Rochdale lose their unbeaten home record

In 1st XV Match Reports by Rochdale Rugby

Rochdale 21 Selby 24
Rochdale welcomed the current league leaders to Moorgate Avenue for what was always thought to be a great game in the making. Rochdale had won the reverse fixture with a last-minute penalty.
Inside 2 minutes, Joesbury made a good break from the base of a scrum. A penalty to Selby for not releasing the ball in the tackle was awarded. After 4 minutes, good Selby pressure was relieved when a penalty was awarded to Rochdale, not the first to be conceded by either team during the game. A further penalty was awarded to Rochdale in the 8th minute for a Selby player diving on the ball within 1 metre of the ruck. From the resulting line out following 2 successful rucks, Joesbury picked up, broke up the right-hand side to score a try that was converted by Collins (7-0). After 14 minutes, Rochdale were able to relieve pressure on them when a penalty was awarded for a Selby player being offside. Shortly afterwards, a Rochdale scrum was turned by the Selby pack for which a penalty to the visitors awarded.

After 18 minutes, a good high kick by Collins was expertly taken by Bramley, the ball was passed through the hands for Webster to score a try for the visitors that was converted by Wright (7-7). In the 21st minute, a good break and kick through by Hesketh was only stopped when a Rochdale player knocked on in the tackle. There followed a period of 4 penalties being awarded to the visitors, from the last of which after 30 minutes in front of the posts about 30 metres out Wright put the kick through the posts for Selby’s first lead in the game (7-10). Rochdale refused to let this setback deflate them and in the 32nd minutes following a good crossfield passing move, Joesbury expertly chipped over the onrushing Selby defence for Schofield to touch down for the home team’s 2nd try that was converted by Collins (14-10). Selby came back again with a good kick through that was fumbled back by a Rochdale player who was then bundled into touch. The line out was then stolen by Rochdale, got back to Collins who then executed a 50/20 kick that won the home team the put in at the resultant line out. The last few minutes of the first half saw the home team penalised 3 times, but they managed to hold on to go into the half time break 14-10 up.

The start of the second half saw Rochdale being awarded a penalty when the Selby player held on in the tackle. A good crossfield move by Rochdale from the line out following the kick to touch was ended when Hesketh was forced into touch. A good relieving kick by the away team’s Wright was taken brilliantly by Hesketh who after a strong run was taken into touch. A penalty was then awarded to Selby for Rochdale bringing the maul down, which then led to continuous rolling mauls by the away team and a good crossfield passing move that the referee had to stop as a Selby player was lying injured in front of the posts. Play was restarted with a scrum, followed by a further penalty to the away team for Rochdale collapsing the scrum. Selby opted to take another scrum that Rochdale managed to win and kick the ball upfield. A further penalty to Selby ensued that saw then take the play up near the Rochdale line, but was repelled by good defence by the home team.

After 57 minutes, Rochdale lost a scrum on their put in – The ball was played across the pitch where the Selby player stepped inside an attempted tackle by Collins that was adjudged to be high and very near to the try line. The referee had no hesitation in awarding a Penalty Try to the away team (14-17). The Selby attempted try scorer left the field following the hit to his head and Collins received a yellow card for the unintentional hit, neither player returned to the game as Collins had suffered a significant cut to his top lip that needed stitches. There followed good pressure by the home team, including 3 penalties, but Selby made several good tackles to stop the home side from adding to their score. Finally, after 72 minutes, a good Rochdale scrum led to a try by Mills that was converted by Johnson (21-17). From the restart, Rochdale conceded a further penalty when not releasing the ball when tackled.

The rest of the game saw Selby on the front foot and Rochdale putting in numerous try saving tackles and holding up a Selby player when over the try line. Finally, after 79 minutes and incessant pressure by the away team, Broughton went over for Selby’s 3rd try that Wright also converted (21-24).

Shortly afterwards, the whistle was blown for full time and a deserved win for Selby. The referee, who was a higher level one and had a fine game, remarked afterwards that the game had been a better quality than several higher-level ones that he had officiated this season. Selby have been the best team that Rochdale have played this season and look destined to win promotion at the end of the season. However, Rochdale ran their talented opponents right to the end of an enthralling encounter. Rochdale will need to concede less penalties than the 13 they did in this game if they wish to beat teams of their opponent’s quality in future games. Eyes now turn to Rochdale’s next game which is away to Glossop on 2nd March.