The inevitable happened as struggling Rochdale Hornets sustained relegation back to Betfred League 1 in 2019.
The writing was well and truly on the wall as the Hornets have languished around the bottom during their three year tenure in the Championship only to become the whipping boys of this year’s competition, picking up only one win from 27.
Not even the experience of Matt Calland, who was brought in mid-season, could revive their flagging fortunes.
Such a shame as they stunned all in 2016 with their League 1 title win over Toulouse Olympique before making an encouraging start to 2017 in the second division.
But since, it has been a difficult journey, dogged by issues on and off the field, questioning their very own existence at times.
Now the rebuilding job officially begins as we take a look back at where it could have possibly gone better for the Hornets in 2019.
Best result: Rochdale Hornets 20-8 Barrow Raiders
Their only win of the season, what else could it have been?!
A relegation four pointer and even though Barrow Raiders ended up relegated with them, credit to the Hornets for avoiding a whitewash and gaining a home win for their supporters.
Tries from Adam Lawton, Ben Moores and Liam Carberry cancelled out Stargroth Amean’s brace, with Dan Abram slotting over four goals to help seal the win.
A glimmer in what was a forgettable season but nevertheless, perhaps a demonstration of how there’s always good when you are in your darkest hour.
Worst result: Rochdale Hornets 0-82 Bradford Bulls
The only positive out of this result perhaps was that their agony of repeated trouncing’s had officially ceased.
The final round of regular action saw the Bradford Bulls come to town and inflict their heaviest defeat of the season by scoring a staggering 82 points, at the Crown Oil Arena, which added insult to injury.
No discrediting the visitors, Bradford’s season had already ended too after just missing out on the play-offs, and thus, wanted to give their loyal supporters something to cheer to end the season and succeeded in spectacular style.
There was just no stopping them; Dalton Grant scoring a hat-trick of tries, with Joe Keyes scoring two and adding ten goals.
Further tries came from Matthew Storton, Jake Webster, Ethan Ryan, James Green, Ross Oakes, Brandon Pickersgill, Jordan Lilley, Ross Peltier, Connor Farrell and Matty Wildie.
Maybe an unforgivable drubbing sustained by the hosts as they found it impossible to deal with the skilful Bradford side that sent them back to League 1 in horrific style.
Main man: Carl Forster
Starting off as Player Coach, Forster worked overtime to try and ensure Rochdale’s survival and no matter what the result, credit to him for putting in the effort and hard work.
Someone had to do it and Forster was the recipient following his arrival from Cumbrian club Whitehaven after two years. The darkest point of his career maybe but an experience at the very least.
He did manage a handful of tries to statistically show for his efforts and maybe more to come in 2019 as he and the Hornets look to come back stronger than ever before.
Predicted 14th – Finished 14th
Due to their difficulties, it was a rather obvious prediction that has come to light.
It was an insurmountable challenge to overcome, their recruitment was not too encouraging but with the resources available, did anyone expect any different?
Carl Forster attempted to get things going as Player Coach but neither he nor Calland could amend things.