Wilmslow 0 Rochdale 33
On a ground where Dale have had little joy in recent years a dominant performance brought a maximum points win and a clean sheet for the first time this season. Dale had a full strength side welcoming back Harry Hill and Chris Hodgkinson as well the return of Richard West at centre after several seasons away.
On a murky grey afternoon Wilmslow started as they meant to go on when their kick off did not travel 10m and a scrum resulted for Dale on half way. A quick pass from Danny Joesbury found Ollie Coldman who made good yards but a chip over the defence was over hit and the home full back called mark the subsequent kick took them to the Dale 22 a solid attack took Wilmslow to within 10 metres of the Dale line before the ball was lost forward in the tackle, scrum to the visitors Wilmslow were penalized at the scrum and a deep kick by Matt Johnston took Dale to half way. The line out ball was well taken by Eddie Shanks and passed out to Joesbury who’s attempted kick was charged down by the home side leaving Dale on the back foot. Poor passing and slow ball stopped the Wilmslow attack on half way then a suicidal long cross field pass was intercepted by the fastest man on the field Pat Gillan who raced in from 40 yds to score under the posts a try easily converted by Johnston 7-0 with 15 minutes gone.
Dale had some defending to do and West took the ball on the Dale 10 metre line and made good ground until tackled and a judged to have not released so a scrum to the home side who failed to break the Dale line with Harry Hill and Jonnie Bradley both tackling well, with the ball back in their hands Dale attacked through Jake Castree and Harry Hayes releasing West and Simon Moore to break through to the Wilmslow 22 another scrum and a nice inside pass from scrum half Joesbury saw Moore slide through the home defence to score by the posts converted by Johnston 14-0 after 25 minutes. Andrew Foster was next on the score sheet with a solid run from a break by Shanks he received the ball 10 metres out and slid past the dispairing full back to score a neat try, the kick went wide so 19-0, the Wilmslow full back went off with a pulled muscle. Dale were running the game and despite several attacking moves by the home backs Dale always ended up clearing up comfortably against an increasingly desperate Wilmslow side and as half time approached another fine passing move by the Dale backs saw Pat Gillan flying down the right wing and chipping over the defence and with no proper full back in place he collected the ball and strolled over the line, Johnston adding the extras 26-0 .Still time for another Dale attack this time Foster was held on the 22 and in came Si Moore to support but his tackle on the Wilmslow fly half was deemed high by the referee and a yellow card followed. Half Time 26-0.
Wilmslow started the half with a spirited run by the scrum half stopped by the Bradley and Hill double act on Dale’s 22. From a penalty for offside the home side got the closest they were to get in scoring with Dale defending the red zone determined not to concede and after a second penalty the ref decided that hooker Kyle Parry had to suffer the second yellow card of the match so once again Dale were down to 13 men. With Bradley moving to Hooker and Ayrton Cambell coming on , Ross Hartley who was having his usual lion hearted game at wing forward marshalling the defence and making good yards with the ball had a pass to Josh Schofield linking up from full back he tore through the Wilmslow defenders only to see the final pass to West go astray.
Time for some changes now as Moore returned from the Sin Bin and Hayes was replaced by Chris Hodgkinson to give more height at the line out Declan Conner on for Shanks who had grafted well all afternoon. Dale continued to press an increasingly dispirited Wilmslow side Pat Gillan became provider when he broke through on the 22 and passed inside to Matt Johnston who scored by the posts and converted his own try 33-0. The last 10 minutes was a scrappy affair with handling errors and an over picky referee breaking up play Moore and West continued to press the Wilmslow defence with the always dangerous Schofield and Gillan threatening to break the line. The final move saw a free kick to Wilmslow being lost in the line out and Coldman launching the ball into touch for the final whistle to sound.
A great performance from the whole team with Moore, Johnston and Castree all working hard a couple of bits of magic from Pat Gillan saw a poor Wilmslow side crushed, another maximum points win meant Dale stay 3rd in the league. No game next week.
David Rhodes. R.R.U.F.C.