Rochdale 36 Moortown 15
Rochdale welcomed Moortown to Moorgate Avenue on a furnace like hot day for their first home game of the season. The visitors were expected to give Rochdale a severe test as they had only lost out on last season’s league title by just 1 point.
The first minutes saw the visitors put Rochdale under severe pressure following 2 penalties awarded for not releasing and not rolling away. It was therefore not a surprise following a good crossfield passing movement that Collier went in for a try in the corner (0-5). A penalty to Moortown led to a line out at which the Moortown scrum half knocked on the ball. The pressure was further relieved when Rochdale were awarded a penalty in their 10-metre area with the kick finding touch near the Moortown 22. The ball came back from the line out to Collins, who chipped over the onrushing defence to regain possession and go over for Rochdale’s first try that he also converted (7-5). Good pressure by Moortown at this stage was stopped on 2 occasions by penalties awarded to Rochdale for holding on and crossing in the centres.
Collins put a kick to the corner, the lineout went to the rear of the line, finding its way to O’Connell who went over for his first try for the 1st team. Collins converted the kick (14-5). There followed an exchange of penalties by both teams that made for a bit of scrappy play for about 7 minutes. At this stage, Moortown were awarded a penalty for a high tackle with the referee warning the Rochdale captain that the next transgression would see a Rochdale player being given a yellow card. In the period coming up to half time, Moortown put several phases together that ended when a Moortown player did not release the ball when tackled. Collins kicked beyond the Moortown 10-metre line for a line out to Rochdale, which was knocked on giving a scrum to Moortown. From the scrum, Moortown’s Pollinger received the ball in his own half and proceeded to evade a number of Rochdale players to score an excellent try in the corner (14-10). A good half by both teams, who wanted to run the ball at every opportunity and with all to play for in the second half.
The second half started with a good run by Moortown’s Parkin after an exchange of kicks by both teams. Then a kick through by Moortown reached Schofield in his own 22-metre area with him being carried into touch by the Moortown attackers. Finally, Rochdale got a greater share of the ball, won a penalty for a Moortown player coming in at the side. From the lineout, a rolling maul saw Rochdale score another try that was converted by Collins (21-10).
The play continued to ebb from one team to the other as both teams continued to probe and look for gaps in the other’s defence. Finally, a good drive forward by the Rochdale backs led to an excellent passing move with Collins putting Hodgkinson in at the corner for a further try (26-10). Shortly afterwards, a high tackle by Hill saw him yellow carded and Rochdale reduced to 14 players. At the next scrum, with Rochdale having to bring on a front row replacement for Hill, Moortown put great pressure on the Rochdale scrum to win a scrum against the head after 2 resets. Within 5 minutes, things went from bad to worse when O’Connell was also yellow carded for another high tackle to leave Rochdale playing with a 2-man disadvantage. This was followed very closely by the Moortown pack going on a rolling drive that resulted in the number 8 Farley crossing the line for a further try (26-15).
Going into the last 10 minutes, and with Rochdale back up to 14 players, a Moortown player was also yellow carded for a high tackle to leave the teams playing 14 v 14. Collins popped the resulting penalty over (29-15). Moortown were not finished – a kick through by Pollinger led to Schofield being taken over the try line for a 5-metre scrum to the visitors. Moortown easily won the scrum, got the ball out to the backs where the stand off decided to try a crossfield kick to the right winger, who unfortunately for his team and himself managed to knock the ball on with the line begging. Rochdale decided that the last meaningful action of the game would see them take a Moortown lineout, move the ball smartly to the backs to see Collings go in for another try that he also converted to leave the final score 36-10.
All in all, a great result for Rochdale against a team that will be there or thereabouts come the end of the season. Collins was the master of the Rochdale play and eyes now turn to next Saturday when Rochdale travel to Morley.