Dis­ap­point­ing de­feat at home

Rochdale Observer - - TRAVEL - DAVID RHODES

DE­SPITE heavy pre­match rain, the pitch at Moor­gate Av­enue looked in good con­di­tion as the home side took on Bolton for the first time in many years.

Dale were with­out both James Duffy at No. 10 and full back Ol­lie Cold­man – both in­jured in last week’s opener at Al­trin­cham.

There was the wel­come re­turn, how­ever, of Tom Cal­laghan and Jimmy Fl­itcroft with fly half Louis Sin­gle­ton mak­ing his Rochdale de­but.

Both sides started the game with strong at­tacks but it was Bolton who drew first blood with a fluid pass­ing move that drew the Dale de­fence and a fi­nal long pass to the un­marked right winger to score. The try was con­verted, 7-0

A good break by Dale saw them reach the vis­i­tors 22 be­fore the ref­eree brought play back to half way for a penalty to the home side!

De­spite plenty of pos­ses­sion, Dale failed to pen­e­trate the Bolton de­fence that had learned some hard lessons hav­ing con­ceded 50 points the previous week at Bow­don.

Dropped ball and poor fi­nal passes led to a line out on half way when Bolton were taken down and the re­sult­ing penalty kick went wide.

From the re-start Bolton were awarded a scrum in front of the Dale posts on the 22. The ball broke to the right and a cross­field grub­ber kick again split the Dale de­fence, al­low­ing the winger to cross for his sec­ond try which was con­verted, 14-0 af­ter 35 min­utes played.

Dale needed to score be­fore half time but it was the vis­i­tors, look­ing con­fi­dent in pos­ses­sion, who ran in a third try with a neat short pass­ing move al­low­ing their cen­tre to go in un­der the posts to score an eas­ily con­verted try mak­ing it 21-0 af­ter 38 min­utes.

Dale were des­per­ate to get on the scoreboard be­fore half time and the pack, who had played well, led the charge tak­ing a line out on the Bolton 10 me­tre line and driv­ing to the line.

The ball came out of the maul to Ross Hart­ley who broke the line, a good long range con­ver­sion left the half time score 21-7 to the vis­i­tors.

Two min­utes into the sec­ond half the Dale de­fence was pe­nalised and sent back a fur­ther 10 me­tres by the ref­eree for undis­ci­plined com­ments. Bolton took full ad­van­tage and fol­low­ing a good pass­ing move the ball came in from the winger to cen­tre Bate to score, the con­ver­sion was missed, amk­ing it 26-7 af­ter 45 min­utes.

Dale bat­tled away but failed to break the vis­i­tors de­fence and when Bolton re­cov­ered the ball they seemed to be close to scor­ing on sev­eral oc­ca­sions. Only stub­born de­fence by the Dale pack, led by Jake Smith and Harry Hill, kept them out un­til the 53rd minute.

The Bolton 13, Bate, wrong­footed his op­po­site num­ber and went in for his sec­ond and Bolton’s fifth try in the cor­ner.

The con­ver­sion missed, 31-7.

Play­ing for pride now, Dale were awarded a rare penalty on the Bolton 22 and from the re­sult­ing line out kept the ball in and used the pack to drive for the line, push­ing over for a well de­served score to make it 12-31 on 60 min­utes.

The vis­i­tors re-start must rank among the short­est ever seen at Moor­gate Av­enue, go­ing all of three me­tres!

Rochdale took the scrum and Jake Smith, who had bat­tled hard all af­ter­noon, broke through was only to be held on the vis­i­tors 22 with no back up.

Matt Buck­ley got clear but his fi­nal pass was judged for­ward.

Both sides were run­ning out of steam but Dale kept press­ing with no joy de­spite clever kick­ing from Sin­gle­ton at No.10. The backs could not take ad­van­tage to break the vis­i­tors de­fence. The game ended with a 5m scrum for Dale, held up on the line as the ref­eree blew.

A dis­ap­point­ing af­ter­noon for the home sup­port­ers, Dale will need to im­prove next Satur­day at Sefton to get their sea­son started. Fi­nal score 31-12 to Bolton.

●●Ac­tion from Rochdale’s clash against Bolton at Bam­ford Lane on Satur­day

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