Strength of pack tells at Burnage
ROCHDALE travelled to Burnage and their 4G pitch in a repeat of their closing game of last season.
The weather was as unpredictable as the game with bright sunshine then black clouds and heavy downpours.
The game was only five minutes old when Dale gave away a penalty right in front of their posts and the Burnage kicker had no trouble despatching it for 3-0.
Dale were back in the game, making good inroads into the home side’s defence but losing the ball on the 22 – Burnage picked up the loose ball and after a good passing move scored in the left hand corner. The conversion was missed, 8-0.
Undeterred, Dale bounced back with a breakaway move that saw the ball chipped through to the Burnage line and Dale winger Rob Willetts touch down first, Ollie Coldman converting.
At 8-7 it was game on. Both sides made good runs but solid tackling from both defences saw a midfield stalemate until Dale gave away another silly penalty right in front of the posts 11-7 with 30 minutes gone.
Heavy rain now played its part with the ball dropped by both sides as they struggled with the conditions. The referee decided that Dale had drifted offside yet again and the Burnage No 10 made no mistake 14-7.
The home side had their tails up now, but despite lots of possession they failed to score as half time was called, the game evenly balanced.
The second half started in bright sunshine, with no coach available due to illness it’s hard to say what the Dale players said over the interval but they came out in a determined manner, taking the game to Burnage who seemed just a bit too strong in defence to be broken by the quick visiting backs with both Willetts and Jim Flitcroft being stopped out wide short of the line.
Josh Schofield was in the action too, darting through the midfield and being hunted down by the big Burnage defenders.
Burnage missed an absolute sitter of a try when they broke from the back of a maul on the Dale 10 metre line and, despite getting to the line, failed to touch down.
However, in a repeat of the play line out ball taken in and drive they succeeded in scoring a penalty try for collapsing the Maul, 21-7. Minutes later the big Burnage No 4 crashed over after a similar move with the bigger pack beginning to dominate.
Dale then had a scrum on the home side’s 22 from which a break from Coldman was stopped with a cynical head tackle which the ref and linesman both ignored. The ball ran loose and Burnage ran in their fifth try of the afternoon 35-7 after 70 minutes
The game was over as a contest but the young Dale side kept their heads up and carried on taking the ball into the Burnage half until with possession lost on the right wing Dale were penalised for a high tackle, the kick reached the Rochdale 10 metre line and from the line out the same catch take and drive was employed to good effect allowing the wing forward to break from the maul and score this was converted 42-7.
The last five minutes were played in heavy showers but the Dale defence could not be broken again.
Next week Dale welcome Blackburn and will hope for a bit more luck to go with their effort and commitment.
Action from Rochdale’s match against Burnage at the weekend