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RRUFC Match Report Saturday 8th September 2018 by David Rhodes.

Rochdale 12 Bolton 31

Despite heavy pre-match rain the pitch at Moorgate Avenue looked in good condition as the home side took on Bolton for the first time in many years. Dale were without both James Duffy at No. 10 and full back Ollie Coldman both injured in last week’s opener at Altrincham. Welcomed return however of Tom Callaghan and Jimmy Flitcroft with fly half Louis Singleton making his Rochdale debut.

Both sides started the game with strong attacks but it was Bolton who drew first blood with a fluid passing move that drew the Dale defence and a final long pass to the unmarked right winger to score, the try was converted 7-0 after 10 mins.

A good break by Dale saw them reach the visitors 22 before the referee brought the play back to half way for a penalty to the home side ! Despite plenty of possession Dale failed to penetrate the Bolton defence that had learned some hard lessons conceding 50 points the previous week at Bowdon. Dropped ball and poor final passes led to a line out on half way Bolton were taken down and the resulting penalty kick went wide. From the re-start Bolton were awarded a scrum in front of the Dale posts on the 22 the ball broke to the right and a crossfield grubber kick again split the Dale defence allowing the winger to cross for his 2nd try which was converted 14-0 after 35 minutes played. Dale needed to score before half time but it was the visitors looking confident in possession who ran in a 3rd try with a neat short passing move allowing their centre to go in under the posts to score an easily converted try making it 21-0 after 38 mins.

Dale were desperate to get on the scoreboard before half time and the pack who had played well led the charge taking a line out on the Bolton 10 metre line and driving to the line the ball came out of the maul to Ross Hartley who broke the line, a good long range conversion left the half time score 21-7 to the visitors.

Two minutes into the 2nd half the Dale defence were penalized and sent back a further 10 metres by the referee for undisciplined comments Bolton took full advantage and following a good passing move the ball came in from the winger to centre Bate to score, the conversion was missed so 26-7 after 45 mins. Dale battled away but failed to break the visitors defence and when Bolton recovered the ball they seemed to be close to scoring on several occasions , only stubborn defence by the Dale pack led by Jake Smith and Harry Hill keep them out until on the 53 rd minute the Bolton 13 Bate wrong foots his opposite number and goes in for his 2nd and Bolton’s 5th try in the corner conversion is missed 31-7.

Playing for pride now Dale get a rare penalty on the Bolton 22 and from the resulting line out keep the ball in and use the pack to drive for the line pushing over for a well deserved score 12-31 on 60 mins.

Visitors re-start must be the shortest ever seen at Moorgate Avenue going all of 3 metres Rochdale take the scrum and Jake Smith who has battled hard all afternoon breaks through only to be held on the visitors 22 with no back up. Matt Buckley gets clear but his final pass is judged forward Both sides are running out of steam but Dale keep pressing with no joy despite clever kicking from Singleton at No.10 the backs cannot take advantage to break the visitors defence. The game ends with a 5 metre scrum for Dale held up on the line as the referee blows for full time. A disappointing afternoon for the home supporters Dale will need to improve away next Saturday at Sefton to get their season started.

Final score 31-12 to Bolton.