‘Port back to sec­ond af­ter Rochdale bat­tle

Stockport Express - - Sport - MIKE ATKINSON

STOCK­PORT re­turned to sec­ond place in the ta­ble with a bonus point vic­tory at Head­lands Road against a Rochdale side whose league po­si­tion be­lied the way they played, the vis­i­tors pro­vid­ing a very stern chal­lenge.

Stock­port scored an early try but Rochdale were very much in the game and were within one score at half time.

Soon af­ter the break they were only two points down. But the Stock­port backs put on a good dis­play of run­ning, well sup­ported by the for­wards, and the fi­nal score was 33-24 with Rochdale earn­ing a well de­served try bonus point with a score in the clos­ing mo­ments of the match

Af­ter only five min­utes Stock­port’s Dean Schofield scored a try as a Rochdale clear­ance kick from a five me­tre scrum was charged down and the ball bounced back to Schofield for an easy touch down. Tom Eaton con­verted.

Rochdale were quick to re­spond and they gained pos­ses­sion at a scrum fol­low­ing the kick off and moved the ball wide right, then back to the left and their wing scored hav­ing beaten the at­tempted tack­ling by Stock­port. With no con­ver­sion it was 7-5 af­ter only 10 min­utes.

An in­ter­cep­tion on the Stock­port 22 by wing James Keane stopped a cer­tain try and put Stock­port on the at­tack. A line out on 30 me­tres was won and the ball moved left along the backs to give full­back Joe Wil­son a try wide out. With no con­ver­sion it was 12-5.

A good break and run by cen­tre Ge­orge Smith put Stock­port on the at­tack again and a quick penalty tap was taken by scrum half Tom Duffy and af­ter 2 phases there was an­other try for Scholfield and a con­ver­sion for Eaton for a 19-5 lead.

The vis­i­tors were de­ter­mined to make a game of it and al­ways looked dan­ger­ous on the counter at­tack with some good run­ning, par­tic­u­larly by their No 13, and af­ter 25 min­utes they had an­other try af­ter putting some good phases to­gether, the con­ver­sion brought them to 19-12, which is how it stood at half time.

Eaton made a very good break early in the half but it was the vis­i­tors who scored first af­ter counter at­tack­ing from a Stock­port clear­ance, Rochdale kept the ball alive and scored wide out on the left to make it 19-17 and a very close game af­ter 52 min­utes.

A good drive by the Stock­port for­wards won a penalty near the Rochdale line and Eaton took it quickly to go over for a try, which he con­verted to give Stock­port a more com­fort­able lead at 26-17, with 15 min­utes to go.

Rochdale had a good chance when a penalty took them to the Stock­port 22 and they won an­other penalty in front of the Stock­port posts, opt­ing for the scrum they knocked on and Stock­port cleared their lines.

A blind­side break by Si­mon Green from a scrum al­lowed Duffy to kick ahead and pres­sure on the Rochdale full back by James Keane gave Stock­port a line out, the drive for the Rochdale line re­sulted in a try for skip­per Kieran Hibbs, Eaton was again on tar­get and Stock­port had a con­vinc­ing 33-17 lead.

But it was the vis­i­tors who had the last word, go­ing through many phases for their strong run­ning No 8 to get a try, which was con­verted to give them a bonus point.

There’s no game this week­end and then it is away at War­ring­ton on 25 Novem­ber.

Richard Hope

●●Stock­port’s Joe Wil­son at­tacks against Rochdale at Head­lands Road on Satur­day

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