Rochdale 11 Morley 18
After last week’s win over Moortown Dale travelled across the Pennines to face a side in Morley they had not played for 20 yrs. Several changes from last week with Matty Johnston at scrum half and welcome returns for Jake Castree and the experienced Ross Hartley as well as Ben Sunderland and Cliff Howard. The game could not have started any worse for Dale as from the kick off the ball was well taken by Harry Hayes and passed inside to Stevie Collins his pass on was fumbled and the Morley centre nipped in to collected the lose ball and score under the posts 7-0 inside the first minute.
Dale recovered well and Olly Mills was only stopped a metre from the Morley line, the pressure continued with Collins orchestrating several good attacks the home side gave away a penalty on their 22 which Collins despatched to make it 5-3 with five minutes gone. The game ebbed and flowed around the opposing 22’s with neither side dominating with Morley dominating the scrums and Dale through Chris Hodgkinson and Harry Hayes the line outs. The game was spoiled by an over fussy referee who penalized both sides and caused breaks in play. Too many unforced errors by Dale saw them defending their 22 and only great tackles by Jack Green and Tom Hesketh save a try. Dale were soon up the other end of the pitch and a great break by Ethan Poole was held up just short of the white wash .Collins was testing the home defence with nice chips over the defensive line one followed up by Ollie Coldman who collected the ball and made good yards. A penalty for Morley saw them edge in front 10-3 .In the 36th minute Dale were back in the game when after another good line out he received the ball 10 metres out and Ethan Poole stormed over for a well deserved try the conversion from Collins hitting the upright so half time saw the score 10-8 to Morley and with the wind behind them Dale seemed on course for a good 2nd half.
High kicks from both fly halves seemed to be the order of the day with no real result for either side, Dale had some good rolling mauls run by Collins only poor handling stopped them getting to the Morley try line, next a harsh yellow card deprived Dale of their best attacker as Ollie Coldman who went to the bin for 10 minutes. Eddie Shanks and Jake Castree were brought on as coach Danny Collins rang the changes the stabilize the scrums. A good passing move from the Morley backs saw them score but the conversion was missed 15-8. Some great tackling by the evergreen Ross Hartley held the Morley attacks and Dale continued to press well in the centres until Jack Green had to go off with a damaged shoulder and then after only 10 minutes on Jake Castree was harshly yellow carded for a high tackle and in a repeat of last weeks game Dale were down to13 men for a period. In the 65th minute Dale were awarded a penalty 30m out and Stevie Collins celebrated his birthday with a fine kick 15-11 game on!
Despite the missing players Dale continued to attack and only silly mistakes cost them ground, Collins was on hand to save a certain try to Morley as he was forced to touch down behind his own line. Morley were given a penalty in front of the posts on 77 mins and made it 18-11. In the final moments a great break by Tom Hesketh was held up just metres from the Morley line so the final score was 18-11 to the home side who just about deserved their win. The Dale youngsters did well again Ethan Poole the pick and of course Stevie Collins now a veteran had a great game. A home game next week 3pm kick off versus Old Crossleyans.
David Rhodes R.R.U.F.C.