Leigh set the stan­dard for un­der 11s

Rochdale Observer - - SCHOOL NEWS -

LEIGH had laid on a quad-fix­ture fea­tur­ing Rochdale RUFC’s un­der 11s and teams from West Park and a com­bined Crewe/ Nantwich team.

Know­ing how strong Leigh were, and not know­ing the strengths of the other teams, Rochdale took a strong 13 play­ers along for what they an­tic­i­pated would be the sternest test they had played this sea­son.

The first game was against Crewe/ Nantwich. From the off Rochdale were hounded back into their own half and con­ceded an early try.

The team re­grouped, and upped the in­ten­sity only for half time to ar­rive frac­tion­ally too soon.

The sec­ond half was a dif­fer­ent mat­ter. The pre­vi­ous in­ten­sity was pre­served and Crewe found them­selves strug­gling to con­tain Simp­son, Harry Nolan and Jake Johnson who were now start­ing to punch holes through their line forc­ing them to re­group. The pres­sure told, and a su­perb team try saw Will Brown even­tu­ally cross the line with a long reach.

Un­for­tu­nately, a Crewe player landed awk­wardly on top of him as his back twisted and Will departed hav­ing more than made his im­print on the game.

Alex Ogilvie took to the field as a re­place­ment and Rochdale re­grouped and re­tained mo­men­tum. The con­tin­ued pres­sure told, and al­though Crewe man­aged a sec­ond try, com­bi­na­tions of Noah Wilde on one wing and Oliver Hus­band play­ing off the other wing had them on the back foot.

Drew Dowd was pro­vid­ing ex­cel­lent ball out from the scrum half po­si­tion and Rochdale crossed the line twice more to fin­ish the game 3-2.

Johnson had de­servedly cap­tained the team well and his sup­port play had set a stan­dard for the rest to em­u­late.

Next up came Leigh who, de­spite not be­ing the big­gest side, were su­perb. Their of­fload­ing and use of space was ex­cel­lent, pass­ing down the line with great aplomb, turn­ing Rochdale over in the ruck and then hold­ing their shape to cre­ate over­lap af­ter over­lap. Rochdale had no an­swer and never looked likely to get into their half, much less score. Half time couldn’t come quickly enough.

When it did, the guid­ance was clear – tack­ling is good, pass­ing is good, ruck­ing isn’t, and the line is be­ing drawn out of shape al­low­ing them to get through.

Wis­dom im­parted, they set off to a much im­proved struc­ture. Cameron Stretch, Isaac Corns and Harry Nolan started to ap­ply consistent and heavy pres­sure in the cen­tre so Leigh now found them­selves get­ting drawn in. A fair few min­utes were spent prob­ing for weak­nesses in their line, and in their half but Leigh’s de­fence held, and held well.

En­ter­pris­ing runs from Sam Davis and Hus­band al­most saw them get through, but Leight held out.

Ben Foster man­aged to shut them down when they re­trieved the ball, but an­other two tries were con­ceded. De­spite the de­feat, Rochdale played some of their best rugby of the morn­ing in that sec­ond half. Sup­port play was ex­cel­lent, tack­ling was al­most fault­less, and han­dling and pass­ing were qual­ity.

The third game was against West Park.

The first two min­utes saw Rochdale take things a bit too eas­ily and al­most pay the price for com­pla­cency, but heads quickly got back on the game and tries swiftly fol­lowed.

Johnson and Nolan’s sup­port play com­ple­mented the solid foun­da­tion ball be­ing won by Richards, Corns and Stretch. Dowd was de­liv­er­ing great ball from the break­down and our speed play­ers lapped it up. Hus­band, Foster, Davis and Wilde were rel­ish­ing the space and con­verted it into points al­most ev­ery time in a 7-1 win.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.