HEADLANDS ROAD BONUS POINT TAKES 1ST XV BACK TO 2ND PLACE
Despite good opposition from Rochdale, the Stockport backs put on a good display of running, well supported by the forwards to gain a 33-24 victory
Report by Mike Atkinson
STOCKPORT 33 ROCHDALE 24
Stockport returned to 2nd place in the table with a bonus point victory at Headlands Road, against a Rochdale side, whose league position belies the way they played, providing a very stern challenge for Stockport. Stockport scored an early try but Rochdale were very much in the game and were within one score at half time and soon after the break only 2 points down. But the Stockport backs put on a good display of running, well supported by the forwards and the final score was 33-24 with Rochdale earning a well deserved try bonus point with a score in the closing moments of the match
After only 5 minutes Stockport’s Dean SCHOFIELD scored a try as a Rochdale clearance kick from a 5 metre scrum was charged down and the ball bounced back to Schofield for an easy touch down, Tom EATON converted. Rochdale were quick to respond and they gained possession at a scrum following the kick off and moved the ball wide right, then back to the left and their wing scored having beaten the attempted tackling by Stockport, with no conversion it was 7-5 after only 10 minutes. An interception on the Stockport 22 by wing James Keane stopped a certain try and put Stockport on the attack. A line out on 30 metres was won and the ball moved left along the backs to give fullback Joe WILSON a try wide out, with no conversion it was 12-5. A good break and run by centre George SMITH put Stockport on the attack again and a quick penalty tap was taken by scrum half Tom DUFFY and after 2 phases there was another try for Scholfield and a conversion for Eaton for a 19-5 lead. The visitors were determined to make a game of it and always looked dangerous on the counter attack with some good running, particularly by their No 13.and after 25 minutes they had another try after putting some good phases together, the conversion brought them to 19-12, which is how it stood at half time.
Tom EATON made a very good break early in the half but it was the visitors who scored first after counter attacking from a Stockport clearance, Rochdale kept the ball alive and scored wide out on the left to make it 19-17 and a very close game after 52 minutes. A good drive by the Stockport forwards won a penalty near the Rochdale line and Eaton took it quickly to go over for a try, which he converted to give Stockport a more comfortable lead at 26-17, with 15 minutes to go. Rochdale had a good chance when a penalty took them to the Stockport 22 and they won another penalty in front of the Stockport posts, opting for the scrum they knocked on and Stockport cleared their lines. A blindside break by Simon GREEN from a scrum allowed Tom DUFFY to kick ahead and pressure on the Rochdale full back by James KEAN gave Stockport a line out, the drive for the Rochdale line resulted in a try for skipper Kieran HIBBS, Tom EATON was again on target and Stockport had a convincing 33-17 lead. But it was the visitors who had the last word, going through many phases for their strong running No 8 to get a try, which was converted to give them a bonus point.
There is a rest week next weekend and then it is away at Warrington on 25 November.