With three consecutive wins Eccles had the feel of a team on a roll as they took on visitors from Heaton Moor. Selection had raised a few eyebrows with the sudden appearance of the odd player, but thankfully the odd player bailed out the questionable decisions to have a rather good game.
From the off Eccles were on the offensive and an early try was soon on the board following a regulation catch and drive from a 5m line out resulting in Mark Greenhalgh squeezing over.
Heaton Moor came back strong and were denied a try which even I and the odd honest player, yes we have a few, thought was good. Following this let off Eccles started to take control but could not extend their lead until 5 minutes from the break and after numerous attempts by the forwards to bulldoze their way over the line someone had the brainwave of letting the backs have a go. This resulted in Adam Wilkinson seizing on the opportunity and weaving his way over under the posts. The conversion was made good by Lee Robson.
As seems to be the way with Eccles they then decided it was halftime far too early and good pressure by the visitors was rewarded with a penalty which they took to make the halftime score 12 – 3 to Eccles.
During the halftime chit chat someone had clearly taken an electrical extension lead out to the huddle of Eccles players to allow the Hairdryer Treatment to be dispensed. As from the restart Eccles were on the up taking the game to the visitors. The simple result of which was a try by Lee Robson breaking through the visitors’ ¾ line who had collectively decided to do an impression of a box of Roses. For those who are not on my wavelength I am referring to soft centres. (I’ve been waiting years to write that line).
Enjoying the dominance, Eccles started to display they were starting to understand the meaning of simple rugby and with the ball won by the forwards it was moved quickly to the wing for Adam Wilkinson to score in the corner. Lee Robson again kicked the extras. We then had the visiting standoff gave the impression he had decided to join the box of Roses as he appeared to watch Lee Robson walk past him to score an easy try which he also converted.
At this point Heaton Moor realised they had better make an effort, which they did in style. Taking the game to Eccles they put the home side under sufficient pressure for the Eccles hooker to be given a yellow card and then seizing on the numerical advantage were unlucky again with a disallowed try, the referee judging the ball to be held up. However from the resulting scrum they were able to drive over from 5 metres to score a deserved try.
Playing with one man less Eccles then showed how to treat such adversity by taking the game to the visitors again and gratefully accepting the loose ball they counter-attacked with speed in the backs. Using the hands they moved the ball wide and even a weak pass to the winger was insufficient to halt the progress as Will Parkinson recovered the loose ball and broke through the odd tackle and then turned it back inside to the supporting players and presented Simon Donovan with an easy touchdown. (That name check is just to keep Steve Cartwright happy). The conversion this time was made good by Tom Dutton. From the restart Eccles returned to the visitors half by doing more of the same and after a series of simple passes between players saw the ball move to one wing and then across to the other for Adam Wilkinson to score his third try of the day. Tom Dutton again kicked the conversion.
This made it a final score of 45 – 8 to Eccles and secured their second place in the league. A good team performance again and with the seconds and thirds winning well and a fourth team playing for the first time for a few seasons things are looking up at Eccles. Competition for places is strong in both first and second teams so commitment to training and the cause is a must for all.