Winnington Park 12 Rochdale 21
It was a game the home side should have won to lift themselves away from the relegation zone but as on a few other occasions the homeside could not take their chances or capitalize on both territory and possession in game they dominated.
But there again is hope and with results again going Parks way at the bottom of the table the New Year can be approached with optimism and hope.
The match kicked off in wet blustery conditions and Park were always on the front foot and played most of the rugby with the wind at their backs. They dominated the lineout and scrums but just could not get the breakthrough. Rochdale however were always sharp and attacked from deep at any opportunity. They actually went ahead with penalty from Johnson for an offside in the backs. But Park soon bounced back Ben Elliot who earlier had missed with a penalty opportunity made an incisive break and beat three defenders on his way to a good score under the sticks he duly converted his try for a 7-3 lead at half time.
The second half started brightly and both sides made for an entertaining match attacking on most occasions when good ball was given. After good work from the lineout Ian Moriarty who was outstanding all day set up good ball for the Park Backs which allowed Neil Welsh to make a break and he fed Mark Patterson who crashed over for a vital score the Kick was missed and with 20 mins to go at 12-3 the game was for the taking. Park went asleep on the kick off and another penalty soon reduced the score to 12-6. The turning point in the game came from a difficult missed penalty kick from Ben Elliot which dropped short Park did not chase up the kick and Rochdale set off with the ball. It must have gone through 10 pairs of hands and a wonderful try was scored the kick was made and park were suddenly 13-12 down. It knocked the stuffing out of the young side who never recovered a further penalty and a try fro second row Hobbs made the final score 21-12 a disappointment for the home crowd who saw Park go close to victory. Coach Mark Warr was happy with a better performance with some good rugby being played. Sam Barton, Ben Richardson and Matt Dodds were lively all afternoon. Park have one more match away to Sandbach before the Xmas break and 2 points is must if Park are to pull away from the relegation zone. With Pete Dennett and Rick Shaw returning full compliment of player will be available for selection. Both Richard Dennett and Andrew Evans both made promising debuts and if Park keep battling on the future at the club is certainly bright.
Team- Burgess, Dodds, Sant, Patterson C, Moriarty, Richardson, Cross, Parrot, Barton, Evans, Elliot, Patterson, welsh, Garbett, Archer Subs- Dennett, Warr, Hornby.
Dukinfield 13 Winnington 2nds 12 (Tries by Dan Chalmers & Richard Murdon, Murdon 1 conversion); Starman Craig Lamb.
Winnington 3rds 29 (Tries by Gareth Williams, Ben Dodd, Joe Ellis & Chris Murphy 2, Matt Thurlwell 2 conversions) Wirral 3rds 13. Starman Chris Murphy