Rugby league: Rochdale Mayfield 32 - 12 London Chargers
Date published: 13 January 2020
Mayfield eased through to the second round of the Coral Challenge Cup on Saturday 11 January with a competent performance against London Chargers. The Rochdale side never looked like losing this game and outshone their opponents in every department.
Right from the off, Mayfield had the upper hand and defended brilliantly, even on the visitors line as they tried to relieve the early pressure. Aidan Gleeson, on his return from Hornets, looked like he'd never been away as he took his team mates up in a defensive line. Zac Baker, also fresh back from Hornets played a great game in the middle of the park. New signing Adam Vrahnos slotted straight in to the pack and looked like he'd been a regular in the team, taking countless drives and making himself known in defence.
With less than ten minutes on the clock Mayfield were on the board after a brilliant ball from Jack McConnachie at acting half put Zac Hartley over the whitewash, 4 - 0.
The Chargers pulled their act together and put in a great 20 minutes which was rewarded when their winger made an interception and raced 30m for a converted try which gave his side the lead 4 - 6.
It was all Mayfield from then on, with only needless penalties giving the Chargers any real possession or position. Strong and positive approach play allowed Mayfield to score two more through Lewis Butterworth and a converted effort from Ieuan Higgs which made it 14 - 6 at half time.
Within ten minutes of the restart the visitors showed signs of tiring and Hartley exploited this from the base of the scrum as he started a short side move which saw Lewis Butterworth squeeze over in the corner for his second score which Hartley brilliantly converted, 20 - 6.
The Chargers showed their frustration as they had their prop sent to the sin bin for foul play. Mayfield to their credit just buckled down and played rugby. Zac Baker exploited the gaps with a great early kick which Ieuan Higgs did well to get on the end off for his second, 24 - 6.
Mayfield were in complete control now and further extended their lead with a well taken converted score from the industrious James McDaid, 30 - 6.
A bone jarring tackle from Zac Baker left Chargers' full back, Nathan O’Connor, on the floor with a potentially serious neck injury, this saw the game halted for 25 mins for the ambulance to arrive and deal with the casualty.
The break in play benefited Chargers who managed to rally and grab a converted score, but the result was never in doubt. Hartley rounded off the scoring with a penalty to to make the final score 32 - 12.
It was a creditable performance from the visiting side who, while playing at a lower level than their hosts never gave up the fight and gave it everything they had.
The Mayfield coaches said: "We're pleased with this first outing with a much changed team and took many positives from the game not least the industry and effort put in by all the lads. Jack McConnachie, Nick Hargreaves, Cole Connolly and Aidan Gleeson impressed in the pack while Ieaun Higgs, Lewis Butterworth and Zac Baker were outstanding in the backs. There were also great outings from the two debutants, Brad Gartland and Adam Vrahnos but the sponsors MOM was awarded to Zac Hartley."
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