Despite the best efforts of Groundsman Tom Helliwell the referee decided to use the hill pitch rather than the very wet 1st team ground, the game kicked off at the revised time of 2.30 pm. The conditions were poor with driving rain and a cross wind which favoured Dale in the 1st half. The game started with an over hit kick off from Dale and a scrum to Stockport, they made good ground but were stopped on the home side’s 22, and when the ball was lost forward Ollie Coldman kicked to half way Dale won the lineout and passed well with a two man overlap on the left wing the final pass was dropped by winger Henry and a good chance went begging. Stockport soon capitalised on the mistake and got into the Dale 22 and created a good try from an overlap finished well by the centre Turner this was converted 7-0 after 16 mins played.
Dale were soon back on the attack with Jim Flitcroft , Dom Serridge and Rob Wadsworth all making good breaks the final pass was said to involve crossing by the Dale centres and the move was stopped short. Stockport tried to use their big pack to dominate, but were matched by Tom Callaghan and his pack which included Kyle Parry the stand in hooker who played well. Kicking and counter kicking spoiled the flow of the game which was increasingly dominated by the weather. Dale used their speed in the backs against a solid defence by the visitors.
. As the half hour mark approached Dale followed up a deep free kick from James Duffy and brought play to the 5 metre line with a rolling Maul which was brought down on the line the referee had no problem awarding a penalty try to Dale 7-7.
With half time looming Dale looked the more likely team to score as Jimmy Flitcroft was held up inches from the line after a 12 phase move which, in the conditions was a credit to them. But 7-7 was to be the half time score honours even as the rain continued to beat down.
Early in the 2nd half several high kicks by both sides created a mid- field stalemate, Gui Desousa was yellow carded by the referee for repeated offside and Dale were to miss his presence for the next 10 mins. Stockport now pressed forward, winning most lineouts and quick ball from former International Dean Schofield saw them in the Dale 22 and awarded a penalty on 10 metres, which they took advantage of with a hard drive for the line the big 2nd row crashed over for a converted try 7-14 on 55 mins. Dale were soon back on the offensive with Tom Helliwell and Chris Hodgkinson making good ground from line outs and scrums.
The pressure was not taking them beyond the midfield, but they were weathering the Stockport storm until Desousa returned on 67 minutes. With the balance restored in the scrum, Dale had a great chance when Flitcroft pounced on a dropped pass and kicked through to the Stockport line and just lost the foot race to touch down.
With Dale pressing hard, the passes got longer and more risky and on 70 mins the Stockport scrum half Rory Austin intercepted a pass on the Dale 22 and sped through the stranded Dale defence to score a converted try 21-7.
A high clearance by Stockport was taken by Duffy, the ball running loose behind him only to be penalized for a knock on to everyone’s amazement, but from the resultant scrum the visitors completed a well worked push over try which was well converted by Mc Govern to leave the final score a very flattering 7-28 to Stockport.
A game effort again by Dale but handling errors and the time down to 14 men cost them dearly.
Next week a re-arranged game against Burnage at Moorgate Avenue.
David Rhodes R.R.U.F.C.