WORDS: SEAN SUNDERLAND PHOTOS: BRUCE MYERS
Rochdale Senior Colts 29-14 St Brendan’s RFC Senior Colts
FRIDAY 28TH OCTOBER 2022
With the league fixtures on hold at the weekend to accommodate the County trials, Rochdale were pleased to welcome a Colts touring team, St Brendan’s from Bristol, for a Friday night “Under the Lights”.
Both teams started strongly with defences dominating. Rochdale strung a dozen phases together to get within striking distance of the opposition try line and a well-executed lineout drive saw Rochdale rumbling towards Brendan’s try line. James O’Connell broke from the advancing maul and was able to crash through the last defender to register the first score of the evening (5-0).
Brendan’s were soon on the attack and they were a constant threat adding pace and width to the game. After some sustained pressure in the home 22, Rochdale turned the ball over and, with quick hands, got the ball wide to Tom Hesketh on the left wing. Hesketh used his outstanding pace to accelerate away and score a 70m try dotting down under the posts (12-0).
Rochdale were getting on top now and were again camped on the visitors’ line. After several forward drives had drawn the defenders in, a quick miss-pass put Max Cooper in at the corner (17-0). Rochdale began to fall foul of the referee, a recurring theme this year, and gifting Brendan’s good field position. The visitors soon converted this into a well-worked try through their forwards for the final score of the first half (17-7).
Rochdale began the second half as they had the first, with their forwards making in-roads into the opposition 22 and then patiently building through the phases. A penalty resulted from this pressure close to Brendan’s line and Olly Mills was able to break the defensive line and ground the ball near the corner (22-7).
The game became a bit scrappy, with both teams conceding needless penalties.
Brendan’s took advantage again and, with another forward drive and quick recycling, the home defence ran out of numbers and Brendan’s scored their second try (22-14). Rochdale had the final say when a clever chip through in the opposition 22 allowed Alex Dowd to gather and touch down close to the post (29-14). MoTM went to Hesketh for his coverage of the back field and some scintillating breaks.
A thoroughly entertaining game played in the right ‘Spirit’ (Halloween pun) followed by a lively Halloween Party to entertain the Bristol visitors.