A cold morning in Rochdale was to be the scene of a hard game of rugby, Rochdale versus Stockport. Both teams were lacking vital players with few men on the bench to alleviate the respective packs of injury and fatigue.
Stockport started strongly with a flurry of passes leaving a gap in Rochdale’s defence which their wingers capitalised on to register the first score of the game. 0-5. Having woken up a little, and perhaps angered by the unfortunate injury to Damian, Rochdale muscled their way through the Stockport players with big runs coming from Josh, Logan, Harry Ghattuara and Max Evans. The pressure of the Rochdale attack drew a penalty which Adam slotted sweetly in to the corner of the field. With white line fever kicking in, a training ground rehearsed play from the Rochdale line out saw Max Evans crash over the try line; 5-5.
Sadly though, the comeback was not to be with Stockport showing their class and flair, finding areas of the pitch unguarded by Rochdale players and scoring well worked tries. Tensions were running high and a brief exchange of words and arms between Logan and the Stockport player quickly developed into a brief melee .. this saw the Rochdale benches exclaiming ‘can we at least get to half-time!?’
Some further unfortunate commentary from the Rochdale sidelines later resulted in a series of penalties. Towards the end of the game a nasty collision saw a Stockport player hit the ground and knock himself out cold. His tackle height meant he would be furnished with a red card – his target, David Sibanda escaped without a scratch despite the high-speed collision just moments before. The match finished 5-22 to Stockport with good effort by both sides and a much better performance by Rochdale then the game prior.
A splendid set from the captain Max Evans, who awarded his choice of Man of the Match to Ethan Miles for his tireless and unrelenting work both in attack and defence, whilst the coaches recognised David Sibanda for the accurate ferocity of his tackling throughout the game, and great attacking runs with the ball.
James Richardson, U16 Player