Narrow margins at Old Brods

In 1st XV Match Reports by Rochdale Rugby


After last week’s great win at Goole Dale were looking to move further up the table with a winning visit to Halifax side Old Brodlians, Dale had Ollie Coldman and Tom Hesketh missing but still fielded a strong side. The weather at the start of the game was awful with heavy rain and a gusty wind perched as we were high in the Pennines. The home side were soon in full attack mode and only some good tackling from Ross Hartley in for Coldman and the wing forwards Jake Castree and Ben Sunderland kept them at bay. High kicks from the Brods No. 10 were the order of the day but captain Josh Schofield took one in his own 10 metre area and ran through the entire Brods Pack only to be stopped on their 22. Dales defence had a real testing 10 minutes ending in a penalty for the home side in front of Dales posts 3-0 after 10 minutes.

As usual Dale responded with good passing moves led by Stevie Collins at fly half and from a ruck on Brods 22 he took the ball and raced in for Dales first try his kick being blown just wide 3-5. Brods continued to try high cross kicks to feed their winger but Dales defence were equal to it and after one such attempt full back Schofield had another mazey run only being stopped on the home sides 5 metre line. The ball was passed across to centre Matty Johnston to score under the posts converted by Collins 3-12 after 15 mins. Dale were now well on top holding the Brods attacks and winning good ball in the line outs thanks to Chris Hodgkinson and Eddie Shanks, Stevie Collins was running the show as usual spreading passes around and in an end to end contest Dale were held on the Brods 5 metre line a high kick was well taken by scrum half Danny Joesbury who went all the way to score a great try converted by Collins 3-19. Dales defence was tested and eventually the ball went wide to the left wing and Brods had their first try 8-19. Next came the first of several controversial decisions … when following up a high clearance young Mich Holt was a judged to have taken the full back high and was yellow carded, this after a stamping incident by the Brods #13 was missed minutes earlier. Minutes later it was the home side down to 14 as their 2nd row went to the bin. Still the high cross field kicks seemed to be Brods only tactic, Schofield was too fast for their winger and hacked on a ball on his own 22 beating the home defence for speed and with a second soccer style kick on he had reached their 22 only to be hauled down losing the ball forward. Again just before half time a fine tackle by Hartley saved a certain try for Brods. So half time saw Dale with a well deserved 19-8 lead.

The pitch at Woodhead Park has a distinct slope and Dale were now playing up it and facing a swirling wind they continued to defend well and after a line out on their 22 Joesbury was tackled into touch on the 10 metre line the scrum went Brods way but the centre knocked on. Play went on, two passes later the winger clearly knocked on after a terrible pass on his bootlaces, carry on said the ref and Brods promptly touched down to the amazement of even their own supporters! 15-19.

Dale were on the back foot now and coach Collins rang the changes bringing on Harry Hayes and returning winger Declan O’Loughlin to bolster the defence. After a promising break by Olly Mills, Dale lost the ball on half way a series of free kicks saw Brods on the Dale 22 where a penalty was conceded and Harry Hill saw yellow along with the Brods No.4. The kick went over so 18-19 with 10 minutes left. Both sides battled well in the now sunny weather Dale went forward and only stout defence by the home side kept them from scoring a deserved fourth try, a line out on the Dale 22 was fumbled and at the resulting scrum Dale were penalized and their kicker who had kept them in the game all afternoon stepped up and planted the ball from the touchline to make the final score 21-19 to the home side. This was a good game – Dale should have secured the points in the first half which they dominated but a lesson learned. Next week Scarborough at home with a 3pm kick off.
David Rhodes R.R.U.F.C.