Eccles 4th 26 v Manchester 3rd 7 13/09/2014

The second match of the season and the fourths bagged their first win which may have been a surprise but more so to the visitors Manchester who looked supremely confident during their warm up. Eccles started with a couple of debutants novice Anthony McNally on the wing and junior coach Sean McGrath(another beardie must a cunning plan from the skipper) at prop.The fourths had more of the possession in the early stages but had to be on top of their defensive duties as Manchester had some ” big lads ” in the pack.Eccles varied their tactics sometimes probing through the forwards or switching to spreading the ball wide where winger Tom Rose had a few long runs.Twenty minutes in the fourths found a way through with flanker Kris Whitehead speeding over for the first try which Jordan Bromley converted.The visitors continued to concentrate on their heavyweight strategy but met with solid first up tackles from flankers Whitehead and Smith and even when not stopped in their tracks found progress stifled by equal resistance from the rest of the team.Eccles made a couple of interchanges debutant Mark Plumbridge( moved up from Wiltshire recently and turned up on “spec”with kit in boot to see what was occurring and immediately roped in) coming for a man of the man of match performance
with his direct running at centre and Slovak Peter Cibula in the forwards coming back after time in the wilderness to build up his match fitness . Just as half time was looming stand off Jordan Bromley shrugged of a tackle to find a gap and step the fullback !!!! to score under the posts and then add the extras.The second half saw Eccles off to a flyer as a ball stolen from a line out in their own half the ball was passed along the line out to the far wing and kept alive back into mid field with centre Mike Lewin finishing off a fine move. Bromley converted to leave the fourths sitting pretty but having to play full out in defence to prevent their opponents from gaining a toehold in the match.Whilst both try lines were threatened they could not be breached until the latter stages when Eccles held up short were awarded a penalty and quick thinking from second row Sean Barlow (true sure I did not imagine it)saw him tap and go but held short of the line but Whitehead backing up drove low to score in the corner. The only disappointment was a missed tackle in the last minute which allowed Manchester to score under the posts.A superb team display a testament to team play rather than individual glory . As postscript Tony Hudson managed to break his hand .