Rochdale Hornets have got their 2021 League One campaign underway with a well-earned 40-16 victory over West Wales Raiders at the Crown Oil Arena.
The Hornets took the lead after four minutes. Gavin Bennion had to barge his way his way over after a repeat set. Sam Freeman scored the conversion to open up a six-point lead.
The visitors got themselves back in it just short of 20 minutes later. Rangi Chase’s kick found its way to Marcus Webb, who went over for the try. The conversion attempt hit the post, meaning they still trailed by two points.
But just five minutes later, the Hornets were able to extend their lead. Sean Penkywicz spotted a gap out of dummy half and went over. Freeman hit the conversion to open up a 10-point lead.
It took Rochdale just four minutes of the second half to increase their lead. Penkywicz was again able to get over from dummy half. Freeman kicked the conversion.
They soon made it back-to-back tries. Callum Marriott broke free before putting Danny Yates over for the try. Freeman continued his perfect conversion record.
Rochdale soon made it three tries in the opening nine minutes of the second half. Penkywicz went from dummy half again to complete his hat-trick. Freeman was off target with the conversion attempt.
West Wales needed to respond, and they did soon after. Morgan Evans managed to find his way over from close range. Will Ramsey scored the conversion attempt to get the Raiders into double figures.
Just before the hour, Penkywicz added a fourth, as his dummy half scoots were proving too much for the West Wales defence to handle. Freeman scored the conversion.
The Hornets added their sixth try with seven minutes to go. Lewis Sheridan took advantage of the ball bouncing off the posts to score. Freeman added the conversion again to get Rochdale up to 40 points.
But the final word would go to West Wales. Michael Connor managed to get over in space to add a bit of respectability to the scoreline. Ramsey scored the conversion.
Both sides return to action next week. Rochdale travel to Doncaster next Sunday, while West Wales host Coventry Bears on Saturday.
Rochdale Hornets: Sam Freeman, Shaun Ainscough, Ben Calland, Jordan Syme, Jack Higginson, Danny Yates, Rob Fairclough, Gavin Bennion, Ben Moores, Adam Hesketh, Josh Jordan-Roberts, Callum Marriott, Zac Baker.
Subs: Fuifui Moimoi, Joe Taira, Sean Penkywicz, Lewis Sheridan.
Head Coach: Matt Calland
West Wales Raiders: Will Ramsey, Michael Holden, Jamie Laing, Marcus Webb, David Evans, Fraser Stroud, Rangi Chase, Tom Morgan, Ashley Bateman, Morgan Evans, Mike Connor, Callum Mulkeen, Joe Burke.
Subs: Dafydd Phillips, Morgan Allen, Ewan Badham, Eparama Boginsoko.
Head Coach: Aaron Wood.