Vale of Lune 22 Rochdale 19
A mild afternoon at Powder House Lane saw Dale take on old rivals Vale of Lune the pitch was in perfect condition for what promised to be a good game of running rugby. Following a series of deep kicks and counter kicks which seem to be the hallmark of modern rugby it was Vale who grasped the initiative after a Dale scrum on their own 22 the ball went lose and despite a try line tackle from full back Josh Schofield Vale went in for a try on 10 minutes the conversion was missed 5-0. A good response from Dale saw a great passing move found Pat Gillan on the right wing he beat his man and passed inside to the League’s leading try scorer Josh Schofield who completed the move by the posts, Keelan Bradley had no trouble converting to make it 5-7 with 15 minutes gone.
Within minutes of the re-start Vale had the visitors under pressure and the first of many uncharacteristic dropped passes led to the Vale fly half taking the ball through the defence to score a good solo try 10-7. An even contest with Dale having plenty of ball but too many unforced errors led to the penalty count from the fussy referee growing in the home sides favour a promising move by Vale ended in a dropped ball and a scrum to Dale, Bradley got the clearance kick away but was tackled late which led to the Vale wing forward seeing a yellow card. A great opportunity for Dale with a man advantage at the scrums of which there were many but lose passes and penalties saw the home side on the attack a scrum on the Dale 10 metre line saw the ball go wide and the Vale winger go in for their third try which was converted 17-7 with only minutes to go to half time. Then a nightmare series of moves saw a deep kick from the Vale fly half kept in play by Tom Hindle only to see the ball mishandled twice the 2nd by Schofield under his own posts the ball being passed out wide by a grateful Vale back leaving a soft try for the winger in the corner the kick was missed so half time had Dale facing a 22-7 deficit.
The 2nd half saw a bright start by Dale with Ollie Coldman chipping over the Vale defence forcing the full back to touch down behind his own try line the drop out made the 22 but Dale were given a penalty for offside in the resultant maul Bradley’s kick took the visitors to the Vale 5 metre line but again a sloppy knock on saw the ball lost. The next action saw the Vale centre yellow carded for a deliberate knock on so advantage Dale the penalty took them to the 10 metre line this time no mistakes as 2nd row Eddie Shanks crashed over to score a well deserved try converted by Bradley 22-14. Game on as Ross Hartley and debutant James O’Connell join the frae. Despite the number of scrums Dale kept pressing and soon won a penalty Aidy Gleeson broke through the tiring Vale defence and passed inside to Tom Hindle who scored a fine try unfortunately the kick went wide so 22-19
In this see-saw game another twist came when minutes after scoring his try Hindle was yellow carded for an offence in the scrum, Vale missed the very kickable penalty. Despite Vale slowing the play down and collapsing a number of scrums the referee did not intervene and it was from another line out on half way that Chris Hodgkinson took the catch and set Shanks on his way well supported by Danny Joesbury and Gleeson the final pass went astray on the 22 another chance went begging. Ross Hartley was always in the thick of the action and was hurt in a tackle on half way the play carried on and only a good take by the Vale No.10 saved the day and a big boot to the Dale 22, line out not straight another slip up and more defending to do as Vale tried their own attack snuffed out by good tackles from O’Connell and Hartley. Foster was next on the casualty list with a head wound in the tackle delay in play whilst both Physios dealt with him. A promising move from the backs saw Josh Schofield draw defenders but the final pass to wing Gillan went down the story of Dale’s afternoon.
More penalties followed mostly to the home side the final word going to their No.10 who kicked high into touch on half way for the referee to blow the final whistle.
A good second half performance from Dale but too many mistakes in the first cost them the points. Next week is a home game against Wilmslow.