Eccles 4th 5 v Burnage 4th 15 21/12/2013

The fourths had a rearranged league fixture as a warm up for Christmas and had a decent squad with strength in the forwards and pace in the a slightly unbalanced position wise backline whilst the visitors boasted a large pwerful squad meaning it was going to be an interesting afternoon. Burnage made the early running mainly through the forwards and half backs severely testing the home defence who stood up to the challenge with solid tackling . The visitors so dominated possession in the opening 25 minutes that Eccles only managed to penetrate their opponents half twice but the match remained scoreless for that period due to the resilient defence in midfield area and Burnage’s inability to conytrol the ball when they threw it wide. Eccles did have a couple of long range forays but these chances withered due a poor final pass but then a passage of play saw them up to the visitors line and wily forward Steve Dore was on hand to plunge over .This was enough to see Eccles 5-0 ahead of the bemused Burnage team at the interval but a penalty soon after the restart saw them reduce the arrears. Burnage continued to have more of the play but was an Eccles error which saw the visitors snatch the lead whan a breakout from within the Eccles 22 was dropped and Burnage turned this chance into a try. Mike Rothwell had a long mazy run somehow evading numerous tacklers before being stopped with line coming into sight. The visitors then had a slice of good fortune as a punt upfield took a wicked bounce eluding the defence straight into hands of the Burnage wing who raced away for what proved to the decisive score. Eccles fielding debutant Mike Gregory on the wing put a splendid show especially in the first half whilst the second half was a scrappy affair with little evidence of the festive spirit .Burnage merited the win which could have been greater but for the tackling efforts of centre and man of the match Craig Wells. The Christmas pudding award goes Gary Hamer who caught a ball in the open thought he heard a shout from a teammate so passed perfectly fiteen metres to an opponent!!! – a first is it did not bounce once with a collegue ? remarking post match it was the finest pass of his career though Gary did redeem himself as a trombone player with the Eccles brass band for Christmas carols in the clubhouse afterwards . Paul Newton was lucky to escape that dubious award as Stuart Smith was eager to see him nominated for when Smithy leapt for quick throw at a line out thinking Paul was supporting rapidly realised as instead of soaring to the heavens
he was ploughing the turf that he was turkey without a parachute.
So merry Christmas and best wishes to all the motley crew of the fourths for the New Year where there are sure to be more fun and frolics as some will bask in the glory of the moment whilst others will suffer the pain of the bubble burst.