beating tackles but just falling short of the line. The play was so one sided that the referee was forced to yellow card the Blackburn 2nd rower after 4 penalties in the 5 metre area. Dale battered away and the home sided continued to infringe without further cards being shown . In the end they cleared on full time but the ball stayed live and a further 5 minutes was played but try as they might Dale could not get over the line and it was a mighty relived Blackburn that heard the final whistle on 87 minutes of a really entertaining game. Rob Wadsworth was Dale man of the match.
Next Saturday we welcome Manchester to Moorgate Avenue for a 2-15 pm kick off looking to pick up some much needed points. Dave Rhodes R.R.U.F.C.