Anselmians 24 Rochdale 10
Dale travelled to the Wirral to face league leaders Anselmians [The Saints] after winning their last two games Dale were in confident mood although missing Harry Hayes and Jake Castree welcomed newcomer Josh Gibson at centre.
Malone Field looked in good condition a lot harder than most pitches at this stage of the season, Saints put pressure on the Dale defence right from the kick off a deep kick from Matt Johnston gave them a line out on the Dale 22 good tackling held the maul on the 5 metre line but the big Saints pack force over the whitewash for a try easily converted by Morley 7-0 after 10 minutes, Dale were soon back in the game after a knock on from the re-start gave a scrum to Dale a good move by Danny Joesbury with the ball going to Johnston who chipped over the rush defence but Saints full back was on hand to collect and clear back to half way. Dale were on the worst end of several decisions but were next on the score sheet when a long pass was spotted by Josh Schofield who sprinted in under the posts for a fine solo try unfortunately the conversion went just wide 7-5 Dale were to rue this miss as Saints came back forcing a penalty on the Dale 22 they chose the scrum option and set up a maul that led to their captain Will Grabe going in under the post with a simple conversion to follow 14-5.
Plenty of good efforts by both sides hard work by Ross Hartley in the tackle led to a long pass to Schofield who found Pat Gillan on the right wing who beat two defenders and chipped over his opposite number only to be knocked into touch. From the resulting penalty Dale got to the Saints 10 metre line only to lose the line out and see the home side clear to half way. Half time 14-5 Dale still in the game. The second half carried on in the same vain with Saints concentrating on pack moves and forcing Dale to kick clear the No 10. Making better returns leading to most of the play being in the Dale half and when Andrew Foster was yellow carded, the 14 men were under severe pressure. Eventually the Dale defence gave away a penalty and the conversion left the score 17-5 with 15 mins. left Dale had a good chance when a penalty was given on the Saints 22 a good take by Chris Hodgkinson saw the ball come to Si Moore who was held 5 meters out.
Next to suffer a bad decision was Josh Schofield desperate to get at the ball he was penalized for handling in the ruck when the ball was clearly out. A second push over try gave Saints a 24-5 lead. Dale kept on pressing and eventually hard working Ollie Coldman was rewarded with a great try with support from Eddie Shanks the conversion was again just wide so 24-10. Tom Hindle and Brad Fox came on he strengthen the pack and Dale held their own and when Foster came back on they made good use of the ball and defended well with Eddy Bateman and Ross Hartley outstanding. Saints kicked well and played to their strength leading to Dale defending in depth conceding penalties.
The final score 24-10 was a fair result but some missed chances by Dale could have seen a closer final score. Next week we are at home to Waterloo 2.15 pm kick off. David Rhodes R.R.U.F.C.