Manchester Rangers were knocked out of the North West Mens League Shield competition at the first hurdle today, after a hard fought encounter with Rochdale Cobras.
It was a fine day for rugby league, with the sun shining down on a nice firm pitch, the rugby league neutral could be forgiven for expecting expansive rugby. The opening 20 minutes were anything but expansive. From the kick off, the game quickly became a battle for good field position, with both teams cancelling out their opponents attack and going set for set in your typical Rugby League arm wrestle.
In the 22nd minute, Rochdale found themselves with the ball in some good field and after two solid drives the Cobras were within metres of the Rangers Try line. There was little the defence could do as Gareth Hutchins crossed to break the deadlock and register the game’s first points. Try converted by Cobras scrum half Rich Davis.
Scoring the first try of the game seemed to send the Rochdale outfit into a bit of a purple patch, within a matter of minutes, the Cobras crossed the line again with a near carbon copy of their first effort with Rich Davis going over. Again, the Try was converted by Cobras number 7 Rich Davis.
By the time the game was 30 minutes old, Rochdale had scored their third try of the encounter through Ben Boothman and after Davis failed with his third conversion attempt of the afternoon the Cobras were 16 points to the good.
After what can only be described as a terrible 8 minutes, the Rangers came back firing and were much better for the remainder of the first half, slowly but surely steadying a rocking ship and went in at the break trailing by 16 points to nil.
After the restart, Manchester Rangers started the brighter side and within five minutes of the match recommencing, registered their first points of the game when Tyrone Parsonage went over to the left of the uprights for a very well worked. Holt converted to make the score 16 – 6 to Rochdale.
As the game grew older, the Rangers grew more confident and started to get a foot hold in the game, and Rangers Captain Andy Lewis ran a great angled run from within his own half to receive the ball and burst through a hole in the Cobras defence. With over 60 metres to run and the fullback to beat, Lewis kept his composure and rounded the last defender superbly to score Rangers second try of the afternoon, again Holt converted to bring the Rangers back to within 4 points of Rochdale.
The home side now had the bit between the teeth and seemed to have the making of the Rochdale outfit, but a try conceded against the run of play by 17 year old Daniel Dale put the Cobras on the score-sheet for the first time in the second half, Davis converting to put his side back in command 22 – 12.
Once again, the game turned in to a bit of an arm wrestle, with both sides struggling to overpower each other in a penalty strewn game that had its fiery moments. Some well worked plays by Manchester Rangers saw Debutant Josh Dolan score his first try for his new club. Dolan had it all to do when taking on three defenders close to the line, but somehow managed to squeeze through and cross the whitewash under a heap of players. Nick Holt missed the ensuing conversion, 22 – 16
With ten minutes of the encounter remaining, Rochdale crossed over for their 5th score of the afternoon when Rich Davis scored his 2nd try which seemingly put the game to bed. Although Davis missed the conversion, the Cobras were now 10 points to the good.
Ultimately, the Rangers left themselves with too much of a mountain to climb, and to add insult to injury, the Cobras slotted over a cheeky drop goal to tick the scoreboard over once more. 27 – 16
With seconds remaining, Rangers had one last throw of the dice, from a penalty, Olajide made a half break but was caught by the Cobras defence and knocked the ball on during the tackle. This was the last moment of a keenly contested game, with match Official Matthew Hinchley sounding his whistle to signal the end.
Rochdale Cobras now go into the hat for the next round of the competition and will be looking to emulate last year’s final appearance.
Manchester Rangers can now concentrate on their first league game of what is bound to be a very competitive season.
|7th March 2015||2:30 pm||North West Mens League Shield||2015|
|Wright Robinson Sports Village|
|1||Jubril Olajide||Stand Off||1||0||0||0||0|
|4||Joe Moura Da Luz||Centre||1||0||0||0||0|
|26||Anthony Dellar 29||Second-row||1||0||0||0||0|
|14||Michael Heys-Burke 23||Utility||1||0||0||0||0|
|15||Douglas Saya 18||Prop||1||0||0||0||0|
|29||Brian Massey 26||Second-row||1||0||0||0||0|
Head Coach: Steve Molloy
Head Coach: Stuart Nuttley