Eccles 2XV welcomed Burnage to Gorton Street for the final preseason game of the summer. With a strong team turning out, bolstered by several third teamers including Shaun Barlow, who was called upon at the eleventh hour, and some First team faces, Eccles were intent on starting well and implementing those things worked on all summer.
With the forwards working well in pods and keeping to a direct style of running, they were able to provide the backs with a plentiful supply of quick ball, which in turn was well distributed by Tom Wilson and Carl Wilkinson to those outside, and Martin Thompson, Nic Hageman, Ryan Chattington, Matt Parkinson and Tom Othick were incessant with their support running, not allowing the defence to settle.
With Eccles also strong in the set piece, Simon Donovan took advantage of some hesitation in the Burnage lineout to cross for the first of his brace and Ryan Chattington applied pressure on his opposite man to give Eccles a well deserved half time lead.
Following a number of changes in the second half there was more of the same, with Danny Holland twice releasing Martin Thompson, scoring one and setting Lewis Wilkinson up for what should have been a simple finish. How Lewis contrived to get held up short I don’t know, he was subbed shortly afterwards to spare his blushes. Shortly after, the home fans were left rubbing their eyes in disbelief as the tiny frame of Danny Nic ran out for his first competitive rugby in years and despite the best efforts of certain forwards, he managed to defy the odds to come out unscathed, managing to set Matt Parkinson up for the final score of the day.
After a very impressive performance in which the likes of Rich Owen, Alex Pugh and Danny Robinson provided the ‘go forward’ complemented by a number of great performances at the breakdown allowed the backs to shine, the bar has now been set, with the challenge now being to keep raising that level every week, starting with the first league fixture away at Leigh this Saturday.