Date published: September 12, 2022
Hornets players celebrate a try against Oldham
The Rochdale Hornets kept their promotion hopes alive by beating local rivals Oldham 38-24, in the Betfred League 1 Elimination Play-Off.
The Hornets trailed on three occasions, but four second-half tries in the space of 13 minutes were enough to secure a third straight win, over their nearest neighbours.
After a crucial victory over Hunslet last time out, Stuart Littler’s Oldham side were unsurprisingly quick out of the blocks with Joe Hartley scoring the first try of the game – within five minutes – after a clever break down the left edge.
But the Hornets responded well as they fell behind and, before long, second row Ben Forster had worked his way over the try line.
Gary Thornton’s side gained confidence from this and would take a well-deserved lead ten minutes later.
Forster looked to have scored his second try, before the Oldham defense stepped in, but a quick play of the ball gave Gavin Bennion space to dive over the whitewash.
However, the lead didn’t last long as Hartley ran for his second try, after 28 minutes, thanks to another clean break to break through the Hornets defensive line.
While the game was obviously going to be one of the finest, the visitors then went for a penalty shootout when Rochdale’s Joe Taira was penalized for a high tackle.
Martin Ridyard would comfortably send the kick 45 yards out to give his side a 12-10 lead.
It looked to be the half-time score line, but another try for in-form Cian Tyrer – with the final play of half-time – would give the hosts a narrow lead at the break.
In the opening rallies of the second half, Oldham would again opt to take a shot on goal when the Hornets were penalized with Ridyard scoring a single two.
Littler’s side would then get back in front after Owen Restall capitalized on a lucky rebound to score on the left wing.
But the Elimination Play-Offs kept coming and going and, moments later, captain Gregg McNally leaped through the Roughyeds defense to score a superb individual try.
Then a quick reflection from Connor Aspey – a fictional half-timer – would see the loanee from Salford dive and score the Hornets’ fifth try.
Thornton’s side would extend their lead four minutes later with the always dangerous Rangi Chase breaking brilliantly to get four tries in their last two outings, against Oldham.
Bennion would then double his total for the afternoon to further cement Rochdale’s hold on the game, with the vanguard breaking away powerfully to run from 20 yards.
The Hornets handled the closing stages of the game well to avoid any chance of a comeback and as a result tempers began to flare within the ranks at Oldham.
With two minutes remaining, Callum Cameron was shown a yellow card for an off the ball challenge but would then see it red after sparking a huge altercation between the two teams – Fuifui Moimoi also seeing the yellow for his role in the procedure.
Tyrer would get the penalty awarded to the Hornets due to poor discipline from Cameron, before Kian Morgan launched into a consolation try for the visitors with the game’s final act.
The win means the Hornets will now travel to the North Wales Crusaders next week, following their 26-12 loss to Doncaster in the qualifying play-off.
Hornets: McNally, Nixon, Brewin, Hitchcox, Tyrer, Chase, Rush; Moimoi, Roden, Bennion, Calland, Forster, Killan
Trades: Taira, Aspey, Thomas, Whitehead
Tries: Forster (11′), Bennion (21′, 67′), Tyrer (40′), McNally (54′), Aspey (59′), Chase (63′)
Goals: Tyrer, 5/8
Oldham: Morgan, Cooke, Hartley, Wellington, Restall, Ridyard, Hewitt; Nelmes, Butterworth, Spencer, Champ, Cameron, Whittel
Exchanges: Thornton, Coventry, Newton, Yarrow.
Tries: Hartley (5′, 28′), Restall (50′), Morgan (79′)
Goals: Ridyard, 4/6