Rochdale Mayfield Book Place In Challenge Cup Round Two After Enthralling Win

The home side dealt with a brave fight from Wigan St Pats to win 36-22, live on The Sportsman
16:10, 15 Jan 2022

Rochdale Mayfield booked their place in Round Two of the Betfred Challenge Cup with an enthralling 36-22 win over Wigan St Patricks, shown live on The Sportsman. The home side, currently in the division above their opponents, survived a brave fightback from Andy Gregory’s side to win the match but they were made to work after scoring three tries in seven minutes early on. 

Two fired up defences traded blows early doors as some big challenges came in and it was St Pats that had the best bit of play in the opening period as they broke through with some short passing play but were denied after a misplaced kick. Mayfield then turned the tables as magic man Declan Sheridan sold David McGoldrick a feint from a ruck and skipped over the line to give the hosts an early 6-0 lead, after Zach Hartley added the extras. 

Ieuan Higgs spun through a flustered St Pats defence after some more quick thinking from Sheridan, who shifted the ball out to him and allowed the big man to finish as Rochdale Mayfield had put themselves in full control and had a 12-0 lead after 15 minutes. 

Moments later, some unbelievable play from Higgs set up Hartley to cross and in a matter of moments Rochdale had torn apart their opponents. However, just as it looked as if this game was all but over after the first quarter, Jonathon Brown went over from close range, powering his way through four defenders to reduce the deficit to 18-6. 

Then as momentum shifted, Jack Williams Sproat was released on the right wing and crossed in space before Taylor Hyland converted from the touchline. From nowhere, the visitors had pinned Rochdale back to 18-12. 

Mayfield’s number seven, Cole Connolly was shown a yellow card for a professional foul and the match sparked up again moments later. Despite going a man down, Higgs crossed again to extend the home team’s lead, as they played down the slope in the first half and used it to their advantage to go in at the break 24-12 up.

The first 20 minutes of the second half were hard-fought but delivered no score for either side and then on the hour mark, Rochdale delivered a crushing blow. Liam Whalley found some space on the right hand side after the ball was pushed wide and found the gap that extended Mayfield’s lead to 16 as the conversion was missed.

Conor Taylor then broke through for St Pats and shifted the ball to Taylor Hyland who crossed in the corner and made it 28-18. For all the ups and downs in this game, it was a close fought and entertaining contest throughout. Taylor, who had been influential was disappointingly injured with ten to go and forced to leave the pitch, but his side kept on fighting. 

With seven minutes to go they forced it out to the touchline where Williams Sproat managed to leap over a challenge and just get the ball down in the corner to make the score 28-22. We had a grandstand finish to enjoy but Mayfield bagged a penalty which Connolly converted to give them a slight bit of breathing space, before Reece Hamlet crossed to make it 36-22 and end a brave St Pats fight. 

They will take on Upton or West Hull in Round Two but this was a thrilling first encounter of 2022 on The Sportsman, and we hope you can join us for more live action, on our rugby league YouTube channel.

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