Title Race still on as Dale take maximum Points

In 1st XV Match Reports by Rochdale Rugby

Rochdale 38 Bridlington 14

With Dale missing Matty Johnston and Harry Hayes they fielded a side made up of entirely from previous Youth team players quite an achievement in current times. Before the kick off a minutes silence was observed in memory of Eddie Deasey former player for club and county and later President of Lancashire who died recently.

Dale started well and took the game to the visitors through the backs well marshalled by Stevie Collins and scrum half Danny Joesbury, but it was a 2nd rower in Declan Connor who burst through the Bridlington defence to score the opening try Collins conversion hit the upright so 5-0 with 10 minutes gone. A good passing move saw Ben Sunderland skirt several defenders before passing inside to Danny Joesbury to score his first try of the afternoon this time Collins made no mistake 12 – 0. It was only some poor handling by Dale that stopped them scoring more points as they anxiously looked for the extra tries, Bridlington had no real answer to the speed of Collins and the young backs and only some sus piously high tackles stopped Dales progress, a good break by captain Josh Schofield saw the final pass falling short of winger Cliff Howard who’s speed would have seen in for a well deserved try. From the line out Dale disrupted the throw and Eddie Shanks passed out to Joesbury who slid in for his 2nd try of the afternoon Collins added the extras and made the half time score 19-0 to Dale.

James O,Connell was brought on in the scrum the backs continued to dominate and Schofield was unlucky when a dazzling run from half way was stopped by a no arms tackle on the visitors 10 metre line. After a knock on by Bridlington the scrum was won by an increasingly confident Dale pack and the ball went wide where somehow with a 3 man overlap Dale failed to score. Bridlington made good use of a deep kick by their Fly Half Josh Stanyon to take play to the Dale 22 in the line out Ben Sunderland received a yellow card and down to 14 men Dale seemed a little more vulnerable in defence and the visitors got a neat try which was unconverted 19-5. Back came Dale with some lovely rugby passing and breaks by Jack Green and Tom Hesketh led to a nice inside pass to the ever eager Captain Josh Schofield steaming in for a well deserved try making him the top try scorer in the Division a fine touchline conversion by Collins left the score 26-7.

Two minutes later the scoreboard moved again with a fifth try for Dale 31-7 with 5 minutes left, no easing up as every point was vital at this stage of the season. When Jonny Bradley who had battled hard all afternoon was penalized for not releasing in the tackle Bridlington had a line out on the Dale 22 but again great pressure by Eddie Shanks and Tom Hindle stole the ball, a hack through by Oli Coldman saw a foot race to the line won by the young Dale backs 38-5. To be fair the visitors never gave up and despite a great clearance kick by Joesbury to the 22 Bridlington collected the ball and made a good passing move ending with a try under the posts to leave the final score 38-14 to Dale a fine result and the required 5 points to keep them 5 points behind leaders Selby with two game s to go, next Saturday we are away to Dronfield in a maiden visit to their Sheffield ground.

David Rhodes R.R.U.F.C.