It was derby day for Rochdale this weekend, playing a home match against Oldham, with a three sub strong team and their opponents one player short. The only thing that didn’t look to be in their favour was the rain.

However things didn’t look so simple on the pitch. Whilst Rochdale were able to keep pushing high and retain most of the play in Oldham’s defence, unnecessary and sloppy passes combined with Oldham’s heavily defensive set up meant that they were unable to create many chances on goal and Oldham’s attackers were able to sporadically break through to worry Rochdale’s defence.

Rochdale were able to make good use of their subs to keep their players raring and eager to go, with Jenny Banks getting the first goal of the match as midfield and attack rotated their positions well for the substitution and opened up the opportunity. With both Gemma Hodcroft and Dionne Collinson working well out of their normal positions.

The first half ended on a short corner, enabling all of Rochdale to push up to keep the play going, but was ultimately well defended by Oldham.

The second half saw an improvement in play from Rochdale – a firm word from captain Roisin Pickering reminding everyone to think their passes through had done the trick – as Rochdale stopped making things hard for themselves.

Some excellent work from the midfield opened the pitch to create an opportunity for Jenny Banks to drive the ball up and take her chance early to bag herself a second goal. This was made easier by the support from the defence Nicky Moghan, Hannah Palmer, Gill Owen, Kate Brammer and Becki Moon. By now Rochdale seemed to have found their flow again, and their play had improved dramatically from the start of the match.

A token green card briefly reduced Rochdale to ten players, but they were able to keep their heads to prevent Oldham from taking advantage. And a tackle by Paula MacDonald gave Rochdale’s entire team flashbacks to a previous match when a ball rolled up her stick. Thankfully no one was injured this time.

Final score was 2-0 to Rochdale, with Jenny Banks getting both.

The player of the match and umpires player of the match was Sarah Ransome for tireless play and determination.

Captain Pickering: “Well come to all the ladies today. We look forward to playing Oldham as it’s always a brilliant game and once again, Rochdale came out on top”

Rochdale Ladies Hockey Club would also like to give a special thank-you to Harriet W for all her help retrieving the hockey bag in the rain after an unfortunate post-match incident. It was such a lovely gesture and we’re all incredibly grateful.

Rochdale Ladies Hockey Club would also like to give a great big congratulations to player Becky Knowles and partner Josh Ashton as they welcomed their son Oliver into the world on Saturday. We wish them all the best and couldn’t be happier for them.