It’s 5 lost matches since Rochdale beat Vale of Lune at home in the mud and Vale took their revenge yesterday at Powderhouse Lane with an emphatic win.
Dale have only 4 wins to show for a tough season at home and on the road. Captain Tom Callaghan led his team out on a very sunny and quite warm day in Lancaster. Pre-match the Vale contingent had hinted that Dale were the only team in the league that could “do the double” over them, after a close win at Moorgate Ave in early February. The truth is though, that Vale have lost only two games all season and are 17 points ahead of the rest in North2 West division. They are sure of level 5 rugby next season and they deserve their plaudits.
Quick running backs are the mainstay of the Vale team and they wasted no time in putting 4 tries past Dale in the first 25 minutes, all duly converted. Rochdale did hold the ball long enough to score a converted try after 15 minutes which Coldman dispatched.
With the match more or less over by half time the thoughts went to how could the Dale outfit contain the home side. With Vale looking for their second ninety point score of the season, the Dale side needed to keep possession of the ball for long periods which has not been the strongpoint of their game this year. Up front Gui deSousa looked better than his form of recent weeks and Rob Wadsworth toiled hard in the back row. Dale “man of the match” Dom Serridge has another fine game with plenty of tackling and ball good distribution.
The Vale forwards ran well onto the ball and scored several try’s in that fashion. Surely though, they will know that that part of their game must improve at level 5. The Vale pack did not exert any pressure on the Dale eight until late in the game when the Dale players were tiring quickly.
Line out ball wasn’t much of a problem for Dale with good accurate throwing in provided by Kyle Parry, with good targets of Hodgkinson and Helliwell to aim for. Tackling and pace did for Rochdale, they simply could not stop several of the Vale ball carriers or the quick outside men. “There’s no substitute for pace” is an old adage that proved correct.
Best of luck to Vale of Lune at level 5 next season and back to the drawing board for Rochdale.
Dale need to assess what has been missing and attempt to rectify those points for a year of level 7 rugby next year. It wont be easy to step back up a level but Rochdale do see themselves as a level 6 club. Lets see what the remaining four fixtures have the in store before the end of April. Three of those matches are away from home and even a short break for a game in the Isle of Man after Easter may not be enough for the players to re-group.