Atlrincham Kersal 26 Rochdale 27
On a damp and breezy Bonfire Night Dale travelled to Altrincham for the first time in several seasons the main change for Dale was a debut for young winger Zac Baker, missing were Ross Hartley and Jake Castree with Jack Green returning to fly half. A good break by full back Josh Schofield was held on the Altrincham 22 a poor kick by Dale taken on half way by the big No.7 Roddy who broke through several tackles to score in the corner after 6 minutes the conversion went over 7-0. The re start saw the Home side on the attack and a penalty on the Dale 22 led to a scrum and a deep kick had the visitors penned back in their 10 metre area and despite Chris Hodgkinson winning the line out ball poor handling led to another break through on the left wing and Roddy was there again to score an almost identical try 12-0 after 15 minutes.
With the Dale defence reeling all the pressure was coming from Altrincham and minutes later they were in under the posts for a converted try 19-0. Dale kept pressing winning good line out ball and doing well in the scrums with nothing to show the new wing Zac Baker did well in contact and as usual captain Tom Hindle and props Jonny Bradley and Harry Hill were in the thick of it, on half time Dale had a penalty which Spud Green slotted in the corner Hodgkinson again to a good line out ball but as the ball came out wide for Ollie Coldman he was held up on the line Half Time 19-0.
The half time talk saw rockets being given out by coach Danny Collins and Dale came out all guns firing an early penalty gave Dale a line out on the Altrincham 22 Eddie Shanks secured the ball and the maul pushed towards the line another penalty for offside saw scrum half Danny Joesbury tap and go an inside pass found Hodgkinson in support who went in for Dale’s first try the conversion went wide so 19-5. The kick off went deep in the Dale half but when the ball came out to winger Pat Gillan he cheekily chipped over his opposite number collected the ball and cut inside wrong footing the Altrincham defenders and inside pass to ever ready Schofield saw the full back cut through the last defenders and score under the posts for a text book try converted by Coldman 19-12.
With the wind in their sails Dale now brought on Harry Hayes for Brad Fox and he was soon in the thick of the action with new boy Eddie Bateman dominating the rucks and scrums the line out ball was well taken by Hooker Kyle Parry Hayes caught the ball and set up Green to spread the ball wide to Pat Gillan who sped past defenders to score a well deserved try 19-17. Dale still had some defending to do and a good passing move had the Altrincham winger going in with only Zac Baker to beat but the young wing took his opposite number low and into touch with a try saving tackle.
Two substitutions for Dale as captain Hindle came off and on came Declan Conner for his debut followed by Oliver Wood the game ebbed flowed in driving rain Dale pressed hard and a good break by Conner was held up short Altrincham won a scrum on their 10 metre line the ball came back to their fly half to clear but Dale centre Coldman was on in like a flash to charge down the ball hack it on and score under the posts he converted to make the score 19-24 with five minutes left. Dale had totally turned the game around but was still time for more twists as a couple of penalties took Altrincham to the Dale 22 and despite desperate defence the visitors were under their own posts the ball came back to Green who saw his kick charged down by the Altrincham scrum half who touched down leaving the easiest of conversions 26-24.
From the re-start Joesbury took the ball and moved inside to Aidy Gleeson who made good ground into the home side’s 22. A scrum for Dale and again good passing from Bradley and Hill saw the ball reach the red zone the referee saw and infringement by Altrincham …..penalty to the right of the posts about 30 yards out Gleeson elected to take the kick and with the rain driving at him stroked the ball over for a last minute win 26-27 in a never say die effort Dale secured their first away win of the season. Next week the small matter of league leaders Anselmians at home a 2-15 kick off in what promises to be a cracker.
David Rhodes R.R.U.F.C.