Rugby Union: Sefton 21 - 53 Rochdale
Date published: 24 September 2019
Rochdale RUFC visited Sefton RUFC on Saturday 21 September on the back of two good wins with Sefton still to gain their first points.
Both sides toiled in the heat of a late summer day. Opening encounters stayed within the 22 metre lines as players tested each others defences, the home side trying to win ground with some early kicking. Shaun Needham produced his trademark surging run through the middle leaving three tacklers wanting but the Sefton fullback made a good tackle and the ball went forward in the melee.
Six minutes in and Andrew Foster made a decisive run, he fed Robert Wadsworth who crossed the tryline on the left for the first of Rochdale’s tries. James Duffy on kicking duty hit the post.
Nick Ahearn collected the ball about 25 metres after a nice passing move and made the ground out wide on the left to make it 0-10 to Rochdale after 11 minutes. James Duffy wasn't having much success and hit the post again.
It took a full 15 mins before Sefton managed to get into the Dale 22; the visitors forced their way out of defence after a scrum controlled by Rochdale.
However, the next try was scored by Rochdale after fullback Ahearn made a kick and run chase over 30 metres to take the score to 0-15.
After 20 minutes Sefton began to put together their game with 10 minutes of pressure in the Dale half during which Rochdale threw away the ball at a scrum. After a lineout Sefton made good their pressure and scored wide on the left. The Sefton kicker made a superb conversion 7-15.
Tom Callaghan injured his thigh after 28 mins and was replaced by Dale Slamon in Rochdale's front row.
Nick Ahearn produced an excellent kick into the Sefton half but the throw was poor and Rochdale had to work hard to regain possession. Danny Joesbury made a nicely timed pass to Dom Macklin who made a 30 metre jinking run to score nearer the post and Duffy made no mistake with the conversion. 7-22.
Just before half time some good support play by Ahearn and Josh Boardman saw the latter dive over to make the halftime score 7-27.
Early in the second half and injury to Jake Smith had coach Daniel Collins ringing the changes. The forwards were constantly working hard and good stints from Foster, Ross Hartley and Harry Hill paid dividends as the home pack tired. Only 3 minutes into the second half, Blair Henry and Mike Cross combined for Cross to go over the whitewash. 7-32.
Rochdale continued to press and had some good play off the back of the scrum. Unfortunately Hartley was shown a yellow card by the referee (who had a good game), as Hartley was adjudged to have impeded his opposite number. Duffy converted a penalty to keep the board ticking over. 7-35
A man down and Rochdale came under a spell of pressure from the home side. With 20 mins gone in the half, Sefton scored twice in quick succession taking the score to 21-35, both tries well converted.
The Rochdale ship steadied when back to full strength. Nick Ahearn was on hand again to beat several defenders when he fed Boardman for his second try converted by Duffy. 21-43.
Constant Rochdale pressure in the last ten minutes and Boardman running at good angles brought him his hat trick of tries. 21-48.
A period of play with uncontested scrums gave all the forwards a much needed breather. The last couple of minutes had Blair Henry on the end of a great passing move going through five pairs of hands to score out wide. 21-53.
A good away result but Dale have plenty of work to do yet to justify their top of the table billing. Good teamwork and players working for each other is encouraging. Next Saturday Southport RUFC visit Moorgate Avenue.
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