Keswick 24 Rochdale 34
On a grey rainy day in Cumbria Rochdale dominated a youthful Keswick side in what was definitely a game of two halves.
Rochdale were without Tom Hindle and Shaun Needham but welcomed newcomer Callum Mulkeen and Harry Hayes promoted off the bench. In a lively opening 5 minutes Dale conceded a penalty for a high tackle on their own 22 the ball was chipped over the defence and an attempted clearance from the in goal area was charged down and the opening try to Keswick was converted 7-0.
Dale were soon back on the attack and a good passing move saw them pressing on the Keswick 10m line a penalty scrum to the visitors was too strong for home side and Andrew Foster was on the bottom of the pile to touch down Ollie Coldman converted to level the scores at 7-7 after 10 minutes. Both sides had good breaks but the Dale backs always looked stronger and a great passing move from their own 22 was only stopped by some desperate tackling in front of the Keswick posts Dale were penalised and from the scrum an attempted box kick was charged down by the ever present Coldman who gathered the ball and scored under the posts he converted 7-14. Dale continued to press and were awarded a scrum on the Keswick 22 the ball came to centre Dom Macklin who was hit by a crunching tackle which left him prone and both physios on the pitch several minutes elapsed until the unfortunate player was led from the pitch to sporting applause from both spectators and players.
Jack Green came on as sub. and was soon in the thick of the action passing to flying fullback Josh Schofield who was bundled into touch 5 metres short of the line. A great battle was developing between the two scrum halves Danny Joesbury for Dale at over 6 foot and the 5ft 4 inch Jack Thompson for Keswick both were on top form and most of Keswick’s best moves started with the diminutive scrum half.
Dales defence was sound with Jake Castree, Harry Hayes and hooker Kyle Parry all working hard Dale Salmon at prop covered a lot of ground and was given a break before half time with Ben Coulter coming on. A terrific break by Pat Gillan on the left flank was supported by Schofield from full back and his jinking run was too much for the home defence for Dale’s third try converted by Coldman.7-21.
Keswick were rocking now and gave away a penalty for offside on their 22 Coldman again slotted with ease 7-24.
Keswick had attacks but the final high kick through’s were covered by the Dale backs, a line out on the Dale 10m line saw the ball was won by Chris Hodgkinson and quick ball saw Coldman again facing a stretched Keswick defence he chipped high over the full back and won the foot race for the line only to be pulled back as he attempted to touch down the Referee awarding a penalty try 7-31 and half time.
Keswick started the 2nd half with a spring in their step the high kick off was dropped forward by Dale and from the scrum Thompson the Keswick scrum half flicked the ball wide for the winger to go in the left corner the kick was short 12-31.
Schofield had another run through the home defence only to be stopped by a suspiciously high tackle the ref awarded a scrum to the home side on half way the ball came loose and Mulkeen judged to have deliberately knocked forward and yellow carded. Eddie Shanks came on for Foster and Dale resumed with Harry Hill and the rest of the pack working hard Brad Fox and Jake Castree breaking numerous Keswick attacks
Going forward Dale always looked impressive Joesbury moving the ball well from the scrums and keeping the ball in hand Keswick gave away another penalty in front of the posts and Coldman who was having a great day even by his standards had no trouble making it 12-34..With 10 minutes to go Keswick won a scrum on the Dale 22 and tried a high cross kick which the right winger took and scored and a good conversion from the right touchline made it 19-34.
Dale kept this end to end game boiling with a good overlapping move which saw them camped on the opposition 5 meter line Castree and Gillan went close but no try. Keswick cleared and moved the ball to halfway a massive cross field ball was missed by the dale cover and a suspiciously forward looking pass found the winger who went in at the corner to make the final score 24-34. A very entertaining game and with the exception of the injury to Dom Macklin who ended the day in Carlisle Infirmary for a check up another maximum points outing leaving Dale third in the table with a game in hand. Next week is a home game against 2nd place Leigh.
David Rhodes R.R.U.F.C.