Agony and ec­stasy for gutsy Hor­nets

Rochdale Observer - - TRAVEL - SEAN HAYES

ROCHDALE Hor­nets suf­fered an ag­o­nis­ing loss away to Sh­effield Ea­gles on Sun­day – but de­spite their 26-22 de­feat, re­sults else­where se­cured their place in the Cham­pi­onship for next sea­son.

It was an in­cred­i­bly gutsy per­for­mance that de­served a win, as Alan Kil­shaw’s men took the game to their op­po­nents and had chances to clinch the vic­tory late on.

Those chances went beg­ging though, be­fore Mezie Yere struck three min­utes from time to leave Hor­nets dev­as­tated at the fi­nal hooter.

The 17 men that trav­elled to Wake­field Trin­ity’s Beau­mont Le­gal Sta­dium were the only fit play­ers at Kil­shaw’s dis­posal, with full­back Miles Green­wood and winger Chris Ri­ley on the bench, with the lat­ter un­used.

The afternoon started per­fectly for the vis­i­tors, as the re­turn­ing Lewis Pal­frey kicked a 40/20 which led to Dec Kay send­ing Kevin Penny over in the cor­ner. Danny Yates landed a brilliant touch­line con­ver­sion to im­prove the ef­fort on four min­utes.

Six min­utes later Yates took ad­van­tage of a penalty for a ball steal, to make it 8-0 from bang in front, but within two min­utes the home side replied. Matty Fozard was the man who broke the Ea­gles’ dead­lock, bur­row­ing over from dummy half for a six pointer.

Garry Lo then helped him­self to his ninth try in three games against the Hor­nets to give Sh­effield the lead, as he re­leased Ryan Mil­lar down the left edge be­fore scor­ing in sup­port. There were ques­tions about the ef­fort as the wide man stum­bled close to the dead ball line be­fore ground­ing, but the of­fi­cials were on the spot to award it.

As the rain be­gan to fall, Yates lev­elled the scores with a se­cond penalty goal on the half hour mark, and with no fur­ther points posted in the first pe­riod the two sides went into the break locked at 10 points a-piece.

It took just six minute for Rochdale to cross in the se­cond half though, as a deft pass at the line from Jordan Case sent Matty Had­den over next to the sticks for a con­verted try.

Two min­utes later a 12 point lead was opened up, as Ryan Ma­neely broke the de­fen­sive line, be­fore on the next tackle Jack Holmes found his way over on the right edge, with Yates adding another im­pres­sive con­ver­sion from out wide.

Ma­neely took a late hit in the build up to the try, and af­ter try­ing to run it off he was re­placed by un­likely hooker Green­wood.

On 51 min­utes Sh­effield hit back, as Lee Mitchell pon­dered over Jack Owens’ grub­ber for too long be­fore the half­back pounced un­der the black dot. He con­verted his own try to halve the deficit.

Pal­frey then sparked an at­tack from noth­ing, as he chipped over the top for Penny, and with Yates in sup­port it seemed a cer­tain try how­ever the pass to the half­back was be­hind him and ended in a knock on.

Soon af­ter the home side lev­elled the scores again off the back of three penal­ties, as Scott Wheel­don went over un­touched un­der the cross­bar, leav­ing Owens a sim­ple con­ver­sion to make it 22-22.

Green­wood’s cameo at hooker looked to have been a very suc­cess­ful one, as he forced his way over from dummy half, and with the ref­eree look­ing cer­tain to award it he then called held up over the line on the ad­vice of the touch judge.

A goal-line drop-out was de­nied when Yates was called off­side chas­ing a grub­ber, de­spite the kick com­ing from Case at dummy half.

With seven min­utes re­main­ing Yates had a chance to edge Rochdale in front, how­ever he couldn’t keep his per­fect record as he dragged a penalty goal wide.

A minute later Pal­frey hit the post with a field goal at­tempt, be­fore Gavin Ben­nion was held up over the line as the ten­sion rose in the lat­ter stages of the con­test.

Then came Sh­effield’s break, as a Yates grub­ber was charged down into Perry White­ley’s path, and as he looked cer­tain to score a break­away try prop-for­ward Ben­nion hauled him down 30 me­tres short.

From the next play though the scram­bling Hor­nets de­fence couldn’t prevent Yere scor­ing on the op­po­site edge, as Rochdale play­ers hit the deck in de­spair.

A knock on gave the vis­i­tors a chance of a late win­ner, but the ref­eree re­fused to call time off when the scrum was formed and as the hooter sounded Sh­effield hung on for vic­tory.

That didn’t mute the out­stand­ing away sup­port though, as they belted out chants of ‘we are stay­ing up’ in recog­ni­tion of a per­for­mance they were im­mensely proud of.

Ryan Mil­lar, Garry Lo, Men­zie Yere, Perry White­ley, Paddy Flynn, Jack Owens, Elliot Minchella, Scott Wheel­don, Matty Fozard, Matt James, Liam John­son, Duane Straugh­eir, Ge­orge Mil­ton. Subs: Liam Cooper, Kyle Trout, Jonah Cun­ning­ham, Sam Scott

Fozard (12), Lo (17), Owens (51), Wheel­don (58), Yere (77)

Owens 3/5

Dec Kay, Jack Holmes, Jake Ec­cle­ston, Lewis Gal­braith, Kevin Penny, Lewis Pal­frey, Danny Yates, Jo Taira, Ryan Ma­neely, Lewis Hat­ton, Josh Crow­ley, Lee Mitchell, Jordan Case. Subs: Chris Ri­ley, Gavin Ben­nion, Matty Had­den, Miles Green­wood

Penny (4), Had­den (47), Holmes

(49) Yates 5/6

Danny Yates led his team around the park bril­liantly and was a threat ev­ery time he ran with the ball at the Sh­effield de­fence. His con­ver­sions from out wide were cru­cial too, how­ever he was un­lucky not to add a late penalty goals as the con­di­tions go the bet­ter of him.

Si­mon Hall

Danny Yates is taken down dur­ing Hor­nets clash against Sh­effield Ea­gles on Sun­day

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