Liverpool Collegiate RFC 14 v 7 Rochdale RUFC
Rochdale travelled to Merseyside with some of their more influential players unavailable and unknown beforehand, they were to play on short and narrow pitch that would be a hinderance to their style of play. That said, Rochdale could not match the Liverpool intensity from the start. The home side tackled and harried everything that moved and shocked Dale after two minutes with a break through the middle and the outhalf scored under the posts making for an easy conversion.
This should have woken the visitors but Dale struggled to put together any worthwhile possession and after 10 minutes they found themselves guilty of not pressing home tackles and Liverpool went 14 – 0 after a similar move to the first.
The home side had obviously done their homework and learned lessons from an earlier 43-10 drubbing at Rochdale, The visitors now not only had little space to work from but they were facing a team that were determined and who knew what to do to put the Dale side off their game.
Gradually Rochdale were able to exert some possession and managed to make halftime without further mishap, but the had little to be thankful for.
A few stern words at the break and maybe hoping he homeside would tire somewhat in the second half gave Rochdale some hope of a comeback. With Dale now playing uphill extra effort was needed to make up the points.
The forwards were again harried into making mistakes. Constant offside offences were ignored on both sides by the official. Dale struggled with their scrummaging and did not have the domination seen in earlier games. Jimmy Flitcroft had plenty to do a fullback and he looked dangerous on the charge out of defence. James Duffy began to put in a few telling kicks which Dale could have used earlier.
With about 10 minutes gone in the second half the Rochdale backs did put together an excellent attack. Flitcroft was gifted a ball and immediately made good quick ground but was being forced ever wider, his pass to the ever present Ollie Coldman was a beauty and Coleman raced the 10 metres to the line for Rochdale’s first score, duly converted by himself. 14-7.
The visiting spectators sensed a glimmer of hope that it was not finished yet. Dale did put together a passage of play enabling them to keep the ball and start to dominate territory. They managed to pressure the Liverpool 5 metre area but could not find the gap or piece of guile that would enable a further score. The home side stuck firm and managed the game from defence with the odd incursion into the Rochdale half. The Dale Man of the Match was Ross Hartley who never stopped working throughout.
The slippery conditions and then constant rain saw plenty of handling errors and the game petered out into dreary finish. Liverpool had done their job and deserved their victory.
Rochdale now need to take stock and concentrate on a game by game basis. Promotion is not impossible but with performances like today it seems less probable. They need to get results and let the points take care of themselves at the end of the season.