RUGBY LEAGUE - Midlands Hurricanes beaten by Rochdale in Portway thriller - The Redditch Standard
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16th Aug, 2022

RUGBY LEAGUE - Midlands Hurricanes beaten by Rochdale in Portway thriller

MIDLANDS Hurricanes began life without founder Alan Robinson with an agonising 42-34 defeat to Rochdale Hornets despite running in six tries.

Robinson departed the club last week after selling his shares to joint owner Mike Lomas as the Hurricanes were made to pay for conceding four early tries despite mounting a thrilling comeback at Portway.

The defeat means Hurricanes sit eighth in the Betfred League One table, having won just one of their last seven matches.

Hornets edged victory with two tries apiece from Lewis Sheridan and Wigan loanee Ben O’Keefe, plus scores from Robert Worrincy, Gregg McNally, Zac Baker, and Huddersfield loanee Kieran Rush.

Midlands saw Castleford loans Alex Sutcliffe and George Collins both score, along with Tyler Walton, Phil Cowburn, Hayden Freeman, and Kieron Lawton, while there were disallowed scores from Freeman, twice, and Nathan Newbound.

Rochdale broke the deadlock on three minutes when Worrincy scored in the corner before Sheridan crashed over just four minutes later.

And McNally was next to cross for Rochdale on 10 minutes as he coasted in from halfway before the Hornets struck again on the first set after the restart through Baker.

Hurricanes finally sparked into life on 19 minutes when Sutcliffe powered over after the ball was worked neatly through the hands.

And after Freeman was denied a score due to a forward pass in the build up, Rochdale rubbed salt in the wounds when O’Keefe scored the visitors fifth try of the game on 26 minutes.

However, Hurricanes regrouped before the half was out as Walton touched down on 31 minutes from Matty Welham’s clever kick and chase.

The Midlands side were denied a try right on the half-time hooter when Newbound crashed over only for the referee to award Rochdale a penalty to leave Hurricanes 28-10 behind at the break.

And the home side were much-improved after half time as they struck first in the second period when Cowburn benefitted from AJ Boardman’s delightful offload to score on 49 minutes.

Hurricanes further reduced the deficit on 54 minutes when Freeman sprinted 60-metres to score after collecting the ball inside his own half and leaving his marker on the ground with a huge hand off.

The wing was adamant he had added his second try moments later when he appeared to dot down Stead’s kick before it crossed the dead ball line only for the effort to be chalked off.

However, Rochdale stifled the comeback with two tries in quick succession as Sheridan and O’Keefe moved onto two tries apiece.

Hurricanes repeated the trick in the closing stages with both Collins and Lawton showing great footwork to score and set up a grandstand finish.

The game was finally put to bed shortly before the final whistle as O’Keefe crossed to complete his hat-trick and condemn the Hurricanes to defeat.

Hurricanes are next in action at home to North Wales Crusaders on Saturday, July 9 with kick-off at 5.30pm at Portway.

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