Rochdale 36 Firwood Waterloo 51
A much changed Rochdale side faced Waterloo on a fine day at Moorgate Ave with Matt Johnston out injured and Chris Hodgkinson unavailable Ayrton Campbell moved to the 2nd row and Ethan Poole stepped up from the seconds at prop with Keelan Bradley at fly half. Dale were first on the score sheet with a lovely chip through by Bradley taken at pace by Si Moore who charged across the line to score after 5 minutes well converted by Bradley 7-0. Waterloo were soon back in the game and a good break by captain Jack Weare saw him touch down by the posts the conversion was missed so 7-5 after only 10 minutes. A poor restart gave the visitors a scrum on half way and in a nice passing move found the winger out wide with full back Josh Schofield to beat which he did with ease to score in the corner the conversion went wide so 5-10. Next a converted try for Dale making it 12-10 then minutes later another fast passing move had the Waterloo backs showing their pace and despite a fine tackle on the winger by Schofield a last minute inside pass found Stuart the big centre bursting through for a converted try 12-17. Almost from the restart Dale were penalized at the scrum and Waterloo had a good attack in almost the same position as the last score 12-22 the kick coming back off the posts.
Dale bounced back as they were awarded a rare penalty on the visitors 5 metre line Jake Castree captaining the side broke from the base of the scrum to score Bradley converted 19-22. Dale had a kickable penalty on the Waterloo 22 but the wind caught Bradley’s effort which fell well short. Still looking for a half time lead Dale forced a scrum on the visitors 22 the ball came wide to Ollie Bateman who crashed over from close in, a good conversion from Bradley saw Dale go in 26-22 up in a hectic first half with more to come.
The second half started with a series of penalties to the visitors and Dale struggling to hold the fast backs of Waterloo eventually the ball was slipped out to the winger who streaked in for a good try no conversion so 26-27. The re-start kick went straight into touch scrum to Waterloo on half way, the ball was passed across the Dale defence and the winger Ford scored in the corner for a converted try 26-34.
Dale bounced back and won a series of penalties as the visitors defence tried to slow the play down, the referee had to lecture the Waterloo captain but no yellow cards. Good efforts by Coldman and Hartley saw Dale reach the 5metre line and from the well taken line out the ball was slipped wide by Danny Joesbury for Pat Gillan to race in the conversion hitting the posts 31-34. Dale were now throwing everything in attack and when a pass found Joesbury linking up with his backs a try in the corner was the deserved result the conversion was pulled wide so Dale had their noses in front at 36-34 with 10 minutes left to play.
Dale introduced Harry Hayes and Tom Hindle but Hayes found himself playing on the wing covering for the injured Si Moore. Waterloo now had a purple patch hacking through on a lost Dale pass the ball was moved to the left wing for a sixth try which was converted 36-41. With Dale tiring showing the effects of last weeks performance at Anselmians gaps appeared and Waterloo were in no mood to relax when following a line out on half way the visitors backs ripped through the Dale defence for yet another good run by the winger was caught close to the line but a last minute pass found his centre backing up to score for a converted try 48-36. In the final minute a penalty on the Dale 22 saw the final score as the Waterloo fly half converted to make the final score 51-36 to the visitors.
A great game to watch and a real try fest in which Dale showed their usual never say die attitude but were beaten by a resurgent Waterloo. Next week we are at home to Birkenhead Park at the new kick off time of 3pm.
David Rhodes R.R.U.F.C.