WORDS: SEAN SUNDERLAND PHOTOS: BRUCE MYERS
Heaton Moor Senior Colts 46-36 Rochdale Senior Colts
SUNDAY 26th March 2023
With Rochdale league fixtures at an end, a development fixture was arranged at Heaton Moor to give both teams the opportunity to mix their Senior and Junior Colts. The conditions were ideal and the pitch was in excellent condition. The game was played in a very open manner with both teams going for width and trying to exploit the space outwide. Rochdale’s scrum was on top from the start and Moor’s lineout was a constant supply of ball. After some initial Rochdale pressure, Moor moved down the pitch by putting the ball through their backs’ hands. But you have to earn the right to go wide, and one forced pass too many allowed Mitch Holt to intercept just inside his own half and streak away from the defence to score under the post (0-7).
Straight from the kick off the ball was moved to Jacob Jackson in the Rochdale 22. Jackson beat the outside defender and accelerated into the open field. He handed-off a couple more tacklers before reaching the try line for an excellent individual try (0-12). This jolt stirred Moor into action and they scored a couple of quick tries of their own with some good handling and strong running from their centres (10-12).
The game settled down for the middle period of the half before Moor scored another couple of quick fire tries (22-12). There was just time for Rochdale to demonstrate their forward dominance when Ben Hankinson caught the lineout ball and drove for the line to register the last score of this half (22-17).
The second half followed a very similar pattern, with Moor going wide at every opportunity and Rochdale making inroads through their forwards. Moor scored next and Rochdale responded immediately with some more strong forward carries. Garrett Myers took a tap penalty and was unstoppable from 5m out (29-22). Again, Moor fired more of their own shots and registered a couple of additional tries, aided by some very lacklustre Rochdale tackling (39-22). However, Rochdale responded
and Joel Rigby was the recipient this time, picking the ball up in his own half, he beat several would-be tacklers on his way to the try line (39-29).
There was just time for another try apiece; Rochdale’s again came from close quarters with Aiden Lord powering over under the posts to round off a very entertaining match (46-36). To summarise the game; it was an attacking smorgasbord with optional defence. There were some good individual performances and it was great to see Tom Hesketh back running into the open spaces after recent injury. Oskar Sipowicz carried and tackled well but MotM went to Ollie Simpson who stood in at scrum half and showed all the running, passing and harassing skills you’d expect from a veteran. Rochdale will be hoping to play more development games in their run up to the Lancashire Cup Final on April 23 again at Heaton Moor.