Eccles 3rd 29 v Ashton U Lyne 2nd 0 03/09/2016

Reinstated in the league the 3rds triumphed in the persistent rain to overcome visitors Ashton in the opening fixture in division 5 East.The majority of the 21 man squad under the leadership of new captain (okay he has done it as few times before) Gary Hamer were 3rd team regulars or survivors of the 4th team pirates from last seasons travails with 3 debutants ,a couple of transients Scott Pears (before he slopes back to uni at Loughborough) Pete Jones (going to Lappland for his training before taking up his duties as Father Christmas in the frozen North  plus Shaun Barlow back from his sabbatical with the Cheshire Set though I do  not recall seeing him in that housewives show on the t v he may have been lurking in the background for he has shed 3 stone of timber since last seen.The team got off to the best possible start their kick off saw Ashton knock on with resultant scrum just outside the 10 metre line being uncontested due to the visitors lack of a full front row and so it was ball in ball out pass to centre Pete Heseltine  a parting of the Red Sea in the Ashton defence and Pete racing through the yawning gap to touchdown with Carl Wilkinson hitting the post with conversion .So buoyed with success so early Eccles settled in to pressure the visitors with a variety of plays eventually reaping reward with a fine break from centre Pete Jones who fed Craig Wells who combined with supporting players to find Heseltine who finished  off the the move with another try with this time Wilkie landing the conversion.The thirds continued to have the upper hand giving Ashton few chances and added a further try after fine intrerplay with Sam Thompson scoring in the corner to lead 17-0 at the interval. Ashton came roaring out of the blocks at the start of the second half and put the home line under pressure for 10-15 minutes going very close to scoring in the corner but Eccles doused the fire of the increasingly riled opponents .A yellow card for the Ashton lock forward for a high tackle (a swinging arm seemed to be his modus operandi  be it ruck maul or tackle even when he came back on after his time in the bin) helped the home cause even more as Eccles regained the initiative . Scott Pears who had annoyed the visitors by stopping their scrum half from breaking through then picking him up and carrying him back 15 metres to deposit him gently to terra firma oh his feet powered in to score and put the thirds firmly on the road to victory despite the missed conversion from Jones.No sooner had the first yellow card elapsed but a second was issued to another Ashton forward for dangerous hauling down in the line out the miscreant lucky not to see red.A fine move which through a number of hands saw hooker Andy Davies finish off in the corner with Twiggy landing the conversion from the touchline.A good start for the thirds who defended very well were enterprising and organised in their attacking despite the drizzly conditions. Over elaboration caused missed chances and ring rustiness was obvious especially in the middle portion of the second resembled a volleyball game but skipper Gary was well pleased despite playing most of the match together with one of several other Eccles  players for the opposition who had arrived two men short.The man of the match (an unnamed award as yet) which could have gone to any number of players went by narrow margin to Pete Jones though I was amused by the comment of the opposition when took that missed conversion why a prop was taking the kick. No duffer of the match this week as all were up to the mark and well above in most cases  although Pete ‘s conversion was tempting the pencil is not yet been sharpened