Rugby League: Wath Brow Hornets 24 - 18 Rochdale Mayfield

Date published: 19 October 2017

Rochdale Mayfield suffered defeat at Wath Brow in West Cumbria on Tuesday night in a National Conference League Premier Division knock out play-off fixture despite putting in a valiant effort in the face of a four-hour coach journey, atrocious conditions and enmity from the home crowd.

This was the most important game of the season so far for both sides and rearranged from Saturday afternoon due to a heavy pitch - despite both teams be ready to play and Mayfield having already made the long journey to Cumbria.

In the end, fixture scheduling meant the game had to played mid-week and despite conditions being exactly the same, the player welfare reasons for the initial postponement were reversed and the game went ahead.

Coach Matt Calland was forced into changes, with himself and assistant Sam Butterworth drafted into the team.

Mayfield started brightly and had the best of the first 10 minutes, as they hammered at the Wath Brow defensive line and captain Paul Brearley was stopped just inches short of the line.

Sam Butterworth put a kick into the in goal but it was too long and Wath Brow escaped with a 20-metre tap.

Luke Fowden was sent to the sin-bin for a challenge when the ball was dead.

Mayfield made light of the disparity in numbers and continued to use the ball, breaking the defence with neat inside passing that put Jack Sampson in the clear and he rounded the full back to score a terrific try. Zac Baker converted.

Baker added a two-point penalty from 40 metres out as Wath Brow were penalised for attempting to slow the Mayfield roll of quick play the balls, by dropping on the tackle.

Mayfield had survived the 10-minute sin bin period, but started to incur the wrath of the official.

Last tackle penalties gave Wath Brow repeat sets on the line and they burrowed through from a play on the ball on the line for a converted try .

Further repeat penalties gave Wath Brow two points to even up the score on 25 minutes.

More penalties against the Mayfield gave Wath Brow possession on the line, and they extended their lead on the stroke of half time.

At the start of the second half, Mayfield dug deep and defended their line to get the ball on a turnover. Cue a 100-metre set as Mayfield pushed hard, then kicked long, and a chase, led by Callum Ogden and Sean Watkins, excelling in his last game for Mayfield, drove the catcher back in goal for a drop out.

Two plays later Mayfield, again playing attractive rugby in the poor conditions, found Luke Fowden after two long passes, and he made amends for his previous indiscretion by breaking through the defence, to put Zac Baker in for a try. Aiden Gleeson failed to convert.

Penalty after penalty kept Mayfield in their own half and despite not making line break all evening Wath Brow converted three of them to open up a eight point lead.

Mayfield hit back when Declan Sheridan scooped up a loose ball, promoted it up field and handed on to Callum Marriot who fed Matty Ashton, and he raced away for an 80 metre try. Superbly converted from the touchline by Zak Baker.

Wath Brow extended the lead with a try wide right in the corner, too wide to convert, but at 24-18 Mayfield were still in it with eight minutes remaining.

Mayfield tried hard despite losing Declan Sheridan and Jack Sampson to facial injuries incurred in penalised tackles. Matt Calland went close and Sam Butterworth was denied a try appeal by a linesman intervention.

However, it was a bridge too far and Wath Brow held on for victory.

Mayfield team: Jack Sampson. Wayne English, Sean Watkins, Matt Calland, Matty Ashton, Paul Brearley, Sam Butterworth, Jack Francis, Callum Ogden, Nick Hargreaves, Luke Fowden, Callum Marriott, Zak Baker, Declan Sheridan, Tom Hall, Aidy Gleeson, Liam Whalley.

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