WORDS: SEAN SUNDERLAND PHOTOS: BRUCE MYERS
Kendal Senior Colts 8-5 Rochdale Senior Colts
SUNDAY 5th March 2023
Rochdale headed over the border into Cumbria for their penultimate Senior A Conference encounter with Kendal. Rochdale knew a victory would secure the league title but Kendal are unbeaten at home this season so this was always going to be a tall order. The Senior A Conference League is so tight that any one of five teams could still come out on top.
The game was a very even affair with both teams having entries into the opposition 22 but neither managing to convert this territory into points on the scoreboard. Both defences were dominating the opposition. The home team eventually took the lead after the left winger was set free following a strong carry by the second row (5-0).
Rochdale were soon back into the opposition half pressing for a score. A couple of kickable penalties were turned down in favour of kicks to the corner and lineout drives. These took Rochdale close to the Kendal try-line but a succession of unforced errors and poor decisions released the pressure and allowed the home team to exit their half. As is the way, when you don’t take your chances you are punished and, on their next visit to the Rochdale half, Kendal were able to secure a penalty to extend their lead (8-0). Again, Rochdale pressed for any type of score to narrow the gap but half time halted their momentum.
Rochdale got into the ascendancy in the second half and applied a lot of pressure but were still unable to convert this into points. Eventually Olly Mills crashed over, appearing to have scored, but an intervention from the touch judge ensured the score was chalked-off for a knock-on. With the clock running down, Rochdale eventually found some space on the outside and Nathan Robinson put Ben Kershaw into space and he raced down the wing to score (8-5). The conversion hit the post, however, there was still time to restart the match and Kendal were able to force the error that saw the game come to an end and Rochdale were left ruing their missed opportunities. The consolation score secured Rochdale an extra losing bonus point that could be crucial in the final reckoning.
Some excellent individual performances; notably Ben Sunderland at the breakdown, Mills’ tackling, Garrett Myer’s work rate and the forward pack for dominant scrummaging and lineout work. Special mention to Will Simmons who had a great first game back after a long injury lay-off.
Next week Rochdale are away at Wirral and need to register a win to apply pressure on the chasing teams.