Sedgley shut out by impressive under 14s
AFTER last week’s impressive victory over Blackburn, the question facing Rochdale’s under 14s was whether they could repeat the quality of that performance and register successive wins. They were on the road again, but had only the short journey to Sedgley Park.
Defences dominated the early exchanges; Taylor Hartley and Garrett Myers were getting the forwards over the gain-line supported by Kai Potter.
In the back line, Chris McConnell (stepping into the centre following Will Simmons’ injury the week before) and James Tasker were running good lines and creating space for the outside backs.
With defences on top, it was no surprise that the first try came from a forced error. The Rochdale backs were up in the faces of the opposition and, when the ball came loose, Ollie Simpson scooped up the bobbling ball and scooted over from five metres.
The game followed a similar pattern for the remainder of the first half but neither team could register additional points.
The message from the touchline was more of the same for the second half. Rochdale proceeded to build a solid platform based on the forwards getting over the gain-line before moving the ball wide.
Sedgley were finding it difficult to get out of their own half, however, they were always a threat and attempted to run almost all possession, but Rochdale’s smother defence was dominating. When they did try to clear their lines by kicking, Nick Wright returned the ball and the pressure returned too.
Rochdale turned this pressure into points when the Sedgley defence finally relented and Hartley got the try his work rate deserved.
Mitchell Holt added the extras and the game was sliding away from Sedgley.
Rochdale maintained the pressure. Danny Nobis, Matty Pendlebury and Ben Kershaw ran the ball well on the flanks and Holt controlled the game from 10. Ben Sunderland provided the link play with runs, passes and cover tackles.
The forwards combined brilliantly all day with James O’Connell, Charlie Bleackley, Brad Rowley, Joel Rigby, Bendan Hankinson, Billy Pirouzan and Paddy Kershaw clearing rucks, droving mauls and undertaking all the unheralded work. All in all, a well-rounded performance with every player contributing. The final play saw Matty Dearden get his reward for constantly harrying the Sedgley backs, falling on a loose ball over the tryline, to register a seven-pointer.
The final score of 19-0 was impressive, and to prevent a team of Sedgley’s quality from scoring a point was a real achievement. There were some great individual and collective performances, but Taylor Hartley’s direct running and appetite for hard work saw him claim the MOTM award.
Garrett Myers, Billy Pirouzan, James O’Connell, Paddy Kershaw, Taylor Hartley, Bendan Hankinson, Charlie Bleackley, Ben Sunderland, Joel Rigby, Kai Potter, Brad Rowley, Matthew Dearden, Mitchell Holt, James Tasker, Chris McConnell, Matty Pendlebury, Ben Kershaw, Daniel Nobis, Oliver Simpson, Nick Wright