LANCASHIRE CUP SEMI FINAL
ROCHDALE 21 v 19 BROUGHTON PARK
The minutes silence was observed before the game and both sides came out looking for a win, with Dale missing scrum half Travis Townsend and wing forward Ross Hartley, Jack Green and Dom Serridge took their places. A good early break by young forward Beltus Nonleh backed up by ‘Spud’ Green saw the visitors give away a penalty in front of their posts up stepped Ollie Coldman to slot neatly 3-0.
Broughton Park bounced back almost immediately with a good move on the left wing, the scrum half squeezed a grubber kick through the Dale defenders for the winger to score in the corner the conversion was missed 3-5.
A series of penalties and knock on’s saw Dale throw some good chances away in the visitors 22 and have to defend against the big Broughton Park pack.
As half time approached Dale were defending a scrum on half way when Isherwood was red carded for a punch and had to walk. Down to 14 men Dale were on the rack and despite good defence the extra man proved too much and the visitors scored close to the posts for an easy conversion 3-19 at half time.
What was said at half time between coach Danny Collins and his players is unnown but they came out and set about Broughton Park with a vengeance, with Nonleh, Hodgkinson and Needham raiding from the back of the scrum the whole Dale side were camped in the visitors 22. It was Coldman again linking up with the other backs who took a short pass from Green to crash over for a fine try which he converted 10-19.
Almost from the re-start Dale were back in their opponents half and after a series of offences the referee finally gave a penalty on the 22 which that man Coldman calmly slotted over in the swirling wind to make it 13-19 and game on.
The Dale team to a man played out of their socks and took the game to the stunned visitors and again on 70 mins Park gave away another penalty in the same area as before with the same result. Coldman had his radar on and stroked over the ball to make it 16-19.
Dale broke on the visitors 22 but the grubber kick just to strong, and ran into touch. From the scrum Dale won the ball against the head, the attack was stopped by a high tackle and Coldman elected to go for touch which he found on the 10m line the ball was cleanly taken by Tom Helliwell and fed out to Dom Serridge who squeezed through the big Broughton defenders to score, the conversion went just wide so 21-19 with minutes left. Broughton Park saw the game slipping away from them and launched an all out attack on the Dale line, but stout Dale defence and some sloppy play by their backs saw them fail to convert even after a 5 metre penalty. A line out was taken but the ball was claimed in the maul by Dale and a grateful Coldman booted the ball to touch to seal a fine come back and victory over a side from the league above them.
Coldman with 16 of the 21 points was man of the match but Beltus Nonleh and Shaun Needham were not far behind and the team came off to rapturous applause from the home crowd. Dale are back to league action next Saturday at Leigh and will play Blackburn on May Bank Holiday in the Lancashire Cup Final at Moorgate Avenue.
David Rhodes R.R.U.F.C.