Rochdale 39 – 18 Oldham

Date published: Monday, September 12, 2011

OUR interest in the 2011 Co-operative Championship One play-offs came to an end at Rochdale Hornets on Sunday (Sept 11) when we went out 39-18 to a Rochdale side that hit top form at just the right time.

It was the fourth time these derby rivals had clashed this year and it was the first Hornets victory, but there was no denying they were the better side on the day this time, as the score would indicate.

Tony Benson, the Oldham boss, acknowledged that Roughyeds were well beaten.[singlepic id=962 w=320 h=240 float=left] “Rochdale deserve total credit,” he said. “They played a very good game, and they didn’t allow us to play.

“We got off to a poor start from the kick-off and that set the pattern. We made another error a couple of plays later and we were 12-0 down after five minutes. It’s always going to be hard work from there.

“We started to get back into the game, but it was only briefly and then we fell away again. That was due to the fact that Rochdale put us under a lot of pressure.

“They seemed to get every bounce of the ball, but that was because they were rolling forwards. That happens when a side is on top. You make your own luck. Rochdale made theirs and duly capitalised. We were under pressure for long periods.”

Hornets set off at a cracking pace and, aided by some early Oldham errors, stormed into a 12-0 lead inside five minutes. We managed to scofe tries by Shaun Robinson and Neil Roden in the first half, one of which Carl Forber improved, but Hornets went on to command a 23-10 interval lead with first-half tries by Paul Crook (2), Richard Mervill and Dean Gorton, three goals by Crook and a drop goal by Craig Ashall.

We had a lot of possession and good field position in the third quarter of the game, but a resolute Hornets defence stood firm, before they took the game away from us again with tries by Andy Saywell and Dale Bloomfield; drop goals by Crook and Steve Roper; and two penalties by Crook.

We managed late tries by Mark Brocklehurst and Mark McCully, but they came too late to cause much concern to the home side.

Scorers: Hornets — goals, Crook (6); drop goals, Crook, Ashall, Roper; tries, Crook (2), Gorton, Mervill, Saywell, Bloomfield; Oldham — goal, Forber; tries, Robinson, N Roden, Brocklehurst, McCully.

Hornets: English; Bloomfield, Gorton, Phyke, Saywell; Crook, Roper; Cookson, Ashall, Mervill, Donoghue, Hobson, Hough. Subs: Ekis, Newton, Bowman, Samuel

Oldham: Robinson; Brocklehurst, St Hilaire, McCully, Gillam, N Roden, Forber, Boults, Clough, Bentley, Bravo, Noone, M Roden. Subs: Fogarty, Whitmore, Gilchrist,Casey.

Referee: G Stokes; Att: 1,053.