Rochdale 59 Old Crossleyans 24
After last week’s disappointing performance Dale were determined to make a statement against visitors Old Crossleyans at Moorgate Avenue. With the exception of Jack Green, Danny Joesbury and of course Pat Gillan who may be missing for a while coach Danny Collins had a full squad to pick from and again started several of the young bloods from last year’s Colts XV. The game started well for Dale with Steve Collins running the show with short passes and deft chips through the visitors defence and from a line out on the 22m line Crossleyans full back was penalized for not releasing a scrum for Dale made good ground and the ball came to Eddie Shanks in the 2nd row to score a rare try converted by Collins 7-0. Dale were on the charge now and good passing move involving Collins and Matt Johnston saw the ball go wide were linking up was Olly Mills to race in for a try close to the corner the kick from Collins going just wide 12-0.
Crossleyans tried to come back but struggled get out of their own half thanks to some aggressive tackling from the Dale pack. From a breakdown on half way Dale won the ball through Jake Castree and a nice passing move had young centre Tom Hesketh cutting in to beat three defenders and score a great individual try converted by Collins 19-0. A bit of desperation was creeping into Crossleyans play and when a half cleared kick fell to Ben Sunderland he made no mistake and scored under the posts 26-0 with 30 mins gone.
After a try saving tackle by the visitors full back a line out infringement gave Dale a scrum on the 5metre line a good push and prop Jonny Bradley who was having another good game crashed over for the try followed by a touchline conversion from Collins 33-0. Mention must be made of the great line out work by Chris Hodgkinson and Jake Castree with Eddie Shanks supporting. Dale had so much ball Collins could try a series of cheeky chips over the reeling Crossleyans defence with Ollie Coldman and captain Josh Scofield always eager for work, Coldman chased thru’ one such kick only for the full back to hack away on his own 10 metre line.
The second half started with a flourish to the visitors game as Dale took their foot off the gas and allowed a rare visit to their own 22 to go unchecked and saw the visitors pick up a try 33-5. Soon it was the home side back in charge and a good break by Hodgkinson was well supported by Matt Johnston who touched down by the posts 40-5. Next blood to Crossleyans who had picked up their game and scored a second try following a penalty 5m out 40-10.
Two more tries one from Hesketh and another Jonny Bradley special saw Dale pushing the score board on with one try back from the visitors it was 52-17 with 5 minutes to go.
A breakaway try from Crossleyans following a Dale handling error saw them move to 24 points but the home side had the last laugh when a lovely passing move had Collins feeding Johnston again for him to score his 2nd try of the afternoon converted by the irrepressible Collins to leave the score 59-24. A fine performance by this young side a confidence booster for next week’s trip to Goole.
David Rhodes R.R.U.F.C.