Slow start costly for the un­der 14s

Rochdale Observer - - THE LAUGHING BADGER - SEAN SUN­DER­LAND

AFTER a three-week Christ­mas break Rochdale were ea­ger to get back into ac­tion with a re­ar­ranged fix­ture against Stock­port.

Stock­port have a very im­pres­sive record this year hav­ing only lost a cou­ple of times in the cur­rent sea­son.

Un­for­tu­nately, Rochdale suc­cumbed to a very slow start and al­lowed the home team to cross the line three times in the first 15 min­utes.

There was def­i­nitely a touch of post-Christ­mas lethargy about the first quar­ter per­for­mance; with some missed tack­les and a lack of ur­gency.

How­ever, credit to the boys for re­group­ing and man­ag­ing to shut Stock­port out in the sec­ond quar­ter, turn­ing around at 15-0.

Rochdale were now play­ing down the slope and be­gan to get some trac­tion in the game. Gar­rett My­ers, Tay­lor Hart­ley, Billy Pirouzan and Nick Wright had some strong runs and Ben Sun­der­land and Mitch Holt were com­pet­ing at the break down for turn-over when al­lowed.

It was against the run of play when Stock­port scored again from a length of the field ef­fort by their right wing.

How­ever, the tide had be­gun to turn, and Rochdale’s strong run­ning fi­nally paid off with Hart­ley crash­ing over un­der the posts quickly fol­lowed by Will Sim­mons, rac­ing clear after gath­er­ing a loose ball.

This brought the score back to 20-12 and Rochdale were within touch­ing dis­tance of par­ity.

This be­came a re­al­ity when Wright man­aged to get the ball down after some more good pres­sure and han­dling.

The con­ver­sion was suc­cess­ful, and it was a one-point game.

With the score at 20-19 and only five min­utes re­main­ing, it was any­one’s game.

At this point the best op­tion for Rochdale would prob­a­bly have been to try to kick for ter­ri­tory and use the slope to pin Stock­port back.

How­ever, Rochdale con­tin­ued to run the ball and, although the han­dling was slick, no­body got over the gain-line which al­lowed Stock­port to pres­surise the re­ceiver and even­tu­ally force the er­ror.

From the re­sul­tant scrum, the Stock­port num­ber eight, who had been to the fore all game, col­lected the ball and out­paced the Rochdale de­fence to the cor­ner for the de­ci­sive score.

There was still time for the restart and, with the score stand­ing at 25-19 to Stock­port, Rochdale were still within a con­verted try.

Un­for­tu­nately, they weren’t able to wres­tle pos­ses­sion from the home team be­fore the clock ran out.

Def­i­nitely a game of two halves and full credit to Rochdale for bat­tling back from a 20-point deficit to give the home team a fright.

A good team per­for­mance, de­spite the slow start, and some great in­di­vid­ual ef­forts - a high­light be­ing Danny No­bis catch­ing his op­po­site winger and putting in a try-sav­ing tackle.

Man of the Match was shared be­tween Billy Pirouzan for strong ball car­ry­ing and Char­lie Bleack­ley for his ball car­ry­ing and tack­ling.

Gar­rett My­ers, Kai Pot­ter, Billy Pirouzan, James O’Con­nell, Joel Rigby, Paddy Ker­shaw, Tay­lor Hart­ley, Char­lie Bleack­ley, Ben­dan Hank­in­son, Ben Sun­der­land, Matt Dear­den, Jack Tay­lor, Mitchell Holt, Ben Ker­shaw, James Tasker, Ol­lie Simp­son, Nick Wright, Danny No­bis, Matt Pendle­bury

Bruce My­ers

●●Ac­tion from Rochdale un­der 14s clash against Stock­port at the week­end

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