Bolton U13v vs Rochdale U13s
Rochdale v Bolton U13's
Rochdale 10 Bolton 10
Weather: sunny. Pitch soft.
AKA The one with the handbags...
*theme from Rocky plays in background*
Bolton under 13's pulled no punches in a lively encounter away at Rochdale.
Glorious spring sunshine in the hills above Rochdale was not enough to dry out a very soft pitch . Straight from the off, it became clear that this was to be a close match between closely matched combatants, even though Rochdale had a clear weight advantage, particularly in the forward pack. After a few chances and some good defensive work from the home side, Bolton scored the opening try on 8 minutes when Ben Price kicked a loose ball forward and then Sam Atherton beat the Rochdale full back to the ball and hacked it over the try line where top scorer Leon Hodson was there to touch over for his 56th try of the season. Despite having their opponents on the ropes following the try, Bolton were unable to extend their lead. Rochdale themselves began to press and it was a fine solo effort from one of their physically commanding backs that drew them level on 25 minutes.
Throughout the first half, and despite the weight disadvantage, the Bolton scrum was working well with several won against the head through good hooking from Peter Webster and Tom Jenkinson and excellent awareness from scrum half Sam McDowell . Fred Holt Gregson and Blake Griffiths played in unfamiliar prop positions and yet were able to channel the power of the pack and gain the upper hand over the Rochdale forwards. And so it continued into the second half. Oskar Chadderton , in possibly his best game yet, carried the ball with speed and strength and helped to power the cherry and whites ever forward. It was a little against the run of play that Rochdale then went ahead , but Bolton rallied and the backs began to develop their passing play. One particular phase starting with Mark Glynn at the back, working through Price, Ed Perris and Oliver Keogh saw Bolton move the entire length of the pitch. A necessarily hasty kicked clearance from the Rochdale full back was gathered well by Hodson who used his trademark balance, speed and strength to power over to bring the scores level.
The final quarter of the game was keenly contested and the gloves came off as both teams looked to land the knockout blow that was not to come. Honours were shared but Bolton under 13's showed with his display that they can go toe to toe with any opposition.