Rochdale News | Sports News | Rugby Union: Rochdale Senior Colts 21 – 5 Chester Senior Colts

Date published: October 14, 2022

As the preliminary league drew to a close, the Rochdale Senior Colts needed a win on Sunday, October 9 to ensure they remained in the Conference League top flight after Christmas.

Rochdale entertained Chester at Moorgate Avenue, another team looking for a win to secure their league status.

With the sun shining and the ground firm, Rochdale opted to play with the wind in the first half. Both teams were looking to assert themselves and it was Chester who created the first opportunity. Moving the ball along the back line, they got to the edge and after several more offloads managed to cross the try line.

Unfortunately, there had been a forward pass in the build-up and Rochdale was pardoned.

This gave the home side a boost and, from an attacking line-out in Chester’s half, Rochdale gained possession and Nathan Robinson drove into midfield. The ball was quickly transferred to the left wing where Tom Hesketh edged past his counterpart and the covering defense to score in the corner.

Mitch Holt added extras (7-0).

Rochdale’s scrum took over, which allowed Rochdale’s fullbacks to accelerate on the ball; consequently, Chester’s scrum was upside down and their backs received the ball with no momentum and were easily stopped.

Zac Baker took advantage of this scrum dominance, harassing his counterpart and forcing several turnovers.

Ben Sunderland
Ben Sunderland. Photo: Bruce Myers

Rochdale then scored straight from a scrum inside the Chester 22. The ball was moved into midfield, where Nick Wright executed a perfectly weighted kick for Alex Dowd to chase and go over the line. Holt again added extras (14-0).

The question now was whether Rochdale could build enough of a lead to be able to defend by playing against the wind in the second half. This cause was greatly helped when Rochdale scored again on the stroke of halftime. After grounding the ball in goal, Chester compounded the error by kicking the restart under his own post. This gave Rochdale the 5m offensive scrum. After several forward runs, Holt put Dowd back in space again and he ignored a few tackle attempts to cross the whitewash for Rochdale’s third down (21-0).

Alex Down with his second try
Alex Down with his second try. Photo: Bruce Myers

The second half went to plan, with Chester spending long periods in the Rochdale 22 using the conditions to fend off the home side. Rochdale’s defense is one of their main strengths and they fended off all attempts to cross their line in the third quarter. Chester was chasing the game now and errors started to creep into their game which Rochdale exploited to help relieve the pressure. However, Rochdale was guilty of giving too many penalties and had the ultimate penalty of losing a player to sinbin. It ended up hurting their defense and Chester managed to force their way from close range (21-5).

Right off the restart, Rochdale pinned Chester in his own half and had another period of sustained pressure. Although it didn’t lead to another score, it did allow Rochdale to slow down time and record a very important win.

Lots of great performances from the peloton; Olly Mills, Jacob Jackson and Robinson all carried and tackled hard; Holt and Baker controlled the flow of play and Dowd provided the steel on defense.

The man of the match went to Zac Baker for a great scrum half performance.

Ruth J. Leeds