Date published: September 21, 2022
Rochdale under 15
In the first Cup game of the new season, Rochdale gathered at Blackburn in pleasant weather with a respectfully observed minute’s silence to remember the Queen’s passing.
The team spent the first 7 minutes finding heads and feet as Blackburn increased the pressure. Hard-hitting tackles from Oli Husband and Hari Ghattuara, among others, kept us in the game. After weathering the storm without losing any points, Rochdale shifts into high gear.
A great counter-ruck around the halfway line, and Dan Taylor kicked the ball down the line to find Cameron Stretch on a loop to break through Blackburn’s backs. Charlie Beavan sat on his shoulder and received the offload to complete the remaining yards and score the opener which, with the conversion of Adam Sanderson, put Rochdale up 7-0.
As soon as the game resumed, the game intensified. Jethro Richards took the ball in the air, charged into their pack and the forwards created a platform for Josh Jakeman to circle the side and charge to the line. A tackle that looked too high meant the referee disallowed his try for being held down, but as soon as play restarted Jakeman made amends, crossing the line less than two minutes later to claim the points he thought be his sooner.
Again from the restart, solid play forward and back from the scrum, the ball went down the line. A hard straight through Beavan and Ben Leaver to free Ethan Miles who pinned his ears back and went comfortably to the line to record his first score of the day, duly converted again by Sanderson – 19-0.
The pattern continued.. kick off. Blackburn chased hard and tried to force their way through Rochdale’s back line. Stretch was immense, securing yet another Jackal and snatching the ball away. Quick delivery down the back, unload on Beavan until halfway through and then on Leaver – no mistake as he comfortably cleared two tackles and rolled to make it 24-0.
The final game of the half and this time Richards received the ball from kick-off, a strong midfield drive and 3 of Blackburn’s players were sucked in to slow him down. With the space created afterwards and still up front, Miles was once again the grateful recipient and made no mistake as he ran down the pitch again and scored his second of the day. The half ended 29-0.
In cup matches, the margin of difference cannot exceed 40 points, so Rochdale started the 30 seconds knowing they needed to register an unanswered 11 extra points to secure victory.
Blackburn had different ideas and launched a furious assault which saw Rochdale stuck in their 5-yard channel, holding the ball once over the line and attacking like demons to stop the onslaught. The Rochdale defense held firm and a shot from Blackburn got us a scrum.
The ball flew downfield through Beavan and Leaver, Isaac Corns on the spot to take the ball in the final third of the field and unload it on Will Brown who ran a superb line of support to cross the line. 34-0.
What followed was probably one of the best team manipulation tries with a delightful pass interaction from James Richardson’s initial break, then 3 sublime passes from Beavan to Leaver, back to Beavan and down the line. 39-0.
Minutes later, a deserved forward move saw Josh Jakeman claim the winning margin points, with Sanderson making no mistakes with the conversion to see the cup game end 46-0.
A sublime team effort with Men of the Match applause for Miles and Richards, despite the whole team delivering the result.
The scoreline does not reflect Blackburn’s effort and skill and they are a team Rochdale should not underestimate in future encounters. The unbeaten season continues.