Rochdale News | Sports News | Rugby: Leigh Junior Colts 5 – 24 Rochdale Junior Colts
Date published: February 02, 2022
Photo: Bruce Myers
Kowalczuk makes her man sit down
Rochdale’s must-see matches are coming in droves right now. After replacing Lymm at the top of the leaderboard last week, Rochdale moved up to third place from Leigh, trying to consolidate his position. Leigh is a hard-playing, well-drilled team, so wins have to be earned.
Rochdale have started fast in previous games but haven’t always managed to convert that into scoreboard points, so it was with some satisfaction that they scored in the opening five minutes.
On a penalty outside the Leigh 22, Mitch Holt took a quick kick and carried the ball to the defensive line before collapsing. The ball rebounded favorably for Will Simmons, who collected and pushed back the side before touching the ground (0-7).
Leigh started to bring his big forwards into the game and put some pressure on in the Rochdale 22. The defense had several chances to clear the lines but several errors compounded to give Leigh a chance near the line of Rochdale, which they gratefully accepted in their scrum. half darted over (5-7).
The scoreline galvanized Rochdale into action and almost immediately they responded. From a scrum close to the Leigh 22, Zac Baker, the scrum-half for Rochdale, broke on the open side and carried the ball within 5m of the try line. The ball was quickly recycled for Garrett Myers in false and cut near the ruck to score under the post (5-14).
Rochdale were starting to control the game now with their defense stopping Leigh’s attacks and their backs making inroads into home team territory, Rochdale scored again before the break.
The ball was carried to the center of the field in the Leigh 22 and, after a faster ruck ball, Holt put Tom Hesketh in space allowing him to accelerate through a few tackles and beyond the line (5-19 ).
Rochdale should have been able to build on their first-half lead, but the game became very scrappy with numerous errors and infractions by both teams. Neither team was able to build a sustained attack in the opposing half. Rochdale finally broke the second-half deadlock when, after some good build-up play with defenders and forwards combined, the ball was moved swiftly to the right corner of the field.
This stretched Leigh’s defense and Jacob Jackson took the short pass from the ruck to ram into the last defender (5-24).
It was another impressive performance from the Rochdale side, with every player contributing to a rock-solid defence. Special mention to Paddy O’Loughlin, Josef Kowalczuk and Jake Hopkins for their strong runs and tackles on their debut. Also, great close five lineouts and scrums.
The man of the match went to Zac Baker who, for the second week in a row, provided the scrum-half push to supercharge the baseline and be at the epicenter of all that was good from a point of view of Rochdale. Next week Liverpool St. Helens, another unmissable game.
Team: Jacob Jackson, Joel Rigby, Garrett Myers, Patrick O’Loughlin, Josef Kowalczuk, Ben Sunderland, Jake Hopkins, Ben Hankinson, Will Rawlinson, Zac Baker, Mitchell Holt, Tom Shaw, Will Simmons, Ben Kershaw, Gabe Fraser, Alex Barry, Max Cooper, Tom Hesket