Eccles 2XV vs Bolton 2XV 11-8

After a close and frustrating defeat away to Bolton earlier in the year, Eccles had targeted this fixture as a must win in order to keep pace with the teams at the top.  It was always going to be another tight affair and the importance of targeting the strong Bolton backline early was stressed in the pre-game preparations.

Eccles started brightly, with a plenty of territory and possession and an early choice to kick to the corner very nearly paid off, only for the driving Eccles forwards to fall just short of the line.

Big improvements in the organisation of the pack in the loose, and the defensive line speed meant that the first half was characterised by some thunderous hits from both sides, particularly Andrew Maddocks and Matt Nombella.

The half drew to a close, with Bolton having scored the games only try up to then, having crossed midway through the period from the back of a scrum.

Into the second and once again, Eccles were on the march, bolstered by impressive displays in the scrum with Fatneck and Huw Ohri causing problems for their opposite men all day long. The lineout was also much improved with Pete Lillie and Dec O’Regan getting up well, and Dave Roper even managing a throw to the back of the line.

Having soaked up a period of sustained Bolton pressure, some well marshalled pressure in the centres from Matt and James Wright, who has found a new physicality (for him) in 2013 caused Bolton to spill the ball at the feet of Matt Parkinson, who kicked ahead and dribbled 80 metres for the score and an 11-8 lead.

With five minutes to go, Eccles were determined not to let this one slip away, and some resolute defending (including a try saver from Alex Brinnington) coupled with several key turnovers meant that they held on for their closest win of the season and were able to consolidate league position.