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Rossendale 23 Middlesbrough 14
3:21pm Tuesday 8th March 2011 in Rossendale RUFC
Rossendale kept faith with the same team that narrowly lost last time out against Chester to gain a hard fought win at home to Middlesbrough.
Playing with the wind in their favour, Dale produced a clinical first half where they scored 16 unanswered points.
Rossendale played smart rugby, keeping the ball in the Middlesbrough end of the pitch which saw the visiting team struggle to get out of their own half. However, Dale could not capitalise on their pressure and only managed three long range James Bramhall penalties – until the forwa-rds, who were once again dominant, managed to power Paddy Pole over the line from an excellent rolling maul just before half time. Bramhall converted from wide out.
The half time team talk left Dale under no illusions that Middlesbrough would come out fighting in the second half – and so it proved.
Dale’s defence was tested to the limit and Boro mounted a fightback, looking for the win to keep them above the relegation zone.
But it was two lapses in concentration that gifted the visitors two converted tries and suddenly it was 16-14 and game on.
At that stage it looked like Middlesbrough might just break the Dale defence once again but a Bramhall penalty kick in to the corner relieved the pressure.
And from the line-out, Dale set up another driving maul and Pole crashed over the line with Bramhall adding the extras to seal a 23-14 win.
Player/coach Bramhall was delighted with the win – especially as a number of key players were missing.
“We can’t underestimate this win,” said Bramhall. “We had four senior members missing but the youngsters that are coming up through the ranks are showing they can hold their own in a Rossendale 1st XV shirt. “The front five were once again outstanding and local boys Roger Dennison, Nathan Settle and Danny Harrison were all a pleasure to watch.”
Rossendale travel to Lymm next week for another tough encounter for which they will need to be at their best in order to secure the points.
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