Rugby Union: Blackburn 12 - 6 Rochdale RUFC
Date published: 09 January 2018
Harry Hill: Blackburn 12 v 6 Rochdale RUFC
Despite setting off well and ending strong, Rochdale went down away at Blackburn.
Rochdale defended well for ten minutes until the the Blackburn number eight battered his way through. The ball went wide to the left wing, Rochdale covered well but the player followed up to crash over for the opening try.
With a strong following wind, Rochdale's James Duffy launched a high ball that the Blackburn defence failed to deal with, giving away a penalty in the process. Duffy, the kicker for the day with Ollie Coldman unavailable, slotted the ball over.
Travis Townsend tested the Blackburn defence with a run which ended in touch only a few metres out.
Rob Wadsworth fed Josh Schofield at loose forward and he jinked his way through several tackles only to penalised for not releasing.
Blackburn made the most of the kick and from the subsequent line out the pack drove the ball to right under the Rochdale posts for the second row squeezed over for a converted try.
Rochdale were back on the attack straight away with the pack, led by captain Tom Callaghan, pushing back their opposite numbers and creating a good base for Jimmy Flitcroft and Josh Schofield to force the Blackburn defence into giving away another penalty in range and Duffy obliged.
Rochdale were camped on the Blackburn 10 metre line and desperate tackling led to another penalty for slowing play down, about 35 metres out. Duffy went for goal and only just missed; the strong breeze just blowing the ball wide of the upright.
Rochdale were denied a try when an overlapping move involving Wadsworth, Townsend and Robbie Willetts saw Josh Schofield cross the line in the corner only to have it ruled out for an offside at the initial penalty kick.
Half Time: Blackburn 12 - 6 Rochdale RUFC
Harry Hill had replaced Jonny Bradley at hooker.
Gui Desousa was ajudged to have fouled in front of the posts and yellow carded. Blackburn went for the seven points and from the line out broke through the resolute Rochdale defence only to see their scrum half drop the ball with the line beckoning.
Despite the man advantage, Blackburn could not break down the tight Rochdale defence; Callaghan and Ward put their bodies on the line to stop attack after attack.
At the other end clever kicking and good line out work from the returning Chris Hodgkinson saw Rochdale back on the offensive.
A good break by Wadsworth was cynically stopped by Blackburn resulting in another penalty chance. Duffy went for touch deep in the Blackburn 22 and from a well taken line out Rochdale pushed wide to find a gap with Flitcroft and Schofield beating tackles but just falling short of the line.
The referee yellow carded the Blackburn second rower after four penalties in the five metre area.
Rochdale battered away and Blackburn, who continued to infringe, were fortunate no further cards were shown.
Blackburn cleared on full time but the ball stayed live and a further five minutes was played, but try as they might Rochdale could not get over the line.
Rob Wadsworth was Rochdale man-of-the-match.
Next Saturday Rochdale welcome Manchester to Moorgate Avenue for a 2-15pm kick off looking to pick up some much needed points.