Rochdale u12s hosted Fylde on the first team pitch for what was expected to be a tough encounter from one of the North West’s premier rugby union clubs on a cold wet Sunday morning.
Finn took an unfortunate knock in the warm up so was unable to start, a key loss for Rochdale backs.
At the kick off Fylde immediately showed their intent and took control, strong drives through the middle of the pitch from their big pack, sucked in the Rochdale defence and Fylde quickly distributing the ball wide to find the opening score taking it to 1-0 after a few minutes played.
Much of the same followed in the opening 10 minutes. Fylde going through the phases, simple, intense and well executed rugby. With Rochdale struggling to impose themselves in the first quarter of this game. Rochdale continued to fall off the tackles, allowing the big Fylde ball carriers to rampage about the pitch. The Fylde out-half cleverly varied the play by using neat grubber kicks and long passes to open up Rochdale’s high defence, great ball handling by the Fylde backs even in these wet conditions. Rochdale struggling to match the intensity and eventually going down in the first quarter 3-0.
The Rochdale lads returned to the field for the second quarter, and what a second quarter it was! Rochdale came out with a real intent to assert themselves on the game. Emotionally and physically recharged from Alex’s and Andre’s rallying call they immediately pushed Fylde back from the kick off. Rochdale applied the pressure and were rewarded when Freddie slalomed his way through pretty much the entire Fylde back line with a fine offload to Casey who showed the Fylde backs a clean pair of heels, flying down the wing to run in for Rochdale’s first try, 3-1.
Rochdale had finally found their groove and rallied back gamely. Rochdale were threatening a dramatic turnaround by forcing Fylde back in their own half for most of the second quarter with Rochdale finally taking the second quarter 1-0, and taking it to 3-1 overall at half time.
Fylde had a large squad at hand, the entire pack was swapped for the second half. Five fresh lads took the field. To Rochdale’s credit with the game threatening to go beyond them they seemed to decide to roll their sleeves up and go down fighting, with a resolute defence the third quarter was held at 0-0.
Even though Rochdale started to tire in the last quarter of the game they still managed to keep the score line to creditable 4-1 overall.
Hard to pick out any individuals from this match! Casey had a fine game, and could have easily taken a second try if it was not to a last ditch tackle bundling him into touch on the try line.
Jake, James and Oliver were solid in defence, Freddie scrapped and made some excellent offloads. Will was his usual menacing self, and didn’t give the tricky Fylde scrum half and out half an inch.
Ben and Max R were silent destroyers and made valuable yards, tirelessly covering the flanks and breaking through the Fylde defence at every opportunity.
A huge effort by the Rochdale pack of Max E, Drew and Jethro in the front row with Harri G and Harry N in the second row. None of them seemed perturbed by the bigger Fylde pack. Immense effort.
Great team spirit, and pinching Johno’s line who summed up the game nicely ‘fought back like lions, what a game’!