• Dudley Kingswinford: 36
  • Rossendale: 27 ROSSENDALE coach Tim Fourie believes his side can bounce back after their incredible play-off showdown defeat to Dudley.

Dale ran in five tries – including three in the opening 30 minutes – but still ended up as losers in the National League Three clash against their Midlands rivals.

But despite defeat, Fourie was proud of his team’s performance and believes they could go one better next season and secure automatic promotion.

“Dudley are a great team and, ultimately, they deserved their victory,” he said.

“It was a smashing game and a real credit to rugby. You don’t often score five tries and end up as losers but it wasn’t to be.

“But this defeat has whetted our appetite and has made us hungry for more.

“The game will live long in the memory of everyone involved in the club and everyone involved can rightly feel proud of themselves.”

Dale got off to the perfect start when they attacked Dudley in the lineout and Paddy Pole stole the ball and scored with just two minutes on the clock. He repeated the feat 10 minutes later as Dale pinned Dudley deep in to the own half.

And a third try arrived just after the half hour mark through Ian Marshall.

Crucially for Dale though, this was the only one successfully converted by Steve Nutt.

When Fourie crossed for a fourth try of the game just before the break, Rossendale were leading 22-14.

But with a strong wind, which was now in the home side’s favour, Dale knew they were in for a real battle.

Gareth Bown reduced the gap to 22-17 with a penalty.

A Simon Fletcher try and another Bown kick put the hosts in front.

And when Shaun Griffiths crashed over, Dudley were 29-22 up and Dale were yet to get any points on the board in the second half.

But to their credit, they responded well and livewire scrum half Jamie Albinson scored a fine individual try after breaking from the base of the set piece in the 75th minute.

Nutt again missed the kick that would have drawn Dale level but ahead on account of scoring more tries. As it was, Dudley scored again in the closing stages to seal the victory.

Fourie who ended up in hospital after breaking his hand – Johan Goosen picked up a similar injury – will look to strengthen the squad in the summer – especially with a couple of key players leaving.

Will Sharratt is going away to study while Danny Harrison is spending a year in New Zealand playing rugby.

He added: “We have some smashing young players in our Colts who could come through and we’ll look to bring a few players in.

“We’re hungry for success now and we’ll be aiming to go straight up next season.”