The thirds maintained their title challenge with a hard fought victory in unseasonal cold and wintry conditions needing all thier team spirit to stay top of the table.Eccles had the best of early part of the match which already promised to be a bruising encounter and it was their ability to turn oppotunities into tries that gave them the edge. A neat exchange of passes saw centre Nick Nageman weave through the visitors defence for the opening try .Forward Danny Hollowood soon added a second charging through after wonderful backing up play as each tackled player succesfully offloaded the ball his supporting men. Ryan Chattington fielded a kick and used his pace to outflank the defence and slide in at the corner to give Eccles a seeming measure of control .However the visitors were not out of it and proceeded to test the up to now secure home defence who had been distracted by a number of decisions not going their way. The pressure eventualy told as the big Shawe no 8 barged over for the visitors with second try from a close range penalty causing consternation in the home ranks but Eccles managed to reach half time 15-12 ahead. The second half proved as tough as the first but once more Eccles turned visitor possession into tries for themselves.The first early in the half with flanker Adam Austin who vied for match on the match with prop Jacob Henderson seizing Shawe ball at a ruck to find a gap and plough through their defence to touchdown. The second from deep within their own half as a Shawe fumble was quickly and rather magically swept wide to Hageman who raced 40 metres outpacing the defence to touchdown and Thompson eventually mastered the blustery conditions to add the conversion.The rest of the half played in inreasngly bleak weather was testament to the resolve of Eccles defence who prevented the visitors from breaching their line despite a constant battering of attacks. Another great effort from team which despite a blip in latter stages of the first half again showed the collective spirit of the squad.Dave Bates seemed to have a running chat with the referee either about decisions made or how to address a duke and it was suggested thatin future he should keep a pie in pocket and have a quick chomp when feels the verbals coming on. Skipper Gary Hamer alias Lord of the rings also incurred the displeasure of the arbiter for an excess of bling but kept the team on song with his usual wily cunning.