Greg McNally bagged a hat-trick for high-flying Rochdale as they were too good in attack and defence for a spirited Cornwall outfit, writes Gareth Davies.
In atrocious conditions at the Memorial Ground, Zac Baker also scored twice for Matt Calland’s side who kept up their fine run of early season form.
Despite both McNally and Baker scoring over half of Rochdale’s nine tries, it was the visitors’ enigmatic stand-off Rangi Chase who had the crowd of 903 on their feet at regular intervals with a mesmeric display.
The former Man of Steel and England international was instrumental in all of Rochdale’s good work going forward with one reverse grubber-kick in the first half, which led to a McNally try, on a different stratosphere.
For all their improved efforts in wide areas defensively, this was Cornwall’s poorest return so far this term in an attacking sense with the Choughs failing to breach the Hornets’ rearguard.
Decimated by injuries in the build up to the game, home coach Neil Kelly named all four of his recent loan captures from Leeds Rhinos in Cornwall’s starting side.
Joining Mackenzie Turner, Joe Hird, Oli Field and Joe Gibbons was another temporary Cornwall recruit as Batley’s Louis Collison took his place on the interchange bench.
With rain falling steadily from an hour before the scheduled start, both teams were guilty of early handling errors with Rochdale presenting Cornwall with a glorious early opportunity by kicking out on the full from the kick-off.
Sadly for the Choughs, they could not capitalise and in Rochdale’s first foray forward, Chase found Baker who crashed over from short range. Lewis Sheridan missed the extras, but Rochdale were up and running.
It was a carbon-copy for Matt Calland’s men some 10 minutes later with Ben Forster the grateful recipient this time.
Chase then delivered his party piece for McNally to grab a third and the signs looked ominous for Cornwall when Ben Killan juggled the ball and touched down just shy of the half hour mark.
Rochdale then scored what felt like a decisive fifth try right on half time with Cornwall guilty of pressing the self-destruct button. With a scrum in their own 20, the Choughs decided to kick on the first tackle but the ball was charged down and McNally picked up the scraps to score.
Within the first minute of second 40, Cornwall had their best chance to regsiter. Turner seized on a loose ball to hack through and with the try line nearing, he couldn’t cleanly gather and knocked on.
To compound Cornish woes, Rochdale went straight up the other end and the ball was shipped wide for Cian Tyrer to go in at the corner.
The next 20 minutes were a real arm wrestle with both sides going at it hammer and tongs before Rochdale scored again although Cornwall can feel unlucky to have conceded.
Dan Nixon acrobatics appeared to have been to no avail as he seemed to make a mess of grounding the ball but merry whistle blower Andrew Sweet, after consulting with his touch judge, awarded the try.
As the game entered its final 10 minutes, Rochdale recorded two further tries to hit the 50-point mark as Baker scored his second and fittingly, McNally finished off the afternoon by completing his hat-trick with a flowing move.
Cornwall: Whitton, Trerise, Tora, Johns, Turner, Turton, Purcell, Mullally, Kay, Hird, Gibbons, Hartshorne, Field. Interchange: (all used) Lloyd, Bolger, Collinson, Prisk
Rochdale: McNally, Nixon, Calland, Ashton, Tyrer, Chase, Sheridan, Marriott, Rodden, Killan, Forster, Baker, Bennion. Interchange: (all used) MoiMoi, Penkywicz, Taira, Aspey
Tries: McNally (3), Baker (2), Forster, Killan, Tyrer, Nixon
Goals: Sheridan: 7/9
Referee: Andrew Sweet; Touch judges; Peter Wroe, Kristoff Young; Reserve referee: Phil Johnson
Featured Image: Colin Bradbury / Cornwall Sports Media