Ashton U Lyne 2nd 26 v Eccles 3rd 32 22/04/2017

The 3rds rounded off the season with last gasp victory away at  sunny Ashton to remain in 4th in the league table.A full squad was a welcome surprise with Josh Kilby being the latest colt to make his senior debut and Jack Walton appearing from the undergrowth plus Danny Rice making his last appearance for while as he going to the Dominican Republic allegedly doing so timeshare business but Haiti is next door so it could be the lure of voodoo or Panama is only cock stride away so might be burying so cash.Eccles looked to be off to a flier as the first attack saw Twiggy go over but it was ruled out for a forward pass but that was put to rights on 10 mins for after a scrum Twiggy sent out a long pass which saw winger Reg Holt race in the corner.Ashton hit back as a succession of penalties forced the Eccles back into their own 22 the bigger home pack create the chance for their prop to crash over (7-5) ,Frustrated by Ashton’s spoiling tactics and perceived refereeing injustices Eccles lapsed in took much backchat with predictable results penned in their half by the home forwards pressure conceding a try on 25 mins after a 10m scrum (14-5).Finally the 2nds got into gear a turnover (30min) saw a break from Sam Thompson who fed Holt who in turn outpaced the cover to touchdown ) with Jack Walton converting  (14-12).From the restart clearance kick Walton made 50m and steal at the line almost led to a try but in the final minute of the half he booted 60m upfield and Tom Wilson (may have been slightly offside) raced after it to touchdown before it went dead (14-17).The second half started badly a mixture of misfortune and laxness a Ashton kick was fielded and driven forward but stopped by an offside tackler and dislodged caught by a maturely aged home foward who saw a gap on the wing and ran 50m !!! to score. (19-17) .Eccles then took the initiative using their faster backs to negate the home forward tactics and Walton and Wilson had long breaks  which where stopped metres short before a quick tap saw Lee Murphy breach the home defences to score (50mins 19-22) .Minutes later a high kick and chase saw him narrowly fail to add another as the ball went dead,but two tries should have followed as firstly Craig Wells and then Murphy had chances ruled out as forward passes harshly in the view you of the all seeing eye  .The momentum stalled on 65mins as flanker John (I don’t believe it)  Brookes  saw red and got a yellow card it had been brewing the home side using the dark arts to wind him up and as with mackerel the bait was taken.Eccles tried to stifle their opponents and seemed to got the job done as Walton lobbed over a long range penalty (72mins 19-25) but with minutes to go forward pressure close to the Eccles line saw the home prop force his way over and the resultant conversion put Ashton in front 26-25 ,On the restart Ashton attempted to run the ball out but were penalised for a forward pass (the boot on the other foot !! but again disagreed with this decision) From the ensuing scrum the ball went wide with Murphy who handed to Wells who slipped through tacklers and scored under the posts and Walton added the extras(26-32) whereupon to much  relief blew full time.A deserved result for the attacking play was exciting and the defence excellent on the whole though nearly went astray through too much chit chat.A number of players could have claimed man of the match (they were queuing up in the clubhouse to state their cases and how many column inches they deserve ) but in the end Reg Holt in first season of playing union got the nod.Fear not you “forgotten” souls still mulling over an end of term report so there is still time bask in the spotlight – watch this space .