Percy Park 41 Rochdale 22
Dale travelled North for this one off fixture against North East 1 side Percy Park ,with several regulars missing it was nice to welcome back Kyle Parry at Hooker and Jack Green in the centre and also new comer Travis Gideon at full back.
The game was played in heavy drizzle on a very green pitch at this famous old club. Dale started well in defence against a big Pack and good running backs, they were first on the scoreboard when a penalty was given 30 yds. out from the Park posts Matt Johnson elected to kick and slotted the ball perfectly 3-0.
Park have a game plan and when Dale stopped their backs on the 22 the pack took over and bundled the ball over for an unconverted try 5-3. The game was evenly balanced until the 20 minute when after a good Ollie Coldman break was stopped on half way a penalty was given after a scrum offence on the Dale 22 the penalty was converted so 8-3 to Park. From the kick off the ball reached the Park centre Spowart who made a good break ending in a nice inside pass to his 2nd row Reekie who score by the posts 13-3 Dale were still in the game and Richard West was using all his experience to test the home sides defence with good support from Danny Joesbury and Eddie Shanks the attack broke down with a forward pass on the Dale 22 from the scrum the Park fly half Ash Smith broke away and only a try saving tackle from new boy Travis Gideon at full back stopped a certain try. Within minutes Park were on the score sheet with a converted try by Smith 20-3. Dale needed a score before half time and after a line out on the Park 22 the ball came to Declan Connor who was bundled into touch 5 metres out. So at half time Dale were 20-3 down but not out of the contest.
The rain got heavier and both sides dropped the greasy ball and errors slowed the game down but it was the home side who scored next after winning a line out on the Dale 10 metre line a good passing move led to a try as the massive No. 20 collapsed over the line to score not a classic but 7 pointer with an easy conversion 27-3. Dale needed a score but progress was slow breaks by Gideon and West were snuffed out and again it was Park’s 10 who was on the score sheet next with a well worked move to just make the line the ref who had a good game was on the spot to give the try.
34-3. Dale refused to lie down and a series of penalties from the tiring Park defence saw Danny Joesbury chip over the rush defence and collect the ball for Kyle Parry to score on his return to the first team Johnston converted 34-10. From the kick off however Dale knocked on and Park were back in for a 5 th try with their big 2nd row just making the line despite desperate defence from Dale 41-10. Coach Danny Collins made some changes with Ethan Poole coming on in the pack and Ben Parton and Jack Holt being given a run. With Dale pressing a series of penalties saw them in the Park 22 and only poor handling in the worsening conditions stopped them scoring.
Another penalty and a warning from the referee a line out on the 5 metre line was well taken and a short pass to Ollie Coldman was taken over the line and converted 41-17 with only minutes left,Richard West collected the kick off and launched a massive kick into the Park 22 a knock on by the home side gave Dale another scrum and a further penalty for slowing the play down saw them almost on the line an inside pass found young Ethan Poole who ran in a consolation try the final score being 41-22 to Percy Park and they go forward to the Semi- Final next Saturday.
A good game and a brave performance from Dale , the hospitality from the home side was excellent and a good day was had by all.
David Rhodes R.R.U.F.C.