After a series of three straight wins, the 2nd XV travelled away to Bolton with high hopes of recording a fourth, given that they were coming off a thumping 80-0 win and their opponents a 61-0 defeat. However, this was not to be the case and they came crashing back down to Earth quicker than Felix Baumgartner.
The game started promisingly for Eccles, playing in what have so far been their lucky red shirts, as Bolton were swiftly reduced to 14 men following a yellow card for foul play. After a subsequent period of sustained pressure and a number penalty kicks to touch, Eccles took the lead, with Jimmy slotting a penalty.
However, a failure to capitalise further on the numerical advantage came back to haunt Eccles and shortly after returning to the full 15 men, Bolton drove a tap penalty over from close range to take a 7-3 lead. In a seemingly tit for tat penalty giving competition, Eccles struck back next, with another three points coming off the boot of Jimmy McGuigan before another bout of indiscipline allowed Bolton to extend their lead to 10-6. Towards the end of the half following another Eccles penalty, James ‘Im in the pocket’ Wright attempted to get in on the act with a drop goal from just inside the 22m line which inexplicably fell short of the posts, leaving the half time score 10-9 to Bolton.
Almost nothing of note happened in the second half, the constant sound of the referee’s whistle meant that very little actual rugby was played and having forgotten everything about communication, support and game plans, Eccles were left to taste defeat in what several players referred to as the worst game of rugby they have ever been involved in.
Improvements must be made before a tough game against local rivals De Le Salle on Saturday, and they start at training tonight and continue on Wednesday.