Rochdale News | Sports News | Rugby Union: Rochdale Senior Colts 38 – 14 Warrington Colts

Date published: September 07, 2022

The Rochdale Colts were promoted to League A from Lancashire last season and they hosted Warrington on Moorgate Avenue on Sunday September 4 for the first preliminary League A match. The weather was perfect for a quick open game and both teams are came to play rugby.

Rochdale was out of the blocks quickly, with Ben Haigh collecting the kick-off and making good ground in the Warrington 22. However, the Warrington defense held firm and worked hard to fend off that initial attack. Rochdale was ahead in the first quarter and quickly had his reward when a loose clearance was quickly moved down the right wing where Tom Hesketh burned around the outside and beat the Warrington fullback to score under the post (7-0).

Warrington were still trying to gain a foothold in the game but Rochdale’s running backs were making their way in and, after a few hard shots, Olly Mills was on hand to force their way through from close range (14-0).

It was just the start Rochdale wanted, but Warrington are a class side and have started to come back into the game. This was partly due to their impressive line-up, but also because Rochdale gave away position on the pitch. with a few unnecessary infractions. Warrington was able to capitalize on an abundance of ball possession, scoring a few quick tries to level the scores and wrap up the first half (14-14).

Both defenses were tight from close quarters and it was obvious that if either team were to take the initiative in the second half, it would take more than a ramming approach. Warrington’s defense is very rugby league based with fast line speed, gang tackles and ball targeting. Rochdale realized there was always space behind the defensive line and started to exploit it with some smart kicks. Rochdale was on the attack again and an accurate cross kick from Mitch Holt gave Ben Kershaw the opportunity to compete and win the contest for the ball, rising above his counterpart before making a wide field (19-14).

Rochdale Senior Foals
Photo: Bruce Myers

The game was now in the balance and it was Rochdale who stepped up. After more pressure in midfield, Haigh brought it in defense before putting James O’Connell through the gap. O’Connell had a lot to do but managed to get clear and fend off potential tacklers to score wide (24-14).

The home team now controlled the game with better decision-making. Another quality kick saw Kershaw compete again and win the ball; using his strength to hold off the tacklers until Zac Baker came in to take the pass and run unopposed under the posts (31-14).

There was only time for Hesketh to score another try and add some sparkle to a hard-fought victory (38-14).

The level of rugby is up from last year so Rochdale will be pleased with his first outing in the top flight. Many good performances; right off the bat, Garrett Myers, Jacob Jackson, Ben Hankinson, Tom Drennan and Sonny Joyce performed well. Behind the scrum, Will Rawlinson, Max Cooper, Nick Wright and Tom Shaw all had good games.

Ben Sunderland was named man of the match for his high work rate, strong carries and excellent rolls.

Sean Sunderland

Ruth J. Leeds