Rugby Union: Rochdale U14s 21 - 0 Bury U14s

Date published: 05 December 2018

On the back of two away wins, Rochdale U14s welcomed local rivals Bury to Moorgate Avenue on Sunday (2 December).

It was the first outing in the team's new kit, kindly sponsored by Reside Estate Agents. The weather had taken a turn for the worse and the going was good to use the racing vernacular.

Rochdale were out of the stalls quickly, as Nick Wright gathered the kick off and galloped down the left touchline, only brought to ground a couple of metres from the try line. Bury turned the ball over but good defence saw Matty Dearden and Ben Kershaw tackle the Bury player behind his own goal line and give Rochdale an attacking scrum.

From the set piece, number eight Ben Sunderland picked up the ball, catching the Bury back row napping, and forced his way over the line for the opening score which was converted by Mitch Holt.

The wind and drizzle were behind Rochdale and it was difficult for Bury to get out of their half.

Bury have some speedy backs out wide and attempted to get the ball in their hands as quickly and often as possible.

However, Rochdale have had plenty of practice at covering the outside channels against fast opposition in recent weeks and, even though there were a couple of breaches, the cover tackling was exemplary.

Rochdale had made a few changes due to some absentees and were exploiting Taylor Hartley’s ball carrying skills in the centre, giving him plenty of space to charge into and he made good ground all day.

From more defensive pressure on the Bury line Dearden scored a poacher’s try, dropping on the ball over the opposition line for the second time in two weeks. The conversion was successful from close to the touchline and Rochdale were beginning to dominate.

Bury did have a few forays into the home side’s 22 but the defence held firm and play returned to the opposite end of the field. The sustained pressure was bringing a constant trickle of penalties and, when ball was turned over close to the Bury line, the ball was moved wide to Hartley who extended his try scoring record with a thundering run through a split defence.

Again, the conversion was successful and Rochdale were set fair at 21-0 with half time approaching.

With this platform the expectation was that Rochdale would impose themselves further in the second half but, for some inexplicable reason, they began to give away soft penalties and compounded these with indiscipline which put them at odds with the official.

This unfortunately started to negate a lot of good things that they were doing. Brad Rowley had some strong carries, Paddy Kershaw cleared rucks and supported well, James Tasker made some important cover tackles and returned the ball with some blistering runs.

The second half was cut short after an injury to the Rochdale full back who, thankfully, was able to leave the field of play under his own steam after all precautions were taken to ensure his wellbeing.

Thanks to the Bury contingent for their assistance and understanding.

Another win for Rochdale and another clean sheet but there was a slight air of disappointment that they hadn’t been able to build on a good start. Credit must be given to Bury who battled manfully for the full game both in defence and attack. MOTM James Tasker for excellent work both with and without the ball.

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

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