The battle to regain status in NW1 took place at the weekend on a beautiful afternoon.
Bolton kicked off with the wind slightly in their favour immediately bringing Joe Dale onto the ball which was a recurring event throughout the match. Eccles kept the ball well on half way however slight confusion between the forwards led to a Bolton penalty. They pointed to the posts which was almost 50 metres away; a good kick from Bolton’s 15 took them into the lead.
Eccles scored their first try with good build up play and multiple phases which resulted in Freddie Oakey going over the white wash to the right of the sticks. Joe Davies took over the kicking duties however missed to the left but the lead was now with Eccles. The second try came soon after and Freddie once again crashing over and the conversion was good this time. 12-3
The resulting restart saw Joe Dale leap liked a salmon to catch the ball then was taken in the air by the onrushing Bolton player; it was an unquestionable yellow which the ref showed. With Eccles one man to the good they started breaking Bolton’s defensive line was again breached with Glen Cahill’s quick ball transfer to hand off 2 Bolton players to his left and right, well done Glen, finally showing you have some skills.
Eccles reached the 5 metre line which then saw Mark Greenhalgh crash over. The conversion was successful giving Eccles a 19-3 lead. With Bolton needing to make an impact they made a couple of breaks out wide but Eccles last ditch defending kept them out perfectly illustrated by an outstanding tackle by George Oakey. Eccles secured the bonus point with Freddie going over for his Hat-trick. The conversation was missed 24-3. Bolton came back at Eccles as the on looking crowd was getting frustrated. Attacking in the Eccles twenty two, Bolton were building pressure. Conner Thornley couldn’t resist a player stepping inside and held an arm out at a dubious height, he received a yellow with 5 minutes of the half left. Bolton chose to go for the try, which they was rewarded with after a scrappy line out and the scrum half went over and this brought the end to an eventful first half 24-10.
With Eccles having the wind in their favour didn’t use it to the crowd’s amazement. Bolton kept building pressure from silly Eccles mistakes. They scored their second try and building some hope; could this of been a game of 2 halves that’s what the crowd was worried about. They missed the conversion to make it 24-15. Nick Spooner was given a yellow and the game entered a frustrating period littered with penalties.
Finally Eccles won a penalty in their twenty two and decided to kick for touch and gain valuable meters. From the resulting line out Eccles made ground and won a penalty on Bolton’s 22, George took this one as Joe was off injured. It was a scrappy kick but it sneaked over the bar increasing the lead.
Eccles will be grateful of the five points, leapfrogging their near neighbours and now having the run in totally in their own hands. With players returning from injury and the development of the young backs, the season looks back on track. Final score 27-15
Match report by Sean Griffin