Eccles hand Hawcoat Park late victory

Eccles 1XV  21 – 22 Hawcoat Park 1XV 

Saturday 24th February 2018


  • 02 mins 3-0 PENALTY Eccles (Swain).
  • 12 mins 3-7 TRY Hawcoat Park; converted
  • 14 mins 6-7 PENALTY Eccles (Swain).
  • 40 mins 6-10 PENALTY Hawcoat Park.
  • HT 6–10
  • 49 mins 11-10 TRY Eccles (Spooner); unconverted.
  • 55 mins 16-10 TRY Eccles (Fortune); unconverted.
  • 60 mins 21-10 TRY Eccles (Fortune); unconverted.
  • 73 mins 21-15 TRY Hawcoat Park; unconverted.
  • 83 mins 21-22 TRY Hawcoat Park; converted.
  • FT 21–22


An engaging match with plenty of attacking action from both teams, where Eccles competed but ultimately capitulated, failing to hold onto a lead and losing to a ‘last play’ try.

Eccles began brightly in the winter sun and went ahead within 2 minutes when Matt Swain slotted home a 35-metre penalty; 3-0. The opening exchanges established an evenly balanced contest with both opponents testing each other’s resolve. At 12 minutes, with Eccles in an advanced position, a missed tackle allowed the Hawcoat Park Lock to break clean through the centre of the line and charge 30 or more metres unopposed, before timing his pass to a supporting forward who in turn fed the winger, who applied the gas to finish and claim the opening try for the visitors; converted 3-7.  Eccles responded straight from the restart with a second successful penalty goal kicked by Swain, awarded in the middle of the pitch for not releasing; 6-7.  At 30 minutes the Eccles forwards had the Hawcoat defence on the ropes inside their 22 but were unable to break through the try-line bockade using Sean Griffin’s grid.  Having soaked up this pressure Hawcoat Park were to finish the first half the stronger. At 35 minutes, another counter attack break through the centre looked certain to end in a second try for the visitors, when a last ditch tackle from Chris Fortune halted the grounding and the ball was ruled to be ‘held up’ under a pile of bodies by the referee.  The last act of the first half was a 30-metre Hawcoat penalty goal to regain their 4-point lead at the break. HT 6-10.

Eccles started the second half with more belief and determination. Hawcoat’s previously impenetrable defence began to crumble under pressure and for 20 minutes Eccles dominated attacking possession and asserted authority over the game. With 49 minutes played, a sequence of scrums on the right flank 10 metres out, lead to a tap penalty from which Captain Nick Spooner smashed through tacklers to score to the right of the posts to put Eccles narrowly ahead; 11-10. Six minutes later, play is stretched out wide by Eccles, and Chris Fortune crashes over to score a try to the left of the posts; 16-10. The third Eccles try on 60 minutes came from Fly-Half Swain who swerved his opponent to break clean through and offload to supporting centre Fortune, who out paced the defence on the right to score his second try; 21-10. Non of these tries were converted but with 10 minutes left to play Eccles looked comfortably in control.

Somehow, through hurried decisions and unnecessary penalties managed to invite Hawcoat back into the match.  At 73 minutes Hawcoat took a clean line-out catch and got their maul driving for the line, resulting in an unstoppable try out wide putting the score at 21-15. Following the restart Eccles fail to keep play in the opposition half and gifted an opportunity to the visitors to utilise their effective line out again from an almost identical position. With ‘last play’ indicated by the referee, Hawcoat repeated their driving maul, which collapsed, but their tighthead prop takes a crash ball and to his credit forces his way through the packed Eccles defence to score under the posts; the Fly-Half calmly kicks the conversation to claim the one point victory.  Hands to heads. FT Final score 21-22.

This result lifts Hawcoat Park out of the relegation pit and sees Eccles sink into it. 8 games to go. Time to start Tom Dick and Harry


  1. S Griffin
  2. S Baines
  3. D McManus
  4. N Spooner (c)
  5. P Lillie
  6. G Cahill
  7. G Wilson
  8. S Sarno
  9. S Long
  10. M Swain
  11. W Parkinson
  12. C Fortune
  13. G Ackers-Johnson
  14. M Shaw
  15. F Oakey
  16. W Rowlands
  17. J Bromley
  18. B McCall