Bridlington 32 Rochdale 20
Rochdale made the long trip to the East coast to face Bridlington to find the 1st team pitch waterlogged, the referee was happy for the game to go ahead on the 2nd team field instead – both captains agreed, game on. Dale had some noticeable absentees in Stevie Collins Danny Joesbury , Jake Castree and Ross Hartley so it was a case of bring on the young bloods to cover all but two of the XV being former Rochdale Colts.
Bridlington needed the points and played their strongest side good early pressure saw Dale give away a penalty in front of the posts for offside the kick struck the upright so a lucky let off for the visitors. Dale were defending well but another indiscretion on the 22 led to Stayton the Bridlington fly half having an identical chance this time he made no mistake 3-0. Dale had some good attacks with Dom Serridge and Aidy Gleeson leading the way without producing a score the play swung back into their half with some deep kicks from Stanyon pegging Dale in their own 22 yet another penalty this time about 30m out and the score went to 6-0.
Bridlington were growing in confidence and the penalty count grew against the hapless Dale forwards a scrum on the 22 another infringement seen by the ref another 3 points 9-0 with 15 minutes gone. As usual Dale bounced back and had the home side defending their line a lofted clearance found Josh Schofield who scampered through the defenders only to be stopped 5 metres short however Dale were awarded a rare penalty for offside and Matty Johnston made no mistake 9-3. The young boys in the pack James O’Connell and Ethan Poole all had runs and did well in scrums with the line outs dominated by Chris Hodgkinson and Eddie Shanks gave Dale ball but strong tackling by the home wing forwards held them in check and it was yet another penalty for offside that led to 4 th score for Stanyon 12-3. As half time approached the cards began to appear first the Bridlington centre and a few minutes later despite being at the bottom of an untidy ruck Ben Sunderland saw yellow, minutes later a second yellow for Dale so now down to 13 men the inevitable happened as the home sides advantage saw them run their 1st try which was converted 19-3 and Dale with a mountain to climb. In a rare attack Dale got close to the Bridlington line but a series of cynical penalties were given away inside the red zone no card but a chance for Johnston to reduce the deficit 19-6.
The second half saw Rochdale back to 14 men and Bridlington to full strength for a short while then the ref spotted a high tackle and the wing half had to go off only a yellow was the decision no VAR here of course. Dale were next on the score sheet a good passing move by Gleeson let in Ben Sunderland to score Johnston converted so 19-13 game on, even the penalties were going the visitors way as Bridlington hung on to their lead lots of high clearing kicks in the swirling wind one such punt into the Dale 22 saw a knock on develop into a penalty through some sloppy play and up stepped Stanyon to make it 22-13. Josh Gibson came on for Dale and was soon in the attack to but was held up by the tiring home defence all the signs seemed right for Dale but yet another silly penalty this time 40 metres out gave a needless 3 points to Bridlington as Stanyon got his 5th penalty to make it 25-13. By this time the penalty count had gone into double figures and in desperate defending another home player saw yellow.
Following a scrum on the Bridlington 5 metre line the Dale forwards crashed over for a well deserved 2nd try converted by Johnston 25-20 with 5 minutes – Could Dale do a Selby and snatch the points? ….. well not today … the restart was fumbled and following a scrum on the Dale 22 the home side ran in their 2nd try ably converted to make the final score 32-20 which flattered Bridlington somewhat but Dale only had themselves to blame for the early penalty count. No game next week then Derbyshire side Dronfield at home on 02.12.2023.
David Rhodes R.R.U.F.C.