The second stanza of summer rugby returned to Rochdale, with the Saints visiting the home of a strong Mayfield outfit. With both teams low on reserves due to the summer holidays, it gave chance for every player to take to the stage and shine.
From kick off the lack of match practice showed as the Saints knocked on from the kick off, giving the home side a scrum 30m from the Green & Gold line. From the scrum, Mayfield attack with speed and agression, and the Saints seemed match it with some strong defence from Lewis Croft
and Keenan Fraser
. However, as the ball came to the Saints right, on the third tackle, the impressive stand off jinked his way un opposed through some feable defence to score. 4-0.
From the restart the home side put another deep kick into the Saints half which was taken well by the Saints stand off, Robert Charles
, the ball was passed to a charging forward who was then judged to have knocked on in the tackle. Again from the resultant scrum, Mayfield probed and attacked. With Sam Hall
, Lewis Croft
and Aaron Grey tackling like their lives defended on it, showed when on the third tackle, they held Mayfield up over the line which looked liked a certain score. Great defence. But again, on the fourth tackle, the vistors fell asleep as the hooker spooted the gap and scooted overf from 5m out to extend the lead to 10-0.
From the kick off, the ball finally stuck and the Saints could play some rugby. Props Keenan Fraser
and Billy Travis
led the charge forward, as did both second row players Sean Cosgrove
and the impressive Michael Rigby
made good in roads into the home defence. Winger Bradley Howarth
got the ball on the fifth after some great interplay from Lewis Croft
, Robert Charles
and Ellis Rogers
and the ball was into Mayfields danger zone. On the last, Sam Hall
put a kick down centre field, which looked like the stand off would gather with ease, but a rare error, and the home player knocked on. From the scrum,
a knock on by the Saints scrum half, gave the ball back to the hosts. Saints however up their intensity in the tackle, and with some great tackles coming in from Matt Smith
, who had his best game for a while, and Joe Harris
, it meant Saints were slowly clawing their way back into the fixture.
With ball in hand, the Saints seemed to lack a little direction at times, but it was the second rower, Michael Rigby
who looked the most dangerous going forward. It took some great defence to hall the player down at times. Sam Hall
put a kick down field that was fielded on the tryline by the Mayfield centre, Robert Charles
led the charge down field and clattered the centre with a great tackle. From the play the ball, the stand off tackled the player and forced a knock on metres from the home line.
As the half came to the end, the Saints had a scrum 10m from the line and were pressing hard. Sam Hall
tried in vain to break from the pack, and charge over, but the Saints captain was met with a astrong tackle. With a great run by Guvvie Singh
, it set the Saints up for the last tackle. A grubber kick went in behind the defence and was a little strong and ran dead. Half time 10-0.
Starting the second half the Saints knew they finished the first half the stronger, and needed that element of luck to break the dead lock. It never happened, and a bizzare penalty decision for offiside on the last tackle gave the Mustangs a penaly 20m out from the Saints line. The tap penalty taken by the centre was then allowed to run again unopposed to score under the sticks to take the score 16-0.
From the restart, the Saints tried to hit back and with Adam Goodwin
trying his best to help his charges, players began to tire. It was again a kick on the last saw the Mayfield stand off take the ball from half way and run unopposed, to score under the posts. 22-0
Head were starting to drop, but the Saints never gave up and did try in vain to get over the line. Sam Hall
, Sean Cosgrove
and Ellis Rogers
all ran hard, but to give credit where it was due, the home side defended strong.
It was the next Mayfield try that was the pick of the day, deep in the Green & Golds quarter, the ball came left through five pairs of hands, simple draw and pass. It resulted the winger touching down in the corner. 28-0
The last try of the day was a deserved hatrick for the Mayfield number six, who jinked his way over for a good score from 30m out. 34-0 Final Score.
A useful run out for the Saints, and as the weeks will go on, they will hit the form they can produce.