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Rugby Union: Rochdale RUFC U14s 19-0 Sedgley Park U14s

Date published: 29 November 2018


After last week’s impressive victory over Blackburn, the question was ‘would Rochdale be able to repeat the quality of performance and register successive wins’.

The home team have acquired several marquee players, adding some pace and guile in the back line. They play a similar style to Blackburn, moving the ball wide as quickly as possible to give their pacey backs time to outflank the opposition.

Rochdale had learned their lesson from the previous week, closing down the space for the opposition back line to work in.

Matty Dearden was leading this charge and his work rate and tenacity were to be admired.

Defences dominated the early exchanges; Taylor Hartley and Garrett Myers were getting the forwards over the gain-line supported by Kai Potter, who is getting better by the week.

In the back line, Chris McConnell, who stepped into the centre following Will Simmons' injury the week before, and James Tasker, were running good lines and creating space for the outside backs.

With defences on top, it was no surprise that the first try came from a forced error. The Rochdale backs were up in the faces of the opposition and, when the ball came loose, Ollie Simpson skilfully scooped up the bobbling ball and scooted over from five metres to register the score. The game followed a similar pattern for the remainder of the first half but neither team could register additional points.

The message from the touchline was more of the same for the second half.

Rochdale proceeded to build a solid platform based on the forwards getting over the gain-line before moving the ball wide.

Rochdale RUFC U14s

In the wet and cold conditions this proved to be the correct strategy, reducing handling errors and drawing the defence in.

Sedgley were finding it difficult to get out of their own half, however, they were always a threat and attempted to run almost all possession, but Rochdale’s smother defence was dominating.

When they did try to clear their lines by kicking, Nick Wright returned the ball and the pressure returned too.

Rochdale turned this pressure into points when the Sedgley defence finally relented and Hartley got the try his work rate deserved.

Mitchell Holt added the extras and the game was sliding away from Sedgley. Rochdale maintained the pressure.

Danny Nobis, Matty Pendlebury and Ben Kershaw ran the ball well on the flanks and Holt controlled the game from number 10.

Ben Sunderland provided the link play with runs, passes and cover tackles. The forwards combined brilliantly all day with James O’Connell, Charlie Bleackley, Brad Rowley, Joel Rigby, Bendan Hankinson, Billy Pirouzan and Paddy Kershaw clearing rucks, driving mauls and doing the unheralded work which all teams require.

All in all, a well-rounded performance with every single player contributing. The final play saw Matty Dearden get his reward for constantly harrying the Sedgley backs, falling on a loose ball over the tryline. The resulting conversion was also scored to register seven points.

Rochdale RUFC U14s

The final score of 19-0 was impressive, and to prevent a team of Sedgley’s quality from scoring a point is a real achievement.

There were some great individual and collective performances, but Taylor Hartley’s direct running and appetite for hard work saw him deservedly claim the Man of the Match award for the second week running.

Squad:

Garrett Myers, Billy Pirouzan, James O’Connell, Paddy Kershaw, Taylor Hartley, Bendan Hankinson, Charlie Bleackley, Ben Sunderland, Joel Rigby, Kai Potter, Brad Rowley, Matthew Dearden, Mitchell Holt, James Tasker, Chris McConnell, Matty Pendlebury, Ben Kershaw, Daniel Nobis, Oliver Simpson, Nick Wright

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