Dale Miss chance to close the Gap.
On a wet day at Moorgate Avenue Dale faced their most important match so far this season against fellow strugglers Altrincham Kersal, a side they beat 20-0 away earlier in the campaign. Dale were missing Tom Callaghan but had Tom Helliwell and Ross Hartley in the pack with no less than 13 players from their Junior Academy.
After only 5 mins play nearly all in Dale’s half the referee awarded Altrincham a penalty 30m out in front of the posts this was taken 3-0. The play was all in the midfield for the next 20 mins with both sides battering away but with no clear cut chances. Penalties and free kicks were a constant. Breaking up play and leading to frustration on the pitch where Dom Macklin felt the full force of a high tackle and had to be replaced by Blair Henry whilst cut was dealt with.
The Altrincham No 8 was yellow carded and whilst he was in the bin Dale started to put together some smart moves with Josh Schofield , Travis Townsend and Jimmy Flitcroft all getting breaks as far as the 22. One such attack saw the ball cleared to half way where it was collected by Schofield for a great break through the visitor’s defence, the ball went wide to Flitcroft who powered over for a good try well converted from touch by James Duffy 7-3. Neither side could add to the scoring before half time but Dale defended well as the game ran into 8 minutes of extra time 7-3.
The second half was a dour affair, the weather made for difficult conditions, the wind favoured the visitors and they kicked well and pinned Dale back in their own half for long periods, a lost line out led to a breakaway by Altrincham and a try right under the posts with an easy conversion. 7-10.
Next in the action was the referee yellow carding James Duffy for a deliberate knock on which was a grievous blow to Dale’s chances of getting back into the game and so it was on 75 mins that the visitors got their third try with an overlapping move that exposed the weakened Dale defence the conversion was missed and so with the final score left at 7-15 the game petered out to a disappointing result for Dale and elation for the visitors who whilst not safe are looking a lot stronger with this away win.
Next Saturday Dale visit Firwood Waterloo which looks a tough fixture but no doubt the boys will give a good account of themselves.
David Rhodes R.R.U.F.C.