Eccles Ladies have faced Camp Hill many times in the past few years, this in fact would make it the 9th fixture against them. All but one of these fixtures had ended with very convincing wins from Camp Hill. Last season Eccles managed a home win against them but Eccles were determined to prove that win had not been a one off fluke. It was with this in mind that Eccles made the journey south; to the pitch that had been the scene of many difficult losses.
Within minutes of the opening whistle Eccles put the pressure on, pressing strongly in defence and securing a turn over. It then took some clean hands to get the ball to Igz Ekoku and she finished off down the wing in great style; a great start. Soon after Mhairi Grieve found herself in space on the wing and danced her way (or was it a highland jig?) to the second try. Eccles were settling into their form and more tries followed from Rowanne Smalley (in normal gazelle fashion), Igz Ekoku and Nina Martyn who also scored a fantastic forward charge over the line.
However, Camp Hill pressed on and capitalised on some silly Eccles penalties. The Camp Hill scrum was particularly strong and they used their forward strength to press down the field and get their first try of the game.
After half time Eccles had their heads and hearts set on more tries. Some particularly good team play and slick hands from the backs saw Igz over the line again. Claire Knapp also scored after she managed to open up a gap in the middle of the field. The forwards also got a chance to show that passing is not just backs work when they strung together a number of passes (including an audacious backward flick pass from Mikayla Hale) and it was second row Bambi Mullen that ran around the edge of the defence to score in the corner.
Yet Camp Hill were definitely not finished and they came back fighting putting a huge amount of pressure on the Eccles’ defence within the 22. They had some very strong ball carriers and managed to charge over the line to get their second try. The pressure kept coming: Camp Hill got us back in the same corner and Eccles conceded a number of penalties. What followed was a particularly bizarre period of play that saw Eccles receive two yellow cards, get on the receiving end of some punches and concede another try. However, that is not to take anything from Camp Hill who were particularly strong in the closing minutes; a special credit goes to their kicker who kicked flawlessly through the game.
At the final whistle the score read Camp Hill 22 Eccles 60. Eccles were understandably very chuffed with the result, especially as it felt like an amalgamation of years of hard work. Forward of the match was Bambi Mullen for her continual line speed and attacking lines. Back of the match was Igz Ekoku who racked up 5 tries and executed all of them in fine fashion, mixing speed, footwork and strength.