Bolton u12 20 v's Rochdale u12 15
An interesting encounter on a heavy pitch
With both teams missing players due to injury Bolton lent Rochdale a couple of players but the match was played as 12 a side.
The pitch was heavy but conditions were reasonable for January and at least we got to play. Bolton kicked off and after sustained pressure, where Rochdale struggled to get out of their half, opened the scoring, Fafa eventually crossing after 5 minutes. The next 5 minutes saw a fascinating battle, both teams unable to unlock their opponents defence until a superb run by Daniel McGuiness saw him cross the whitewash despite the attention of 4 opponents.
The second period saw Josh Bentley-Hughes score after 7 mins, a superb breakaway when the Rochdale defence went missing for once. Rochdale replied shortly after with a break down the Bolton left. From the kick off, superb counter rucking saw Bolton recover the ball and a chip over the top by Jack Good resulted in a try for Josh or Jack. A slight lapse in Bolton's concentration saw Rochdale sneak another try just before the whistle to see the score read 20-10.
The final period saw the defences on top, Rochdale dealing better with Bolton's larger pack, whilst Bolton covered the pacy Rochdale backs better than before. A surprise kick by Rochdale - their 1st of the game and a fumble in defence saw a massive maul initially repelled on the Bolton try line but a second surge and the ball was grounded for a final score of 20-15.
Special mention must be made of Vernon Baxter, who eventually got to play his 1st match, albeit for Rochdale. It was nice to see Noah (who used to play for us), though I suspect too many of our players could remember his game and he was perhaps less influential than other occasions.
Overall the match was great to watch, clearly evenly matched teams with different styles and skill sets, each working out how to negate the other.