An early Christmas present
By Les Towler
Rossendale 12 vs Bolton Junior Colts 29
Having been on the end of some narrow defeats despite improved performances, Bolton u17s travelled with a depleted but confident squad determined to get that elusive win that had so far eluded them this season. In conditions less than ideal for the open expansive game Bolton are trying to play, Rossendale kicked deep into the Bolton half. From the start the Bolton handling was assured building phase after phase, with halfbacks Robert Harris and Oliver Owen controlling proceedings, Bolton marched upfield. Rossendale couldn't cope with the constant barrage of red shirts and speed of the Bolton team who created a fine overlap for Tobias Kinwood-Bailey to skip through and open the scoring converted by Robert Harris. From the kick off James Harris took the catch and ran straight through the would be tacklers, making 30m before offloading to Captain Marcus Crompton who linked with William Pettigrew to take play once again deep into the home 22. With the ball swiftly fed to Regan Brown, who delayed his pass beautifully to set up wing Kehinde Taiwo to outpace the home defence for Boltons second try. This spurred Rossendale into action having spent 25 minutes defending the big Dale pack started to take the game to Bolton with a clear size advantage, Bolton were defending bravely but conceded a number of penalties which ultimately resulted in a yellow card and a short range try for Dale. With Sam Howie now in a scrum half , Dale were once again pushed deep into their half with some intelligent kicking from the half back playing the conditions well, Jack Phillips and Harry Moxham scavenging in the back row turned possession over and Bolton laid siege to the Dale line but try as they might, Bolton simply couldn't break the resolve and the defence held firm.
Half Time Rossendale 7 Bolton 12
Having weathered the storm and now playing down the hill it was clear Rossendale had their tails up and Bolton indiscipline once again cost vital yards and still down to 14 players, Dale made the visitors pay with a fine forwards try to bring the scores level. In recent weeks, Bolton have struggled to hold a lead and playing up the hill against a side now dominant up front it looked like this could be another near miss for the Cherry and Whites. At these times it takes just one moment to inspire a team and this moment came from the next play. Bolton awarded a penalty, prop forward Sam Hird took a short pass and the Dale number 8 sized him up and sprinted to make the hit - the collision would have been heard back at Avenue Street but there was only one winner with the huge Dale forward simply bounced off as Hird powered towards the line, Josh Aspinwall recycled before once again Sam Hird picked a line and couldn't be stopped to score his second try in two games to put Bolton back in front. This was clearly a decisive moment as Bolton now started to play with the fluidity and confidence of the first 20 minutes moving the Dale forwards all over the pitch, they simply couldn't cope with the pace of the Bolton play. A long penalty kick from Howie took play once again deep into Rossendale territory and the forwards now showed what they could do - hooker Ed Webster found captain Crompton and a driving maul was set - as Bolton marched forwards, fully 10m, with the defence splintered, prop Myles Crook spotted a gap and broke clear from the maul sprinting past the static defence for a superb score. Rossendale knew they had to now give it everything launching attack after attack however a superb play from Leon Bain-Hall, operating as flank forward he made two consecutive tackles before forcing the turn over, quick as a flash the ball was fed to full back Tobias Kinwood-Bailey who rounded the winger before outpacing the covering defence for a superb try to round off the scoring.
Having waited nearly two years for a victory - this was a fantastic Christmas present for the Bolton Junior Colts to finally nail the win, their performances and effort deserved
Final Score Rossendale 12 Bolton 29