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RRUFC Match report Saturday 1st Sept 2018

Altrincham Kersal 25 v 19 Rochdale RUFC

 

A tight game was always on the card as the two previously relegated sides took the field in this first game of the new season. Both sides will be looking for immediate promotion to escape the calamity that has gripped the level 7 and below league structure. This is a one off season with the RFU promising changes at the end of it.

Rochdale fielded a completely different back row to last week’s cup game and Alex Isherwood, Harry Hayes and Andrew Foster were soon put under the cosh as Altrincham Kersal (AK) tried to exert pressure early on. The Dale defence were not found wanting, and held AK in midfield. After 8 minutes a nasty accidental injury to the elbow of James Duffy had him taken off and away to hospital, and coach Danny Collins had to re-shuffle. That was a blow to Dale as Duffy would have used the ball with the wind especially in the second half. From the re-start AK worked the ball through the Dale defence to score wide left, unconverted 5-0.

On 16 minutes AK had a good drive to get well into the Dale half, the ball came out and three quick passes saw the AK winger score on the right, this was duly converted. 12-0. At this stage Dale were looking a little shocked and still coming to terms with the changes made in positions. There was plenty of pressure from the AK attack and they remained in the Dale 22. Three pick and goes had them upto the line and the number 8 crossed over from close in, the conversion was missed and at 17-0 the home supporters were looking for a bonus point before half time.

Rochdale, to their credit started to make things work for themselves, good running from Isherwood, Buckley and Dom Macklin broke through the AK line and Dale themselves were looking to score before the halftime whistle. Cheered on by good away support, Rochdale put in powerful play up the left hand side with Tom Helliwell and Jake Smith making good ground and being supported by Hill and Isherwood, that latter taking the ball from a quick penalty and crashing over wide out left for a well earned try. Up stepped replacement kicker Matty Buckley and slotted a beauty for the extras. Rochdale deserved their try and as the whistle blew AK knew they now had a fight on their hands. 17- 7 HT.

 

The second half started very lively with Dale taking the game and impetus to AK, Dale captain Dom Serridge was having another excellent game and his constant tackling and running were causing problems for AK. Serridge made a 12 metre dash and popped the ball out to the ever ready Buckley who made a superb run to score just right of the uprights. Buckley took the two points and with the score now at 17-14 it was AK with the problems. Rochdale sensed more points were to be had, and applied maximum pressure into the AK half. After Jake Smith had produced some excellent passing, the forwards started a rolling maul about 20 metres out that finished with Harry Hill forcing the ball over the whitewash, Buckley missed the conversion. 17 -19 and with 30 mins of the second half gone Dale had the lead, albeit briefly.

Altrincham managed to get some time with the ball and made impressions into the Dale half. On 33 minutes Harry Hayes was sin binned for a deliberate knock down and his game was spent. Minutes later a penalty was awarded to AK, but no-one in the vicinity of the ground knew why, no signal or explanation was offered by the official and the resulting three points took AK back into the lead.

Rochdale now worked even harder to try and wrestle the game back and in the tussle the exhuberant Isherwood was ajudged by the official to have committed dangerous play and was awarded a yellow card. Dale now down to 13 men camped in the AK 22 metre line tried everything to get over the line. Alas the official found another imaginary misdemeanor to blow his whistle at and that was the end of the game. AK 25 v 19 Dale.

A valliant effort saw Rochdale take the honours in the second half but the injury in the first half and a not so solid opening 30 mins cost Dale dearly. More players should make themselves available for next week’s home clash with Bolton. Dale must start the winning run there.

Apologies for no photo’s, unless you have some……

 

Steve Helliwell