Rossendale 35 Wirral 17

THIS was a game of two halves as the slope on the Rossendale pitch dictated the play with Wirral playing up the slope in the first half and allowing the home side to build up a 28-0 lead by half time.

The Wirral team was subjected to further withdrawals in the last 24 hours due to illness and were therefore not at full strength for this important match as both sides were in need of points to get away from the wrong end of the table.

For the first 15 minutes, Wirral kept Rossendale pinned back in mid-field as astute kicking and stout defence was not allowing the home side to spin the ball wide.

When they eventually spun the ball wide there was a weakness in the Wirral defence which the Rossendale backs then exploited to the extent of scoring four well-taken tries all of which were converted by Lewis Allen.

Matters were not helped by Wirral receiving two yellow cards in this period.

Playing down the slope in the second half, Wirral played with much more determination and having territorial advantage allowed them to exert pressure on the Rossendale side.

Prop, Chris Hughes started the scoring for Wirral with an interception try from some 20 metres out and this was followed up with a converted try by Tom Parry to reduce the deficit to 28-12.

These scores made Wirral realise that there was an outside chance of collecting some points but it was not until 3 minutes from the end that Wirral scored their third try through Rob Pearl and declined the conversion as they sought a potential try bonus point in the last minute.

Playing expansive rugby as they sought a fourth try, a long pass was intercepted by Rossendale and the winger raced in from 30m to score. With that the referee called time.

Wirral with a full team would I feel have run Rossendale much closer but the depleted away team gave a good account of themselves in the second half.

Next week Wirral are at home to Lymm in what is a must win game and the coach, Steve Verbickas is hopeful that he will have more of his squad available from which to select.