1st XV
Sat 27 Apr 2024
Rossendale RUFC
1st XV
Tries: A Bradshaw, S Lowthion, Z StephensConversions: L AllenPenalties: L Allen (2)


Paul Kilshaw29 Apr - 06:44
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Rossendale bowed out of the Papa Johns Cup at the quarter final stage going down 31-23 away to Regional One Northeast side Heath.

With both sides crossing for three tries apiece it was the boot of Heath outside half Chris Johnson with two conversions and four penalties that made the difference on the back of a very solid set piece by the Yorkshire pack.

In a highly competitive first half it was the home side who opened the scoring with Peter Hampshire driven over from a rolling maul, Johnson adding the conversion.

Rossendale hit back with a try by Albert Bradshaw, collecting a delicately floated pass from Zac Stephens who had entered the at pace from full back.

A set move right down the line created the opportunity for Sam Lowthion to rack up the second and with Lewis Allen slotting the conversion the visitors took a 7-12 lead before a penalty from Johnson closed the half with Rossendale 12-10 ahead.

In the second period two more penalties from Johnson restored the Yorkshire side’s advantage. Penalty from Allen put Rossendale in the lead again but a four penalty from Johnson gave the home the side the edge.

Heath turned up the pressure and from another rolling maul off a line out the home pack bundled Ben Stringer over to open up a six point margin.

Rossendale refused to concede and came storming back into contention with a try from Stephens, the full back seeing an opportunity on the blind side to cut through the Heath defence to make it a one point game at 24-23.

It was now the Lancashire side’s turn to turn up the pressure as they went searching for the win but a poor clearance out of defence was easily fielded by Heath centre Elliot Spears who coasted in in unopposed for a try, the conversion by Johnson sealing the 31-23 win for the home side.

As to the season over all Rossendale who finished second to champions Macclesfield miss out on promotion yet again to the National Leagues.

No doubt looking back they will reflect on missed opportunities. Defeat in the opening weeks of the season away to local rivals Blackburn, a 26-26 draw at home the Macclesfield but the real cruncher was 34-33 defeat away to Stockport which really put pay to their promotion chances.

It was all small margins with no more than a point difference in the two defeats but so often that is what competitive rugby is about and what might have been will now have to wait for another season.

Geoff Lightfoot

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Match date

Sat 27 Apr 2024


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