Best yet sees Dale beat league leaders
ROCHDALE registered the surprise result of the day in Lancashire/ Cheshire League One by inflicting a first defeat of the season upon leaders Bowdon.
On a sunny but cold afternoon at Moorgate Avenue, the home side fielded a largely unchanged side from the one that cruised past Hoylake last week, the only exception being the return of second row Shaun Needham.
Bowdon arrived having won all their games so far this season and never having scored less than 25 points home and away.
Dale started on the front foot, attacking the visitors and keeping the ball in the Bowdon 22 for the first 15 minutes.
They came close to crossing the line twice with desperate defence from the league leaders on their own five metre line saw both Ben Coulter and Ross Hartley just unable to cross the whitewash.
Bowdon gave away a series of penalties and on two occasions Dale chose not to kick the points but took the scrum as they again pushed the opposing pack round their 22 with seeming ease.
Coulter, Jonny Bradley and Harry Hill, backed by Tom Helliwell and Chris Hodgkinson – in the second row due to the late arrival of Needham – were superb.
When Bowdon were sent back another 10 yards for comments to the referee, Travis Townsend broke from behind the scrum to dart through with Beltus Nonleh on his shoulder to demolish several defenders only to held up on the line.
Dale needed points on the board for all their possession and it was Dom Serridge, linking with the pack, who went over from close quarters.
The conversion was just short from Ollie Coldman, so Rochdale led 5-0.
Dale continued to press and the visitors continued to cross the referee with a string of penalties for offside high tackles and slowing play down.
It was ironic that they were next to score with a well taken penalty on the Dale 22, 5-3 with 35 minutes gone.
This spurred the home side on to bombard the Bowdon line with charge after charge with Nonleh, Needham – now on for Hodgkinson – Hartley and Jimmy Flitcroft all coming close.
Something had to give and with half time approaching another great team move saw the ball moved wide and it was Ben Coulter who went across the line to make it 10-3.
The game was still very open with Dale rueing the missed chances and Bowdon wondering how to get a break in the Dale defence.
The second half started with the visitors, as expected, going all out for an early score.
Dale gave away two penalties and were themselves guilty of querying the referee’s decisions and being pegged back a further 10 yards.
But Bowdon failed to capitalise on their chances.
Eventually, a penalty to Dale 30 metres out was taken very calmly by Coldman with a fine kick, claiming three more points – 13-3 after 55 minutes.
Dale started to dominate play, choosing the scrum for several more penalties as they completely overwhelmed the Bowdon pack.
With Needham breaking from the back of a scrum the ball was slipped out to Townsend and a final pass found Mitchell Van Zyl flying down the wing to touch over in the corner the conversion was just wide, so 18-3 with 15 minutes to go.
Dom Macklin came on for Dom Serridge who had taken a knock and Hodgkinson came back on for Isherwood who had played well in the second row.
Dale had some more defending to do as Bowdon tried to get their backs in the game.
But a series of dropped passes and mistakes were punished by Dale, always ready to respond with Townsend and Nonleh making breaks at will.
On 75 minutes the referee finally produced a yellow card, not for the visitors but for Dale’s possible man of the match, Townsend, for a high tackle on his six foot opposite number – quite an achievement for someone 5ft 7!
Down to 14, Dale were under pressure but held out until the final minutes when a good passing move saw winger Mc Grath go over in the corner for a late consolation try.
The conversion was missed, ending a miserable day for Bowdon and a final score of 18-8 to Rochdale.
Speaking afterwards coach Danny Collins said: “We dominated in the front five and did not let them play – this was our best performance so far .”
This win took Dale to third place in the league. There is no game next week but the 10th November sees a 1pm kick off at Moorgate Avenue against Broughton Park in the semi-final of the Lancashire Cup. YOUNGSTERS at Rochdale Swimming Club broke a host of personal bests and a club record as they narrowly missed out on medals in the 2018 season.
The club – which celebrated its 150th anniversary this year – competed in the Jubilee, Junior and Intermediate Leagues run by Central Lancashire Swimming & Waterpolo Association.
The season began in March with the first round of the Jubilee where Jake Cooper, 13, won three of his four individual events – swimming 50m Freestyle under 30 seconds for the first time.
He remained unbeaten in the 50 Backstroke and Breaststroke until final, held in October, where he came up against the 400m Individual Medley national bronze medallist in his age from Dukinfield Marlins.
Despite this, Cooper combined with Charlie Oddy, Rocco Thayaranjan and Suleman Sajad to win the Boys 13yr medley relay in the final.
Oddy was also part of the 11/12yr mixed squad which finished third in the Junior League – only the top two are awarded medals.
He was joined by Henry Travis, Elliott Booy, Amelia Kershaw, Charlotte Godward, Ella Sharp and Lucy McIntosh.
With points from the boys and girls events by Luke McCormick, James Squirrell, Wayne Ben Green, Robert Grundy, Harvey Smith, Joey Tucu and Sophia KavanaghHoy Rochdale’s 11/12yrs finished third overall.
Rochdale’s 15/16yr mixed team of James Kerr, Daniel Godward, Jacob Black, Dakota Ravetali, Charlotte Power, Nadia and Sofia Riley also finished third – one point behind league champions Chadderton.
In July, D.Godward matched Cooper to swim 50 Free in under 30 for the first occasion while in September Ravetali beat the 50 Breast club record with a superb 32.47.
Kerr also raced in the Intermediate League’s Boys 15 and under category and finished unbeaten in the 50 Free.
The club turned 150 on July 19 and is now looking forward to another season of competition when it resumes in March next year.
Action from Rochdale’s victory against league leaders Bowdon at Moorgate Avenue on Saturday