Strength of pack tells at Burnage

Rochdale Observer - - TRAVEL - DAVID RHODES

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

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