After finishing 2015 with an impressive win away to Wilmslow, Eccles were looking to start 2016 in similar fashion at home against a Blackburn side who are snapping at their heels.
Playing with the wind, Eccles started well, making the most of the conditions and dominating the territory and possession statistics and although there were breaks through the middle from Sam Simpson and James Wright amongst others, the final pass was lacking and Eccles found it tough to press home their advantage.
Even while being forced to play from deep, Blackburn showed some of the threat which saw them edge the reverse fixture earlier in the season, with some strong back row carries through the middle and the backline managing to get the ball into the wingers’ hands on several occasions, despite the conditions.
With fifteen minutes left in the first half, Eccles managed to convert the pressure into points, finally spotting the overlap out wide and swiftly moving the ball down the line to score in the corner. The kick was unsuccessful from a difficult angle and Eccles maintained their slender 5-0 into the break.
After the break, Blackburn managed to gain more of a foothold in terms of territory and starting asking more questions of the Eccles defense. This pressure eventually told, with a penalty kick bringing things to within 2 points.
Eccles continued to look to send the ball wide, with hooker Thames Cow popping up in the backline on several occasions, defying the damp conditions and allowing short-sighted, part-time dubstep star Tom Dutton to charge into the opposition half. From one of these breaks, Jordan Bromley expressed himself from short range and managed to touch down in the corner, extending Eccles’ lead to 10-3.
Despite a late Blackburn penalty, Eccles held on and were good value for the win and further aided Eccles’ push up the table. With games against mid table rivals Vale of Lune and Rochdale to come, Eccles will be looking to continue this run of form and rise further up the table.