Rugby league: Rochdale Mayfield 30 - 10 Egremont Rangers
Date published: 09 March 2020
Lewis Butterworth scored Mayfield's opening try
Mayfield opened the 2020 campaign in the top division of amateur rugby league with a solid victory over stubborn Cumbrian opponents on Saturday (7 March). Both sides had many changes from last season, but the Rochdale lads out scored their opposites by five tries to two, with some entertaining tries, strong defence and no little effort.
Lewis Butterworth opened the scoring as he sped through the defence on the left and scorched in for a try after just four minutes. Cole Connolly started his blemish free afternoon with the boot, 5 from 5, and converted the try for a 6-0 lead.
The game became a tough attritional one, with no quarter asked, nor given, as the visitors fought hard to regain parity. Mayfield’s back row forwards, starring a rejuvenated Aidy Gleeson and an antipodean partnership of Adam Vahranos and Liam Donnelly, were working hard. The left side of the attack benefitted again on 36 minutes, as Brad Gartland finished off a flowing move to increase the lead to 10-0. Cole Connolly extended it further to 12-0.
With halftime looming, Egremont sensed they needed something soon, and with Mayfield napping after the restart, Egremont crafted an opening immediately to score a converted try for 12-6.
Again Egremont took the restart well, and their centre showed a quick turn of pace to blast through the defence and embark on a 70 metre race to the line. Mayfield scrambled and a magnificent try saving effort from fullback Ieuan Higgs stopped Egremont short. This act was probably the game breaker as Mayfield had weathered the storm to half time and retained their lead.
Half back Chris Hough was imperious after the restart, controlling the game and prompting the attack time and time again, but with just four minutes gone of the second half he showed he was more than just a director and took centre stage to score a fine try, that Connolly again converted. Mayfield never looked back - Nick Hargreaves powered through for a try after 54 minutes and at 24 - 6 Mayfield were well in control. Egremont never gave in though, and got another try, and some hope, on 64 minutes to peg the score back to 24 -10. Mayfield held firm though and Liam Donnelly capped his debut for the club with a try after 76 minutes to seal the opening round win and 2 valuable league points.
Mayfield’s A team game was cancelled after they were let down by Langworthy, but the lads bonded well to support the first team and sponsor the man of the match award that they gave to Aiden Gleeson. He was pushed all the way though by the blossoming halfback partnership of teenager Cole Connolly and 30-something Chris Hough - Hough in particular standing out well.
Coaches Sam Butterworth and Steve Wood were delighted with the win, and whilst acknowledging many tough tests lie ahead, praised the players effort and commitment to Mayfield.
Team; Ieuan Higgs. John Foy, Jack McConachie, Lewis Butterworth, Brad Gartland. Chris Hough, Cole Connolly. Shaun Hurley, Harry MacDonald, Sean Mulcahy, Liam Donnelly, Adam Vahranos, Aidan Gleeson. Lewis Ainley, Andy Taylor, Nick Hargreaves, Robert Kershaw.
Pictures courtesy of Ian and Brennen Neild.
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