Rochdale 26 Bolton 0
After a two week enforced lay off due to Covid related cry offs by the opposition Dale returned to action at Bolton ironically the last fixture they played before the lockdown.
Rochdale welcomed back Shaun Needham and Chris Hodgkinson to the pack at a very damp Bolton to what is always an attractive match. The 2nd XV were playing on the adjoining pitch so a double win looked possible. Travis Townsend was soon in action lofting a high cross field kick from half way for winger Matt Buckley to chase the ball just beating him into touch. Dale then had some defending to do as the home side pressed through their Hooker and got a passing move going only to see a try saving tackle by Buckley take their winger into touch with the line in sight.
Dale had the best of the next quarter winning line outs and forcing the hosts to defend on their own 5 metre line, from a scrum a good break saw wing forward Harry Hayes score from close in 5-0. All Dale now and with Townsend making mischief everywhere a passing move on half way saw the ball reach flying full back Josh Schofield who streaked past the defence to score a fine try converted to make it 12-0.
From the restart Townsend took the catch and as he cleared the ball was taken late causing the referee to yellow card the Bolton wing forward. Dale took full advantage of the situation and were soon pressing this time it was Jack Green who broke the defence to score by the posts a good conversion by Townsend made it 19-0. The rain had really set in now and both sets of forwards struggled to make their scrums and line outs count in scrappy play Chris Hodgkinson received a yellow card so the sides were even going towards half time. Andrew Foster kept up his recent scoring record when he took a pass from Danny Joesbury and crashed over near the posts the try was converted 26-0 and the sides went in for a well earned break after what had been a frantic and somewhat scrappy half Dale looked well on top with the four try bonus secured.
To their credit Bolton came out in the 2nd half with lots of intent and soon had the Dale defence pulling out all the stops to keep them at bay. Free kicks were the order of the day and Townsend continued to be the thorn in Bolton’s side jinking out of defence and pushing the home side back to their own half with big kicks, another yellow card saw Dale down to 14 men again, Bolton pressed hard but stubborn defence from Kyle Parry and Harry Hill along with young Ben Coulter held the attacks off and with the pace of Schofield and Green always a threat Dale could have gone on to a higher score. Both sides did well in appalling conditions another couple of cards broke up play in a midfield slogging match neither side could move the scoreboard on.
The final score was 26-0 to the visitors another hard fought win for Dale to keep them in touch with the leaders. Travis Townsend was voted man of the match by the home side and even won the beer race afterwards! Next week we welcome new side Cockermouth to Moorgate Avenue in a 2-15pm kick off for our final game before Christmas.