Rochdale faced off on Saturday against Northern Hockey Club, one of Rochdale’s closest competitors of the season thus far and they would present a much different challenge to previous teams.
Rochdale had a very clear plan in mind before the game as the only way they would be able to take control would be to play to their own strengths and work as a team with everyone pulling together with clear and effective communication. This was exactly how Rochdale started and were able to load the oppositions half effectively. Rochdale, playing with a high intensity with in the first 10 minutes took control of the game but were not able to make any breaks in the scoreline.
However, Rochdale with the tenacity that they have showed all season worked hard to get the ball back every time they had lost it and as a result of the hard work they were bound to reap the rewards. With a swift counter and sharp strike Kieran Hunter gave Rochdale a well deserved lead.
Northern were not going to sit back and take going a goal down on the chin and fired back with a very strong attack. This was something that was to be expected from such a strong team but Rochdale were fervent in their defence with brilliant showings by Brian Robinson in goal, managing to smother out shot after shot and Dave Marlow being the keystone in defence. This allowed Rochdale to keep the lead going into the half time and with lots of positives to be taken.
Not long after the whistle had blown Rochdale were back on the attack but a very good counter from Northern led to a penalty corner which they were successfully able to score from. Within a couple of minutes, some skilful ball movements from Rochdale’s Bjorne Brauns, enabled him to release the ball into the path of Aaron Hunter who managed to regain the Rochdale lead and prevent the momentum Northern had hoped for.
By now Rochdale were in control of the game, breaking down and delaying Northern’s attacking play, allowing the Rochdale players to maintain control. From this they were able to manufacture a couple of penalty corners of their own and with a well worked routine, Dean Close managed to score a final goal to put Rochdale firmly in control and eventually go on to win the game.
Captain Dean Close ” The team as a whole really showed what they were capable of this week and every player worked for each other. It was truly a proud moment to be captain of such a great and diverse group of players.”
The Flying Horse Man of the match was impossible to choose this week and as a result the whole team were nominated.