Chapman spell lifts Rochdale
IT is a good team, so they say, that finds a way to win when not at its best.
And at Greenfield on Saturday, Rochdale could take heart from that concept when, despite being second best for much of the game, they found sufficient strength and resolve to win by 10 runs in what ended up an exciting game at Greenfield’s highly picturesque ground.
And they had Ben Chapman to thank for inspiring the win. A blistering spell with the ball – he took 4 for 18- blew away Greenfield’s tail just when the home team were on the cusp of victory.
But on view were flawed performances – from both teams. Nor does the umpiring escape criticism and Rochdale felt with some justification hard done to in this regard, with the notion of afford- ing the batsmen the benefit of the doubt being absent when they batted, yet reappearing for Greenfield’s innings.
However, this was a handicap that to their credit, Dale overcame. And the second issue for their batsmen was an unpredictable pitch which offered variable but mainly low bounce. These two problems conspired and soon Dale were 26 for 3, and staring into the abyss.
But the middle order, now realising that patient watchfulness was the key method, began to resurrect the innings. First Henry Cooper and Michael Harling engaged in a 30 run partnership, unfairly ended when Harling was given out lbw after, as was unanimously agreed, having hit the ball.
And although Cooper perished when a short one kept low, Oli Makin, a born winner if ever there was one, and Derek Faulkner elevated the score to 142 for 5 at which point Faulkner edged the impressive slow left armer Brad Woolley to slip.
A collapse ensued and Dale were 152 for 9 when 15 years old debutante Mohid Ul Haq joined Jimmy O’Neill at the wicket for a jolly last wicket stand of 41.
Most spectators felt that Dale’s 192 would be more than enough on this pitch, but it played fewer tricks on Greenfield.
And their openers Chris Gill and Alex Peters batted very well.
They put on 85 before Peters drove Dale Highton to mid off and Cooper took an excellent low diving catch. Gill fell to the same bowler with the score on 100, and although Armand Krugel fell soon after, professional Rivaldo Moon- samy, playing with energetic attacking intent, was now blocking Rochdale’s progress.
However, and unaccountably, he recklessly charged Makin, missed and was stumped, and Dale had a glimmer of hope. But Jake Cauldwell and Callum Faulkner calmly returned Greefield to the driving seat, though, and with 33 needed and overs not a problem, victory was theirs for the taking.
But Makin struck again – twice in consecutive balls. Now they were six down and matters tightened.
And Chapman entered the fray. He caught and bowled Woolley and then bowled Andrew Cadd.
Two runs later he trapped Adam Robinson in front and for the first time in the game Dale were on top.
Joe Hepworth, batting at 11 on account of damaging a finger while fielding, hit his first ball into the river.
He attempted a reprise next ball, missed and Rochdale jubilantly celebrated an unlikely win.