Date published: 18 November 2022
Photo: Bruce Myers
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Rochdale’s Senior Colts side has already completed their Preliminary League fixtures and secured their position in the top flight for the main Conference League. A free weekend allowed them to arrange a friendly fixture, taking a mixed junior and senior side to Widnes on Sunday 13 November.
The game was very open with both sides moving the ball wide at every opportunity. Defences were on top for the first quarter and, just when it looked like the half might end scoreless, Rochdale struck. After sustained pressure in the opposition 22, the ball found its way to Ollie Simpson. As Simpson was closed down a very clever and well executed grubber-kick put Alex Dowd away on the outside to ground the ball over the line. Mitch Holt added the extra from the right-hand touchline.
This inspired the Rochdale team and, in the next play, Tom Hesketh gathered the ball in his own half with just enough space on the outside for him to accelerate around the cover and step inside the full-back before touching down under the posts (0-14) and marking the end of the first half.
Widnes upped their game in the second half but, despite having more territory and possession, were still unable to breach the Rochdale defence. Rochdale’s scrum and lineout had the upper hand and it was difficult for Widnes to sustain the pressure. Against the run of play Rochdale scored next when a relieving kick was regathered by Hesketh who had more than enough pace to outstrip the defence and touchdown close to the posts (0-21).
With time running out, Widnes finally got the score their endeavours deserved and then scored again straight from the kick off with a length of the field try (12-21). Rochdale were able to stay calm and see out the final minute to secure the victory.
There was some great play from both teams but from Rochdale a mention must go to Aiden Lord, Aidan Corless, Ralph Buckley and Adam Rawsthorne who all had great games. Man of the Match went to Ollie Simpson for an excellent performance at full back and wing – taking the high kicks and running the ball back.