With everyone looking forward to the Christmas Carols, Eccles took on a visiting Heaton Moor in the Lancashire Trophy quarter final. The visitors demonstrated they fully understood the meaning of Christmas by giving Eccles the opportunity to run up (or should I say run in) a 20 point lead in as many minutes. The points were made up in chronological order with a Danny Holland penalty, a try apiece by Tom Dutton and Luke Cullen both of which were converted by Danny Holland and then another penalty by the Dutchman.
Everything looked as if it was going to be a cricket score at this stage of the game. However with the festive spirit oozing out of the clubhouse, the smell of mulled wine was on the breeze, Eccles showed true charity by spending the next 40 minutes trying their best to allow Heaton Moor back into the game. This was amply demonstrated by the number of penalties being given away by the home side and their inability to compensate for the sun which was making the fielding of any kicks difficult. The referee eventually had enough of the penalty count and gave an Eccles forward a yellow card. Apparently this was for stroppiness on the part of the Eccles player, or did he just want a bit of time off to go and wrap some Hanukkah presents.
Half time came with Eccles sitting on a comfortable lead but with a far too comfortable attitude.
With a few changes in personnel taking place at the interval an immediate impact was made by Sam Higgins running from deep within his own half, he appeared to effortlessly stroll under the posts for a try. Now for some reason the Dutchman chose to take a drop rather than place kick the conversion attempt and duly missed it. I can only assume he was wearing clogs at the time.
The sloppiness on Eccles behalf continued allowing the visitors to get themselves on the board with a converted try. The calamity was compounded for Eccles with their second forward receiving a yellow card, soon after, for too much lippyness. With the home team in disarray Heaton Moor sensed they had something to play for and were rewarded with another try to reduce the Eccles lead to only 13 points.
Sensing that they needed to start playing again Eccles responded well and started exerting pressure on the visitor’s try line. During this period we had the sight of one of the Eccles players, who had been replaced at half time, pleading to be let back on the pitch. However it was noticed it was not in the position from which he had been originally replaced. Thankfully Thorpey is not as daft as I thought he was.
The Eccles response was rewarded with a Connor Thornley try which was converted by Danny Holland, this time from a place kick. With the lead restored to a comfortable figure the foot was again taken off the gas. Now for some reason this team has the habit of doing things the hard way and for some reason the Griffalow chose to make an early/late tackle with Heaton Moor pressing the Eccles line. How he managed to avoid another yellow we all wondered.
The game was eventually closed out with a Nick Spooner try again converted by Danny Holland to give the final score of Eccles 39 – Heaton Moor 12.
A good cup win giving us all the opportunity to look forward to the semi-final draw, however the flow of the game was seriously disrupted by the number of replacements and interchanges used.
The Brass Band and party afterwards was cracking.