Bur­nage edge try-fest at Dale

Middleton Guardian - - BYGONE DAYS - NORTH ONE WEST

ON a wild, windy and snowy af­ter­noon Dale wel­comed Bur­nage to Moor­gate Av­enue hop­ing to get some re­venge on the early sea­son maul­ing they re­ceived in the cor­re­spond­ing fix­ture.

De­spite the wind and driv­ing snow both sides were de­ter­mined to play open rugby and make a good show for the nu­mer­ous sup­port­ers at the club for both Ladies Day and the Six Na­tions game later.

It was 20 min­utes be­fore the visi­tors opened the scor­ing af­ter a deep free kick and line out on the Dale 10 me­tre line saw their pack squeeze over for an un­con­verted try.

The home side were soon back on the at­tack with Tom Hel­li­well steal­ing li­ne­out ball on half way and a good flow­ing move in the backs only stopped with a dropped fi­nal pass five me­tres out.

Bur­nage coun­tered with good breaks and only a su­perb tackle by Travis Townsend stopped a good pass­ing ef­fort from mak­ing more points.

Bur­nage scored again af­ter 30 min­utes when a strong scrum gave the winger a chance to break into the Dale 10 me­tre area and pass to the cen­tre who scored again the kick went well wide in the fe­ro­cious wind 10-0.

Five min­utes later it was Dale’s turn to get on the score sheet af­ter Bur­nage were pe­nalised for a high tackle on their own 22, Duffy went for the cor­ner and from a clean line out the ball came in­side where the visi­tors were caught off­side Ol­lie Cold­man took the tap and go and found a gap to crash over then con­verted 7-10.

Dale were then in com­mand when a great kick from James Duffy took the game deep into the Bur­nage half were Hel­li­well was again dom­i­nant in the line, the pass went down the blind side and up popped hooker Kyle Parry to squeeze in at the cor­ner flag.

Duffy hit the post with the con­ver­sion so 12-10 with half time loom­ing.

From the re-start Dale were back on the at­tack and a su­perb pass­ing move in­volv­ing Dom Ser­ridge, Jim Fl­itcroft and Travis Townsend gave young winger Matt Buck­ley the chance to out­pace the full back and score in the cor­ner the con­ver­sion went wide so the half time score was a promis­ing 17-10 to the home side.

The sec­ond half started well with a great break by Fl­itcroft just stopped short. Dale re-cy­cled the ball but sec­ond row Gui De­sousa had pos­ses­sion stolen on the 22 and the ball went to Bur­nage cen­tre Joshua Miller who broke away and ran the length of the field to score.

The kick was taken this time in front of the posts 17-17 and the game was re­ally on.

Five min­utes later the visi­tors were in front when Miller got a chance on the Dale 22 and raced in for his sec­ond try, 17-22.

Rochdale bounced right back and fol­low­ing an­other good line out the ball came lose and Cold­man col­lected to break clear of the Bur­nage de­fence and score a good in­di­vid­ual try Duffy con­verted well 24-22.

In the worsening con­di­tions the qual­ity of rugby from both sides was a credit, Bur­nage had a great chance in front of the posts but the hooker fum­bled the ball with only a few me­tres to go and missed a cer­tain try.

Dale broke through with a great grub­ber kick from Duffy and a chase for the line the ball just go­ing dead. Bur­nage won a scrum for a Dale knock on in their own 22 and the pack drove hard for the line the ball was fil­tered out to the ever present No. 11 Miller for his third try again the kick was well wide 24-27 with 70 min­utes gone.

A good break by Ser­ridge caused panic in the Bur­nage de­fence a free kick saw Dale tak­ing the line out on the op­po­si­tion 22, the ball was won but when it was passed wide to winger Buck­ley his at­tempted punt for­ward went straight into touch.

The visi­tors took full ad­van­tage of the scrum on half way and an­other good pass­ing move saw them get their fifth try of the day this time con­verted 24-34 with only five min­utes left.

Dale re­fused to buckle and it fell to pos­si­ble man of the match Tom Hel­li­well to seal a good af­ter­noon’s work with a well deserved try un­der the posts which was con­verted 31-34.

Both sides were show­ing signs of tired­ness in the gru­elling con­di­tions and with min­utes to go a lose pass was picked up by the Bur­nage backs who worked a nice pass­ing move to the winger who looked to have a foot in touch to squeeze in the cor­ner to leave the fi­nal score 31-39. A great match in aw­ful con­di­tions – again Dale were just short of a win but they pressed Bur­nage all the way.

Tim Taylor

Ac­tion from Rochdale’s thrilling game against Bur­nage

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