After the far too long Xmas break, Eccles travelled to Aldwinians to take part in an important game, pitching 2nd vs 3rd in the league. During pre-match preparations we had what could have been a defining moment in the club’s history with a senior committee member, OK it was Brunty, stating, and I quote, “if we don’t win today I’ll resign”. Discussions were then held by the other members of said committee to decide if they should inform the players of the offer on hand. We also had the return of someone’s surrogate son, all be it out of position.
The first half started as it continued for most of the time with Eccles on top. After a sequence of multiple phases, Eccles were eventually awarded with a penalty kick which Tom Dutton duly knocked over. The home side then had their moment in the sun thanks to a sequence of infringements by the Eccles team. This gave Aldwinians the opportunity to level the scores with a penalty which they took.
Eccles responded well with a concerted period of pressure which resulted in a push over try by the forwards. During this period we also had a number of penalty kick attempts by both sides which all missed the mark. We reached half time whistle with the score at 3 – 8 to Eccles.
At half time we then had words of wisdom, or were they just his opinion, being passed to the coaching staff by Brunty, who was obviously concerned about the rash statement he had previously made.
The second half very quickly became a see saw event with both sides making valiant endeavours into each other’s halves, however both defensive lines held firm. Eccles then eventually extended their lead with a penalty by Ellis O’Neil.
Aldwinians came back as you would expect from a home side and after a period of pressure on the Eccles line and after a few penalty kick attempts they were able to score a try of their own close to the posts. We then had what was on the day a crucial moment, which also as time will tell could be critical to the Eccles campaign. As the regulation conversion attempt was made by the home side Will Parkinson & Ellis O’Neil charged the kick so well the kicker was forced to miss the kick. There was one other who I could not recognise and therefore give credit, for which I apologise.
Eccles tried to close out the game with another penalty attempt which went wide. Aldwinians then came back and spent the rest of the game looking for the all-important score to win the game. In the dying moments of the game Aldwinians were awarded a penalty under the posts, the kicking of which would have tied the game. Instead of taking the easy points the home side went for broke and took a quick tap putting a sustained sequence of pressure on the desperate Eccles defence. Yet no matter what Aldwinians through at the Thin Blue Line the Eccles defence held firm and with the blow of the final whistle victory went to the boys in Blue, with the score standing at 8 – 11.
Now for those who don’t understand the point about the charged conversion. If the easy conversion had been made the points difference would have been only one point. Therefore when the home side were awarded the easier penalty under the posts, simply kicking that penalty would have given the home side the win. It’s on little things like this that whole seasons can be defined.
A good result for Eccles extending their second place lead to six points. The only regret was the lost opportunity to get rid of you know who.