Foresters prevail in old school conditions.
Foresters travelled to a grey, wet and soggy Halifax to take on Heath Hawks, who no doubt would be looking to atone for their defeat earlier in the season at The Avenue.
Dale started brightly showing that they intended to attack and move the ball around despite the conditions. The Greens were penalised in the 3rd minute in front of their own posts. Hawks duly converted the kick, score 3-0
Dale returned to playing rugby and made ground despite the surface of the pitch beginning to cut up quite badly. Hawks steadfastly defended and wisely were clearing their lines at every opportunity.
Dale were caught short in numbers after an attack broke down wide left. Hawks fly hacked the ball into Forester’s trying scoring area and, after a scramble, Heath scored a try to take them 8-0 up after 12 minutes.
The Greens continued to attack but the conditions were deteriorating and mistakes were inevitable. The forwards, led by captain Jack Hirst, were clearly on top and were dominating at the scrum, taking a number against the head. The Greens were winning the collisions on both sides of the ball but were failing to capitalise. Heath continued to defend and kicked clear, when possible, making the Foresters repeatedly start again.
Slowly Dale became more pragmatic with their game plan and began to encamp themselves in Heath’s last third.
Dale after several missed opportunities, from a penalty on the right, went through a couple of phases. The young scrum half Finn Walker, smartly cleared the ball from the ruck. A miss pass from his half back partner in midfield saw centre saw Josh Prell run in under the posts.
Score 8-7 Halftime
After the break Dale took a more simple approach and played the percentages as the pitch and conditions deteriorated even more. Heath struggled to exit and after sustained pressure from Dale, a charge down in their 22 , saw the talented Toby Mallison, scoop the ball up and score to put Dale ahead. The try was converted by the Stand off Andy Rhodes , score 8-14.
The game became a stop start affair, mainly due to the conditions. Hawks hung on in and Dale were unable to convert the territory and pressure.
As the game ebbed away Heath, despite being under the cosh, were still only a converted score down. After a brief period in Dale’s half they were awarded a penalty for kicking the ball in the ruck. The penalty was well taken and the score was 11-14 with a few minutes to play.
Dale now defended with discipline and guile. They held Heath up in the tackle just outside their 22 before stripping them and kicking to touch.The referee then blew the whistle for full time.
Final score 11-14
Captain Jack Hirst had an excellent game leading his dominant pack physically around the park. The young replacement prop Ramsey Smith continues to catch the eye and scrum half Finn Walker had a good game in the atrocious conditions.
Starters: – 1 J. Hirst, 2. C. Marsden, 3. J. Meehan, 4. M. Mountain, 5. J. Burton, 6. J Fawcett, 7. L. Craven, 8. S. Smith, 9. F. Walker, 10 A. Rhodes, 11. A. Stockdale, 12. T. Mallinson, 13. J. Prell, 14. S. Bennett, 15. S.Mason.
Finisher: – 16. R. Smith