Rochdale 38 Warrington 25
Dale faced changes in the pack with Tom Callaghan out for several weeks and Jonny Bradley unavailable in came Dale Slamon to the front row with Harry Hill and Kyle Parry at hooker. Another welcome return was Shaun Needham to inspire the younger lads from the 2nd row. Warrington fielded a big pack and the game played on a warm afternoon would be a battle between Dale’s speedy backs and the visitors forwards. After 5 mins a high kick into the Dale 22 was collected by scrum half Danny Joesbury who launched a huge kick collected in the Warrington half by Brad Fox who won a penalty in the ensuing ruck, from the lineout a great take from Needham set up quick ball and a series of passes finding full back Josh Schofield who’s pace saw him cut through the visitors defence to score near the posts Dom Serridge added the extras 7-0.
Warrington bounced back and made good inroads into the Dale half a scrum on the Dale 22 led to a penalty for offside in front of the posts 30m out Warrington fly half Matt Beeley struck the first of his kicks well to make it 7-3.
From the re-start winger Matt Buckley made good ground and then chipped over the Warrington defence the ball being played into touch by their full back, another good line out with Chris Hodgkinson and Needham running the show saw Jake Castree held up just short of the line but a good pass wide by Joesbury found Matt Buckley on the wing out pace his opposite number to score the conversion was wide so 12-3 to Dale after 20 mins. Good pressure by Dale saw Serridge unlucky to be penalized for holding on. Warrington were back on the attack and won a series of penalties as Dale defended desperately the visitors were awarded a penalty on the 5m line and a simple tap and go led to their No8. Kellett going over for a converted try 12-10 on the half hour. Warrington had their tails up and it took some heroic defending from Slamon ,Hindle and Castree to hold the big Warrington forwards, eventually Dale conceded yet another penalty on their own 22 which Beeley converted to make it 12-13 to the visitors. With only minutes to go to half time Dale had a great chance to score when Schofield was held on the 10 m line and Dale had their own penalty a good throw again saw the ball come to newcomer Pat Gillan who’s fine run was stopped just short of the line. Half Time 12-13.
Words were obviously said in the interval and the 2nd half saw Dale back on the attack get to the visitors 22 but great passing by Serridge and Joesbury saw Gillan released to score in the corner a difficult conversion by Serridge took the score to 19-13. The pace was beginning to show on the Warrington pack several players pulling up with cramp and with Dale’s attack in full flow it was only a matter of time until following another raid into the 22 Needham won a clean line out, ‘he ball off the top found Macklin linking up and a pass wide on the left to Buckley who powered over in the corner for his 2nd try Serridge added the extras and the score went to 26-13. Warrington had a line out on half way but Hodgkinson climbed highest to win the ball yet again Schofield made good ground then cleared into Warringtons half, another penalty saw them on the Dale 10 m line but timely tackles and a steal by Fox led to a clearance kick to half way the ball was knocked forward by the visitors full back and from the scrum the Dale backs weaved through the opponents defence to release Pat Gillan for his 2nd and Dale’s 5th try
Which was converted by Serridge 33-13. With the pace of the game and players going down in the heat coach Danny Collins replaced Parry at Hooker and also brought on Travis Townsend for his 1st game of the season and Ben Coulter in the front row. Dale Slamon took over as hooker Tom Hindle also went off having had a great game on the occasion of his 30th birthday. The last Dale score followed a cheeky chip over the visitors defence which left Townsend, Gillan and Joesbury
All under the posts with no defenders near, it fell to Joesbury to round off an excellent performance with a try. 38-13.
Warrington kept on trying and after good forward play a grubber kick found the right winger Turner he scored in the corner.38-18. Minutes later a strong passing move by Warrington’s forwards led to another try this time on the left wing which was converted 38-25.
Dale had a last chance for points when captain Serridge had a penalty awarded on the visitors 22 the attempt went just wide. The final score remained 38-25.
A great game of rugby enjoyed by a big crowd at Moorgate Avenue. Next week the long trip to Keswick coach at 10.00 am.
David Rhodes R.R.U.F.C.