Rochdale Hornets 6-38 Dewsbury Rams
Monday 19th February 2018, 19:45pm
Championship - Round:
Dale Morton, James Glover, Rob Worrincy 2, Aaron Brown 2, Josh Guzdek,
Paul Sykes 5,
HORNETS TAKE POSITIVES FROM DEWSBURY DEFEAT
DESPITE the score line, Rochdale Hornets can take plenty of positives from their Betfred Championship opener on Monday night.
Alan Kilshaw’s men were forced to kick-off their season two weeks (and a day) later than originally scheduled, as their first two fixtures against Batley Bulldogs and Swinton Lions fell victim to the weather.
Add that to the fact that their friendly with North Wales Crusaders was also called-off, and Rochdale FC hosted Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup on Sunday, then Hornets couldn’t have had a more disrupted start to 2018.
Starting the season in round three meant that Dewsbury Rams were their first opponents, as a number of new faces made their debut.
Earl Hurst, Luke Adamson and Deon Cross all featured for the first time competitively in a Hornets shirt, while Luis Johnson, Pat Moran and Harvey Livett appeared on dual registration from Warrington Wolves.
It was a costly night for the home side, as Gary Middlehurst, Ben Moores and Matty Hadden all picked up injuries.
The first period was a direct reflection of a side which hadn’t played a game of league since January 13th, coming up against a team three weeks into their season.
Dewsbury ran in six first-half tries, with the first coming eight minutes in as Dale Morton plucked Paul Sykes’ kick out of the air to finish in the corner.
Within four minutes they had another, as Hurst knocked on straight from a scrum into the path of James Glover, with the centre racing 40 metres to score.
It was 16-0 on 16 minutes when Dec Kay had the ball stripped one-on-one while returning a kick, leading to Rob Worrincy crossing on the next play.
When Dewsbury took exception to a Joe Taira high tackle it led to Middlehurst being sinbinned in the 24th minute, as he ran in to a swarm of Rams players. They made the man advantage pay immediately after, with Aaron Brown crashing over from close range.
Clever play from Dom Speakman led to try number five, as he benefitted from a quick play the ball by jumping from dummy half and sending a grubber into the in-goal, where Brown collected his second try.
On the hooter Worrincy also grabbed his brace, as Lewis Palfrey’s bomb was spilled into his grasp as the winger raced the length of the field making it 32-0 at the break.
Despite being down to one rotation, a different Rochdale side emerged from the sheds in the second period and put in a much improved performance.
They spent the next 20 minutes camped on their opponent’s try line, as they probed for an opening time and time again.
Hornets failed to turn pressure into points, as Sykes’ laid on a delightful no-look pass to Josh Guzdek, leading to the fullback racing in next to the posts.
That try ended all hope of a miraculous comeback, yet there was an immediate response from Rochdale as they broke their deadlock after 63 minutes. A clever passage of play saw Adamson send Lee Mitchell through a hole in the defence, before he returned the ball back to his captain to put him in for a debut try.
It may have counted for nothing but pride, however it was a well-earned try after a hugely improved showing in the second half.
It was also the final score of the game, as the Rams picked up a 38-6 victory thanks to their dominant first half display.
There is definitely room for improvement for Rochdale, but they will be buoyed by their response after the break and will be thankful that they finally kicked-off their season at the third time of asking.