Rochdale News | Sports News | Rugby Union: Rochdale Junior Colts 51 – 15 Lymm Junior Colts

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Date published: March 04, 2022


After three weeks of matches being postponed due to bad weather, Rochdale were happy to return to the paddock on Sunday February 27, 2022 for a rematch of their closest league match yet. After playing against Lymm earlier in the away season and recording a 27-26 win, Rochdale knew they would have a tough encounter ahead.

Rochdale are still missing a few forwards but saw the uphill battle as crucial and were dismayed to learn the game would be played with uncontested scrums as Lymm was unable to field a driven front line. Lymm likes to play away from set pieces and uses a “fast and loose” philosophy with lots of offloads and as few mauls as possible. Rochdale’s start was very lethargic and likely reflected the lack of match practice. Lymm was in his game straight away and took advantage of Rochdale’s lack of precision, scoring a penalty after sustained pressure in the home side’s 22 (0-3).

Rochdale was starting to regain his form and, after numerous attempts to blast from close range, Mitch Holt deftly broke through the oncoming defense to collect and score near the post (7-3).

Lymm was again given the initiative in the Rochdale 22 after a sloppy play gave them a scrum and allowed them to execute a set motion, putting their number eight through a gap which he crossed unopposed ( 7-10).

There followed a period of stalemate without any team really establishing its dominance. Rochdale finally had an opportunity after a missed kick was hit behind Lymm’s goal line, giving Rochdale a 5-yard scrum, from which number eight Ben Sunderland took the lead for the score (12-10).

Rochdale was hitting his straps now and scoring again after a good defense turned the ball over; a quick transfer put the ball in the hands of Tom Hesketh and the right wing burned down the flank. Lymm’s full-back halted his progress but Hesketh was undeniable – after finding his feet he received the ball from the ensuing ruck and managed to cross into the corner (17-10).

Hesketh pauses for the line
Hesketh pauses for the line. Photo: Bruce Myers

Rochdale kicked off the restart and Nick Wright sent the ball high off the boot. Lymm couldn’t recover the kick and a favorable rebound allowed Sunderland to offload on Will Simmons who broke through the defense and sprinted to score under the post (24-10).

Rochdale took the restart cleanly and another well-placed kick from Rochdale scrum-half Zac Baker put Lymm’s defense at sea. Sunderland was again on hand to collect the bouncing ball, break free and simulate the back before sprinting to the line (31-10).

There was just enough time for Rochdale to score another try before the break. After a ruck set up in the middle of the field, James O’Connell shook the defense and Garrett Myers recovered the ball to land near the post (38-10).

The second half began like the first with the visitors taking the initiative and mounting the pressure in the Rochdale 22. Lymm was rewarded with a try after a fine manipulation from the right winger from the corner (38-15).

However, any thoughts of a comeback were quickly dispelled when, from a scrum in the Lymm 22, Baker executed a fine run around the inside center and broke through the defense to score from close range (45-15).

The game turned into a battle in midfield, with both teams making inroads into their opponents’ 22 but unable to convert any of the opportunities created. With time running out, Rochdale won the final score after another scintillating break from Hesketh; the quickly recycled ball allowed Baker to break and unload on Holt who scored for a corner (50-15).

Rochdale Celebrations
Photo: Bruce Myers

The game was probably decided in the ten minutes before half-time when Rochdale scored his four quick tries. Rochdale’s defense did what they had done all year and neutralized their opponent’s offensive threat. The hard work was done up front with great performances from Jacob Jackson and Alex Barry, the latter receiving the MoTM award for his solid carries, hard tackles and effective lineout work.

Team: Jacob Jackson, Joel Rigby, Garrett Myers, James O’Connell, Ben Sunderland, Jake Hopkins, Ben Hankinson, Will Rawlinson, Zac Baker, Mitchell Holt, Tom Shaw, Will Simmons, Ben Kershaw, Alex Barry, Max Cooper, Tom Hesketh, Oli Simpson, Sonny Joyce

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