Scarborough 24 Rochdale 22
Rochdale travelled in great spirits following their comprehensive defeat last week of the then league leaders, Old Brodleians. This was the first time that Rochdale had played at the Scarborough club and before the game to mark this occasion, the Rochdale President, Dave Hodgkinson, presented a Rochdale RUFC plaque to the Scarborough President, Tim Elliott.
The game started on a bright afternoon more like an autumnal day on a pitch in good condition made for running rugby by both teams, Early Scarborough pressure was stopped when one of their players was penalised for holding on in the ruck. A promising move from the penalty was only stopped when a Rochdale player knocked on in the Scarborough 22. After 7 minutes, a penalty to Rochdale was kicked to the Scarborough 22 and following a few good rucks from the resulting line out, the ball made its way to Hill who went over for a try that Collins converted (0-7). From the restart, a Scarborough player knocked on. From the scrum, Collins launched a kick that was being brought back by a Scarborough player who was high tackled for a penalty to the home team. The ball was lost by Scarborough following the penalty and ball kicked up field by Rochdale where not for the 1st or last time the ball was knocked on by the home team.
The scrum led to a penalty for Rochdale when a Scarborough player did not roll away from a resulting ruck. Following a couple of rucks, the ball was lost in contact by a Rochdale player. Shortly afterwards, the ball was once again lost in contact by a Rochdale player. After 20 minutes, a good passing move by Rochdale was stopped for a forward pass when it looked likely to lead to a further score. Then a good Scarborough break was stopped when Schofield put in a good clearing kick. Then another good passing move by Scarborough, as they exerted further pressure, was stopped when the ball was stolen by Rochdale and Hesketh cleared the ball into touch. From the line out, Scarborough moved the ball across the backs where Joesbury executed a one-handed knock on that led to him receiving a yellow card from the referee and 10 minutes in the sin bin. Good drives by Scarborough led to one of their players being held up over the try line and a drop out by Rochdale from under the posts. A few minutes later, a penalty led to a line out, drives by their forwards and once again, one of their players held up over the try line and a drop out again by Rochdale from under the posts. From the drop out, good passing led to Ward jinking over for a try that Harrison converted (7-7). After 31 minutes, as Scarborough were exerting more pressure inside the Rochdale 22, Schofield intercepted an intended pass and ran all the way to score a try under the posts that Collins converted (7-14). There followed a good break by Hesketh that was only stopped when a penalty was awarded to Rochdale for a high tackle on the halfway line. From the resulting line out, Rochdale lost the ball in contact and the ball was cleared up field by Scarborough. After 38 minutes, from a Scarborough line out, the ball was being passed along their backline when an attempted kick was charged down by Sunderland, the ball was passed to Johnston and finally to Green who went over near the corner for an unconverted try to Rochdale (7-19). Scarborough were then penalised again for holding on in the tackle and then following another knock on by them, Collins calmly despatched the ball into touch to allow the referee to blow for a half time which saw Rochdale winning 19-7, although a strong performance from Scarborough had not allowed Rochdale to have everything their own way.
The second half started and within 2 minutes Hesketh went on a great run that was only stopped about 6 metres from the try line by a very high tackle for which the Scarborough player received a yellow card and 10 minutes in the sin bin from the referee but he did not award Rochdale a penalty try as he believed that there was cover to possibly stop a try being scored. This became a pivotal moment for the rest of the game. Within a couple of minutes, after a further penalty to them, Rochdale were held up near the Scarborough try line and a scrum awarded to Scarborough at which Rochdale, with Bradley now operating as hooker, pushed their opponents backwards. Shortly, when a penalty was awarded to Scarborough, they were awarded a further one when a Rochdale player tackled the penalty taker within 10 metres.
Scarborough then spent most of the remaining time with more of the ball and gaining good territory. A good interception by a Scarborough player took them into the Rochdale half. At the next scrum, Rochdale were penalised for boring in and this was quickly followed by another penalty to Scarborough for Rochdale collapsing a maul. From the resulting penalty and a rolling maul, Read went over for a try that was converted by Harrison (14-19). Almost immediately, Rochdale went up field and were awarded a penalty in front of the posts that Collins put in between the posts (14-22). A good run by Howard led to a line out outside the Scarborough 22 that was cleared by Scarborough. Then Scarborough went very close to a try, the referee took play back for a penalty to Scarborough, but Rochdale were able to force Scarborough into losing possession and a scrum to the visitors. The game was now getting towards the last 10 minutes and Scarborough spent upwards of 3 minutes putting ever more pressure on Rochdale that was only finally stopped when a Scarborough player once again knocked on in possession. Then a great run by Howard was stopped when a penalty was awarded to Scarborough for holding on in the tackle. The penalty kick towards touch was knocked on by Joesbury that led to a scrum to Scarborough between halfway and the 22. After further pressure by Scarborough, the ball went to Ropeti who went over for Scarborough’s 3rd try that was converted by Harrison (21-22).
Time was nearly up now and unfortunately the Rochdale kick off did not go 10 metres that meant a scrum to Scarborough. A further penalty to the home team was awarded but was too far out for a penalty kick attempt. Scarborough went through the phases and were then awarded a further penalty for not rolling away at a ruck. Harrison stepped up from about 30 metres to put the ball between the posts (24-22). The referee then blew immediately for full time for what was probably just about a deserved win for the home team, although Rochdale did not play to their usual high standard and might feel that the game might have been ‘put to bed’ early in the 2nd half. Eyes now turn to 17th February when Rochdale will host league leaders, Selby, for what should be another great game as it was when Rochdale had a narrow last-minute win in the 1st game earlier this season between the 2 teams.