Apologies for the lack of match report last week, Gareth Lewis was all set to fill in for me but had to run in the 3.30 at Kempton so was unable to write one.
Onto the match then as this week Eccles travelled to Wigan for the first of two games against them over the next fortnight. Typically, things started chaotically, with many taking the 1215 meet time as a suggestion rather than a fact. Things didn’t get any better, with James, Danny, Lee and Jordan firstly breaking down en route, then getting Wigan confused with Bolton meaning that not only were they late in getting to the ground, but more importantly, so was the kit.
After the referee and our hosts kindly agreed to delay kick-off, Eccles set out to start strongly and not allow circumstances to gift Wigan an easy ride. On a massive pitch, the early territory was controlled by the boots of James Wright and Scott Morton and aside from an early home penalty; things were very much in the balance, with strong running and tackling from both sides setting the tone.
However, on the half hour mark, some smart interplay in the backline set Tom ‘Morgan Parra’ Othick racing to the corner, to be denied personal glory by a high tackle and a penalty try, converted by James Wright.
Unfortunately, the half time break also meant a break in concentration for what had so far been a well organised Eccles defence, and Wigan swiftly crossed for their first try of the game, followed shortly by their second and third which opened up a significant gap at 18-7.
Injuries to Kev Fitzgerald, Sandy Brunt and Dec O’Regan, on top of the loss of Matt Parkinson in the opening minutes could have left Eccles broken. However, in a fantastic show of resilience, Eccles once again surged forward, with concerted pressure resulting in Fatneck powering over to bring the scores to 18-12 and despite the onset of snow and several walking wounded, the comeback was on.
Eccles crossed again, Scott Morton crossing after some flowing passing and with the game poised at 18-17, Eccles went into all out attack, but were caught on the counter by Wigan, their speedy wingers twice racing through to leave the final score at 28-17.
To further rub salt in the wounds, after the final whistle; Alex Brinnington, fresh off another great performance at 13, took a tumble coming out of the bath as is so often the case with the elderly and now we can only hope he doesn’t need a hip replacement.
Thanks this week to Kev Fitzgerald, Scott Morton, Lee Morris and Danny Mac for stepping in to help out with some great performances, with the senior squad missing a number of players across the board these contributions were well appreciated.