By Sean Hayes | 27/06/2016
Rochdale Hornets were ruthless as they saw off bottom of the table Hemel Stags at Pennine Way, running in 11 tries in their 60-6 victory.
The hosts failed to post a single point in the second period as Alan Kilshaw’s men ensured that they stayed in the hunt for second place, with only two games of the regular season remaining.
The Hornets head coach handed Josh Crowley his debut, after the back rower completed his transfer from local rivals Oldham last Monday, and also welcomed Jordan Case and Corey Lee back into the starting line-up.
After a shaky start, in which the visitors failed to complete their first two sets of the afternoon, Rochdale opened the scoring after just seven minutes.
It was thanks to a great break from the returning Lee, who broke from his own half before finding Danny Yates in support, with the halfback finishing the move off close to the sticks.
Three minutes later Lee was rewarded with a try of his own, as Paul Crook’s pass just about found its way to Chris Riley, before the fullback fired a pass to his winger in space out wide.
After a dominant start on the scoreboard from the away side, Hemel opened their account on 16 minutes through Dom Bryan, as a knock on gave the Stags an opportunity in Rochdale’s half and the centre made them pay.
It took three minutes for a response though, as Yates’ flat ball sent Jono Smith over from close range, as the second rower made it seven scoring appearances in his last eight games after Hemel had knocked on from the kick-off.
James Tilley showed great strength on 24 minutes to force his way over to make it 22-6 before an even 15 minute period saw the home side threaten to find their way over the try line.
Rochdale’s defence stood tall though, and Lee grabbed his second of the game on the hooter after an initial break from Samir Tahraoui ended with Lewis Galbraith finding his wing partner with an impressive flick pass.
Crook couldn’t convert, as the Hornets went into the sheds 26-6 ahead.
Whatever Kilshaw said to his players at the break worked a treat, as they posted 16 points in the first eight minutes of the second period, however they were without Riley who suffered a suspected broken hand.
The first of those three tries was scored by Case, who marked his recovery from injury by finishing off a move started by Smith, who initially started a break down the wing before sending Case over with a short ball two tackles later.
Ryan Maneely then scored his first four pointer for the club since joining on loan from Halifax with a clever dart from dummy half, catching the opposition defence napping.
Within three minutes Galbraith had added his name to the score sheet, as Smith offloaded to Maneely before the hooker fired a pass to the makeshift winger for him to dive over.
After a 15 minute drought Lee completed his hat-trick after Jo Taira broke from deep in his own half, before Yates supported the front rower and handed Lee his third try of the afternoon.
With 11 minutes left Smith created another try, as some good footwork at the line saw the second rower beat the defence and Yates was in support to grab his second of the game.
The last score of the contest came from Galbraith, as he raced onto a grubber from Yates to collect a brace of his own.
A late yellow card for Dale Bloomfield brought a sour end end to the game, as Rochdale cruised to a comfortable 60-6 victory.
Will Forsyth, Harrison Brough, Brad Adams, Dom Bryan, Donald Kudangirana, Ollie Toms, Brad Delaney, James Shaw, Dylan Reaman, Aaron Hall, B J Swindells, Marcus Stock, Kyal Greene Subs: Andy Joy, Dave O’Conner, Malahki Lloyd-Jones, Mike Stewart
Tries: Bryan (16)
Goals: Swindells 1/1
Chris Riley, Dale Bloomfield, Dave Cookson, Lewis Galbraith, Corey Lee, Paul Crook, Danny Yates, Jo Taira, Ben Moores, Warren Thompson, Jono Smith, Jordan Case, James Tilley Subs: Ryan Maneely, Samir Tahraoui, Matty Hadden, Josh Crowley
Tries: Yates (7, 69), Lee (10, 40, 63), Smith (19), Tilley (24), Case (41), Maneely (45), Galbraith (48, 75)
Goals: Crook 8/11
Referee: Jamie Bloem