Rossendale.....37 Wirral........... 32

THIS was a typical end-of-season game with open rugby on a hard pitch, both teams having nothing to play for except pride.

Wirral, with their play-off promotion game next Saturday, took the opportunity to rest many regular first-team players and gave opportunities to other members of the squad and debuts to a few young players.

Playing against the slope and breeze, it was Rossendale who took the lead through George Peel with a sweeping move along the backs after five minutes.

Wirral soon hit back with a quickly-taken penalty.

Keith Mahon ploughed through would-be tacklers to score and with Sam Broadbent’s conversion it made it 7-5.

The lead was shortlived when on 15 minutes, the Rossendale centre Samivilla Atiola skated through the defence to score with Stephen Nutt converting, his only success of the afternoon.

At times Wirral had the territorial advantage but could not contain the slick handling of the opposition backs.

Dale put together an 80-metre move: good inter-passing led to Robert Faxen scoring in the corner.

Wirral came back with two well-taken penalties by Sam Broadbent, and these were interspersed with George Peel scoring his second try from a blindside move following a scrum close to the Wirral line.

The home side took a 22-13 advantage into half time.

Playing with the slope in the second half, Wirral were looking for an early score but seven minutes in, Dale added two more tries through Thomas Allen and Atiola to extend their lead to 32-13.

Wirral continued to probe the Rossendale defence and built the phases to promising positions only for the final pass to go aground.

The next score was on 73rd minutes when Wirral’s Mark Williams caught his own chip for a fine individual try.

Within the next four minutes, Wirral scored two more tries through wing-forward Tom Parry and loose-head prop Matt Brown, both converted by Mark Williams to level the scores at 32 each.

With the final play of the game a speculative grubber kick by Rossendale gave George Peel the opportunity to beat the Wirral winger to touch down for his hat-trick try.