After spending the whole of November on the road, as far as league games were concerned, Eccles were glad of a home fixture against Littleborough. After last week’s travelling problems I didn’t expect to be held up for 40 minutes by the local Road Contractors. It’s all Salford Councils fault I was late, and Peel Holdings. Any way hopes were high due to a good away win in the reverse fixture. We even decided to start the game with Sam (Bart/Homer take your pick) Simpson and “rest” Greg (mummy’s boy) Wilson.
Eccles started the game thinking it was already won and set too demonstrating how to spend 30 minutes going nowhere other than up and down the pitch without anything to show for it. Even 2 missed penalty attempts by Littleborough failed to galvanise any real concerted effort from the home side. This was all epitomised by the number of handling errors by far too many of the boys in Blue.
At the half hour stage Old Ted must have gone inside to flick a switch as things started to be put together as we know they can. With the first period of pressure on the visitor’s try line the ball was driven over from a maul, or did he just fall, by Sam Simpson. The try was converted by a returning Danny Holland.
Eccles kept the pressure on Littleborough and were soon looking to extend their lead. One too many offences by the visitors resulted in a yellow card and a penalty by Danny Holland. All thought it was half time but the referee decided to revert to the Julian Calendar and give us some Fergie Time. This was worth it if only to see # get his first pass to hand in four weeks. (yes, I’ve been counting).
With the half time score at 10 – 0 and Littleborough paying the cost of only travelling with one replacement, they were down to 13 men for the first 10 minutes of the second half, due to the sin bin and a couple of injuries. During this period however Eccles showed true sportsmanship and refused to take advantage of their superior numbers. With total disregard of possible spaces out wide the mantra seemed to be one of drive it up the middle. To a man, well 13 of them, Littleborough held out and even had the chance of another penalty attempt which again failed.
As normally happens with such things once the visitors were able to bring back the sinner from the naughty step and having almost equal numbers Eccles were at last able to take the upper hand. With an overlap once again wasted the ball was thankfully recycled by the unused players and then quickly returned to the other wing for Tom Dutton to score his first of two for the day. Danny Holland converted.
From the restart Eccles were quickly on the offensive again. Danny Holland decided that the only way to get some width in the play was to ignore the players around him and go for a cross kick which gave Will # Parkinson the opportunity to practise some footy skills before picking up and with the ball being recycled quickly Tom Chapman was able to run in almost unopposed. Danny Holland converted.
An almost identical move from the restart again saw Will # Parkinson again gather a Danny Holland cross kick and with the ball again being recycled quickly, another cross kick to the opposite wing gave Andy (Mad Dog) Maddox the opportunity to pounce on the loose ball and score the bonus point try.
With a comfortable 29 points to nil lead Eccles chose to not only take the foot off the gas but go home and put them up in front of a nice warm fire. This allowed the visitors to comeback and score a converted try. Not bad considering they were still playing with one less. The game then degenerated into a period of play which would have impressed Max Sennett. With hap hazard play from both sides Tom Dutton decided to bag his brace and run in an easy try. Danny Holland converted.
At this point, our self-appointed intellectual and all round good looking hence, or so he thinks, had a guilt trip about Eccles having the extra man and asked the referee if he could see the contents of his back pocket. The official duly obliged and thankfully only showed him the yellow one. With the game running out of time and the light failing quicker than a Glen Cahill Ofsted Inspection, Littleborough drove over for another converted try.
Final score 36 – 12 and the bonus point to boot. Good to get back on winning ways and prepare for next week’s away game at Tarleton.
After the game a few beers were had, during which I learnt about Old Dutty’s cerebral problem. Apparently it has only just been found out that he has 25% of his brain missing, no lie, this was straight from the horse’s mouth. This explains so much, I’m just wondering if it’s congenital. We’ll have to send Young Dutty off to the quack, asap.
The night continued with a male bonding train trip to Stalyvegas with much singing, mirth and laughter. The two highlights were Glen trying to teach Tom Coe the words of the most basic of Christmas carols, and failing, and then Glen & Vinny being thrown out of a geriatric folk club. Priceless.