ROSSENDALE might well have taken the try count three to one but were far too profligate in the penalty count with four conceded which proved costly indeed as the east Lancashire side went down 19-17 at Morpeth in what was head coach Mark Nelson’s final game in charge.

To rub some salt into the wound after leading 17-12 into the final minute, the home side crossed for a try to level matters with the conversion sealing the win for the Northumberland side and sending the visitors back down the M6 with just a losing bonus point to show for their efforts.

For Nelson it was to be the end, James Bramhall now stepping up to the lead role ahead of schedule having been set to take over at the end of the season.

Rossendale have dropped down to 11th spot in the North Premier, one place below Wirral on points difference, and far too close to the relegation zone for


Nelson has been at the club for four seasons, which included a play-off and top six finish in those years, Bramhall taking charge for the first time in the home game against Ilkley this Saturday.

“It has been an enjoyable journey with Nelly (Nelson) over the last four seasons,” said chairman Nick Ingham in a statement. “He brought us to within a point of gaining promotion to National Three, he has attracted some talented players to this club who I am sure will continue to help in the development of some of the talented players that have come up through our junior ranks and will hopefully continue to support this club in its development.

“The whole club would like to thank Nelly for his commitment and efforts of the last four years and we wish him well in the


At Morpeth, Rossendale took the early lead with a try from Curtis Strong on the back of some solid pressure and neat handling across the line.

It was Strong again crossing for his second chasing a grubber through from Lewis Allen before hacking on and winning the chase to the line to take a 10-3 lead in at the interval, the home penalty slotted by Ben Hornby.

In the second period Hornby added a second but turn over ball and quick hands got Allen over, Allen also adding the extras to give Rossendale a 17-6 lead.

Unfortunately for Dale the penalties kept coming and two more from Hornby put the home side in touching distance at 17-12.

At this point Rossendale could be thinking of the points but a late flourish from the home side saw Sam Hornby go over from the final play, Ben Hornby landing the conversion sealing the win.

Elsewhere in the North Premier, Blackburn went down 20-12 at Carlisle.

Dino Radice’s men now sit sixth in the table having lost their last three games.

They next host third in the table Macclesfield this Saturday.

Burnley’s cup match in the ADM First Division Shield at home to Colne and Nelson was called off while Clitheroe were without a game in the same competition as it was their week off in the round robin stages.