WORDS: SEAN SUNDERLAND PHOTOS: BRUCE MYERS
SUNDAY 2ND APRIL 2023
Last weekend saw the final round of League fixtures to decide the North West Senior Colts A Conference. Rochdale had already completed their matches and were sitting atop of the table, but there were a couple of teams, Wirral and Kendal, that could overtake them at the final reckoning. The league had been a close run affair right from the start, with no more than a handful of points covering the top six sides. Wirral were at home to local rivals Caldy whilst Kendal had travelled to Chester. Caldy and Chester weren’t in the running for the top spot and were playing for pride and bragging rights, so it’s a credit to them that they both fielded their strongest teams.
As it stood Wirral needed to win, but Kendal could afford to lose as long as they secured a losing bonus point (a point awarded to teams that lose by a score of 7 or less). With the half time scores coming in Caldy were doing their bit, leading 10-15 away from home, and Chester were just edging Kendal 7-6. This meant Kendal were still within bonus point territory. As the games progressed Caldy pulled away to win 19-30 at Wirral and Rochdale’s dream was still alive. Kendal however had stretched out to a 12-20 lead with only 15 minutes remaining.
Chester play an expansive open game on their Astro Turf and quickly get the ball wide to their speedy backs, so there is always a chance of some fast tries. This was exactly how the game unfolded, with Chester fighting back to lead 24-20 heading into the final ten minutes. Chester needed another try to deny Kendal the losing bonus point , which they secured with just five minutes remaining to post a 29-20 victory. After the maths was done Rochdale were declared League Champions, a single point clear of Kendal and 3 points ahead of Wirral and Stockport. The losing bonus point scored by Rochdale up at Kendal has secured the league and made Rochdale the Halbro North West Colts League Champions!
Rochdale Senior Colts now have only one more game remaining, the Lancashire Cup Final, where they meet Kendal who will be desperate to take the win having just missed out in the league. Lancashire Cup Final kicks off at 3pm on Sunday 23rd April at Heaton Moor Rugby Club. Should Rochdale retain the Cup they will complete the ‘Double Double’ with league and cup victories in their Junior Colts and Senior Colts years.