Birkenhead Park ... 27 Rochdale ... 30

BIRKENHEAD Park suffered a third successive reverse against a Rochdale side battling hard against relegation.

Park built up a 15-point lead in the first half hour as they looked to return to winning ways in their quest to gain the play off position in North One West.

Number eight Laurence Thomas scored the first try of the game fol- lowing a line out catch and drive Dave Hall converted and then added a penalty.

Excellent handling put winger Sam Tyrer clear for a second Park try from long range as Park began to play to their potential.

On the stroke of half-time Rochdale gave themselves hope when they recycled a cross kick and flanker Hartley scored in the corner.

Rochdale upped their game in the second half and winger West crossed with Coldman’s conversion closing the gap to just three points.

Rochdale began to move the ball at every opportunity and they took the lead when centre Schofield scored the try which put the visitors into the lead on 55 minutes.

Park realised they had a battle on their hands and hooker Stu Brown recaptured the lead with a try from a lineout converted by Hall.

Rochdale immediately went on the attack and prop Callaghan drove over the line with Coldman’s conversion putting them two points ahead.

Coldman then kicked a penalty but Park rallied and a lively pas- sage of play saw fly half Simon Mason break through as Park looked to have saved the day with just a few minutes left.

However, the drama continued and with the last kick of the game.

Coldman kicked a penalty from near the touchline to take the spoils for a jubilant Rochdale side.

This was a further set back for promotion chasing Park.

The club’s director of Rugby Martin O'Keefe said: "We continued our indifferent form and Rochdale appeared to want the victory more than we did.

"We played some good rugby at times but we need to get our consistency back if we are to be serious contenders for the play off."

Park had the consolation of two bonus points and will hope for better fortunes at Warrington this Saturday.