Young Guns see Dale to Record Win

In 1st XV Match Reports by Rochdale Rugby

Rochdale 50 Old Brodlians 5

A top of the table clash at Moorgate Avenue saw third place Dale take on league leaders Old Brodlians looking for revenge for their last minute defeat in Halifax earlier in the season. On a dry chilly afternoon Dale started without Jake Castree who injured his knee in last week’s win and also Ross Hartley,
Coach Danny Collins fielded a young side with no less than six former Colts in the line up against an aggressive pack-led Brodlians side. Defence would be as important as attack in this game and the first five minutes were all the visitors battering the Dale defenders in a series of ruck and maul attacks which Dale held and due to Stevie Collins boot pushing Brodlians back to their own 22. The game was being ably refereed by Rebecca Rees the first lady referee to officiate at Rochdale and she gave Dale a penalty which Collins hammered into the visitors 10 metre area after good passing moves by Collins and captain Josh Schofield Dale were awarded another penalty in front of the posts where Danny Joesbury tapped to himself and nipped round the defenders to score a cheeky try easily converted by Collins.7-0. Brodlians were soon back on the offensive and a penalty conceded by Dale on their 22 led to a nice inter passing move by fly half Josh Kelly and Ben Barron on the wing and a try in the corner which was unconverted 7-5 after 15 minutes.

In the next frantic quarter Dale continued to counter attack with testing kicks by Collins probing the Brodlians defence, a great interception by Ben Sunderland took the play to the visitors 22 the line out was the first lost by Brodlians due to great work by Eddie Shanks and Chris Hodgkinson who were excellent all afternoon. Camped in the red zone Dale continued to press and after a third penalty were within metres of the visitors line when they were penalized for crossing, letting off the tiring Brodlians defence. From the drop out Josh Schofield received the ball on half way and after one of his hallmark mazy runs tried to chip over the defence but this time the full back collected safely and punted back to the Dale 22, Collins returned the ball high and deep leaving Dale back on the Brodlians 22 where they penalized for offside and with half time approaching Collins decided to take the points and so Dale went in 10-5 up but with a lot to do to secure the win.

The second half started as had the first with Brodlians trying to charge through the Dale defence which held firm and when the ball came to full back Schofield he darted from half way to score a great individual try ably converted by Collins 17-5. Minutes later following a deep re-start Collins planted the ball back in the visitors 22 and after a turnover scrum by the increasingly confident Dale pack another solo effort this time by Cliff Howard saw the young winger skip through the Brodlians defence to score a brilliant try after chipping the hapless full back 22-5. A great take by steady Eddie Shanks in the line out Dale on the rampage now and a desperate clearance kick by scrum half Kemp handed back possession to Dale – Matty Johnston was on hand to cross the line converted by Collins 29-5. Minutes later another kick and chase down the left wing saw Tom Hesketh run in a fine solo try again converted by Collins whose personal tally for the afternoon had reached 17 points. 36-5.

Every time Dale got the ball back an increasingly demoralized Brodlians defence was faced with younger fitter attackers and so it was on 75 minutes that Captain Josh Schofield collected a clearance kick on halfway and backed himself to run through the crumbling defensive line and get his 2nd and Dale’s sixth try of the afternoon with another faultless touchline conversion by Collins 43-5 with minutes to go, after a high tackle brought the Brodlians wing forward a yellow card the penalty went in the corner Hodgkinson caught the line out ball and with a short inside pass Collins set up Danny Joesbury to score the seventh try sending the home support into raptures the conversion added the icing on the cake as Dale clocked up 50 points for the first time this season.

A really great team performance but a special mention for Stevie Collins who controlled the game and added his own 20 points to the score line. Next Saturday the lads face the long trip to Scarborough but the chance to go top and an overnight stay to celebrate.
David Rhodes R.R.U.F.C.