Rochdale 11 LSH 20

In a game in which they were always in control Liverpool St Helens bounced back from the previous week’s disappointment to win at Rochdale and put their North One West campaign back on track.

Although not at their most fluent the Moss Laners played enterprising rugby, much of it sparked from the lively half back combination of Matt Gaines and Greg Smith playing behind a solid pack.

Smith in particular, had a major impact on the game, particularly in the first half with his quick running and distribution.

There were also plenty of errors and missed chances but the performance was ultimately more than enough to return home with the win and the all important bonus point.

It was Smith who started things off in the 3rd minute with a break down the middle of the field and a pass to the recalled Dave Cunliffe.

Cunliffe bounced of the Rochdale full back before offloading to Ian Stanley who sprinted over in the right hand corner. Smith missed this and all subsequent conversions.

Rochdale, playing with the deceptively steep slope in their favour, retaliated with a number of concentrated attacks, one of which saw Neil Hull called upon to dive on the ball behind his own line.

The full back did so, again, safely. In a quickly moving game LSH in turn moved the ball forward with a series of drives with skipper Jan Lourens leading from the front.

After 15 minutes they were rewarded when Lourens rumbled towards the Rochdale line followed by the ball being swung out to Smith and then to Stanley joining in the line and onto Hull who ran over in the left hand corner. Rochdale should have scored soon after but completely messed up an interception from 40 yards out with Ian Stanley saving the day.

They followed this up with a good spell but strong LSH defence kept them out, Ollie Coldman eventually getting them on the board with a 36th minute penalty. LSH sealed their domination of the first forty minutes with a try from the forwards unit right on the stroke of half time.

Good work from prop Mark Fryer, prominent throughout, led to Phil Kearns charging towards the line and passing to the ever dependable Mark Williams who made no mistake to dive over and score.

Rochdale came out with a purpose in the second half and took the game to LSH. Strong early pressure brought a scrambled try from fly half Ron Neave after a sequence of play which saw Neil Hull pull up sharply with a hamstring injury.

The home side followed this up with a penalty from Rick West in the 54th minute Stung into action LSH immediately replied with a superb try from Matt Cunliffe after Ian Stanley had made a strong cross field run from the right wing.

The right winger passed to the left winger who ran round and outpaced three Rochdale defenders to score in the left hand corner from 45 yards. The final quarter saw the rain soaked ground take its toll. Both sides create chances with Rochdale launching a determined effort in the last ten minutes but LSH stood firm.

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