Rochdale 54 Winningon Park 3
After a week off Rochdale continued their winning run at home against Winnington Park, the Cheshire side had only one victory to their name this season so Dale were anxious to get a maximum points win to keep up their push to the top of the Division. On a wet blustery afternoon Dale faced early pressure from the visitors who like to throw the ball wide for their young backs, however the wide Moorgate Avenue pitch and some strong tackles from the home side left them with nothing to show for their efforts in the first 10 minutes then a great break from centre Aidy Gleeson split the visitors defence and for Danny Joesbury backing up it was a simple 1st try with Keelan Bradley providing the extras 7-0. Park were soon back on the attack and a penalty on the Dale 22 saw them take the 3 points from a good kick from Williams 7-3. From the kick off a deep counter kick from the visitors went dead and a knock on from Bradley’s drop out saw Dale with a scrum on the 22, the ball came to Gleeson from the back of the scrum and he battered his way through two tackles and fed Ollie Coldman who raced through and found Josh Schofield in support he left the defenders for dead and scored a nice try by the posts which was converted by Bradley 14-3 in the 20th minute.
On the half hour a series of penalties to Dale ended with a line out on the Park 22 well taken by Chris Hodgkinson a good passing move involving Jack[Spud] Green and Jake Castree was held 5 metres out but a short pass was taken by Prop Jonny Bradley who crashed over for Dale’s 3rd try of the afternoon converted by the other Bradley to make it 21-3 with 30 minutes gone. Dale had another chance just before half time a nice overlapping move by the backs saw Ollie Colman chip over the defence but the ball was deep so half time saw Dale 21-3 up and well in command despite Park’s pressure early on.
Early in the 2nd half Dale were awarded a penalty just beyond half way Bradley elected to kick but the effort held up in the wind and fell short. Winnington Park had a couple of good efforts stopped by the solid Dale defence who would not be breached, eventually Dale had a scrum on half way and again Gleeson had a nice break through the Park defence well supported by Castree and Hindle chipped over the opponents defence line the full back being penalized for not releasing on the 5 metre line scrum to Dale a solid push and it was Jake Castree breaking from the base to score Dale’s 4th bonus point try ably converted from the touch line by Bradley 28-3.
Coach Danny Collins now committed his shock troops on came Ross Hartley Andy Foster and Harry Hays. All three did good work breaking up Park’s attacks and Hartley was soon in the thick of the next Dale attack as he stole the ball after a crunching tackle on the centre and fed Green to draw in defenders then with Schofield linking from full back a great long pass to Pat Gillan who’s speed took him in at the corner again Bradley converted from the touchline 35-3. Winnington Park to their credit kept on attacking and with their captain Johnson leading the way managed to force a series of penalties around half way Dale were strong in the scrums and no ground was yielded .Winger Pat Gillan had one of his electrifying runs but his final pass went to ground with the line in sight. Dale were awarded a scrum on the Park 5 metre line and this time it was 2nd row Foster who crashed in from close range 40-3 with the con version attempt just wide. Dale were rampant now and after a punt through from half way by Green the ball was hacked on by Schofield who played the ball with his boot again and crossed the line to touchdown with a fine 2nd try of the day converted by Bradley 47-3.
Always in the thick of the action Hartley was now the victim of a spear tackle by the Park 2nd row who was shown the yellow card, Ross got up smiling and continued tackling Park were still trying for a consolation score but Dale held out well And soon it was fly half Green who cleared the ball from behind his own line towards half way Gleeson followed up and a good passing move covering half the pitch saw Schofield beat one man side step another then cover the rest of the opponents half to score a fine try. Converted to make the final score 54-3 another emphatic win for Rochdale taking them up to third in the league. Next week its Vale of Lune away and hopefully another good result.
David Rhodes R.R.U.F.C.