Someone once said “a week is a long time in politics” however in Rugby it could be said that “it’s not long enough”. After last week’s away win in the reverse fixture Eccles were looking at all options to overcome the cost of the physical encounter and replace missing players and Blackburn were desperate to justify the expense of putting a team together.
Blackburn started with intent taking the game to Eccles with forceful play moving the ball wide and keeping Eccles firmly on the back foot. With Eccles stuck in their own third of the pitch it appeared they had chosen a game plan which was beyond suicidal. This resulted in an interception on the Eccles 22, allowing Blackburn to score an easy try and conversion. Eccles dug in but could not make any headway against the committed Blackburn defence and the same suicidal tendencies. This meant they were soon 10 points down after a Blackburn penalty.
The injury count against Blackburn then increased as Andy Frost, who had to come off with a broken hand, was replaced with Greg Wilson. At the same time Joe Dale had to receive attention to a blood injury to the head.
Trying their best to get into the game Eccles were unlucky with a long range penalty kick just falling short, however their cause was not helped when with 5 minutes to go till the break they then had a player sin binned for reckless use of the boot. You could say it was ironic considering the previous injuries sustained. The visitors then seized onto the numerical advantage and on the stroke of half time scored another converted try.
Half time Eccles 0 – Blackburn 17.
Starting the second half still with a man down Eccles were unable to withstand the Blackburn pressure and prevent the visitors score another converted try.
It had been notable that with all three Blackburn conversions, the attempted charge downs had only just failed to get to the ball. Even Glen took part in one. This commitment showed the lads had not given up and were fighting for every scrap they could get.
With parity in numbers restored Eccles slowly started to mount a series of attacking waves which gave belief and heart to all. With the pressure mounting on the visitors for once, they soon started to show signs of cracking with a player of their own being sin binned and Eccles taking full advantage with a push over try converted by Danny Holland.
The game then stared to heat up as Eccles lifted themselves and went looking for more. Mind you considering on how low they had started, it wasn’t difficult to gain some form of upward movement. Then from an attacking line out a driving maul was set up, with even a winger joining in to help the cause, the ball appeared to be held up short before Greg Wilson broke blind to crash over. The Dutchman converted from out wide to reduce the deficit to 10 points.
With all the pressure on the visitors they once again showed signs of cracking as the same player who had previously been binned was again shown a yellow card, resulting this time in a red. With the clock quickly ticking away the visitors then had another player sin binned to give Eccles a significant advantage, alas time was against then as all they could manage was a penalty kick by the Dutchman on the stroke of full time.
Full time score Eccles 17 – Blackburn 24.
A disappointing defeat but a bonus point gained and the lads still in second position in the league. All to play for in next week’s top of the table clash with local rivals Bolton.