Eccles v Rossendale 43-6
As the forecasted frost that threatened to call off the match didn’t materialise Rossendale and a good number of their followers received a warm welcome on Sunday at Gorton Street.
Eccles had a number of their own supporters on the touch line including Keaton who despite being injured was a willing (but frustrated) linesman.
Play started with the kick off from Rossendale which was calmly collected by Wes who off loaded to Jordan but due to a handling mishap resulted in Eccles having to switch quickly to defence and the ref blowing for the first penalty of the match against Eccles which was converted taking it 0-3 to the visitors and after only 3 minutes of the match being played.
Rossendale seemed to sense a chance to increase the lead and a chance to pay back Eccles for the heavy defeat they suffered last season and soon were on the attack which only ended by a fortunate penalty being awarded to Eccles, which Jack made the most of gaining a good 50 meters down the line to relieve the pressure.
Dean F and Goso were on form at the next line out gaining possession which resulted in another attack involving Jack, Nathan and Cammie finally passing to Joel, where play broke down and required Wes who then had to put in a strong tackle to prevent Ross from progressing down the field .
As Rossendale gained possession Jordan and Stephen responded quickly with some really strong tackles cancelling out their attack, then Stephen was up and straight back in with another of his trademark wipe out tackles, followed by Nathan who was unfortunately penalised for what could been described as unfortunate where through the refs eyes he was seen not to return the tackled player down to the ground safely.
The early 3 points to Rossedale seemed to have given them the upper hand and their confidence was up whilst Eccles seemed to be very slow off the mark and appeared to be half asleep and frustratingly perhaps being too competitive when contesting possession and continually being penalised and giving away possession.
But then things suddenly started to change Wes broke from the scrum feeding to Jack who quick as a flash was with him setting off on one of his brilliant jinking runs, weaving round , through the defence and over the line, beating 5 players in the process for a really good try. Nathan did not manage to convert making the score 5 -3 but the lads seemed to be interested now.
Rossendale came back with an attack which was stopped by Paddy clearing the way for the forwards to pile in , but again perhaps with too much commitment as Bob incurred another penalty which was converted making the score 5-6.
Play restarted (after Lewis had completed his dog patrol duties) and Paddy was off on a gallop with Bob dashing as fast as his little legs would take him in a bid to keep up and receive the pass and then keep the move alive with a wonderful offload back to Paddy for him to crash over the line to score. Jack completed the conversion taking the game to 12- 6.
Eccles were looking more switched on with the backs getting plenty of ball, then Wes got hold of the ball and went on a really good run of his own, passing to Stephen who fancied a go at run too, pressure was building as Eccles heads were up and looking to gain more ground and as they moved into Rossendale half. Wiggi managed to secure the ball and passed the ball to Danny Wilson who came through on the burst, with Paddy at hand to off load to they were looking pretty unstoppable which proved to be the case when Nathan completed to final move by going over the line. Jacks conversion safely over it was now 19 – 6
The first half came to a close after Eccles gave a way another silly penalty which Rossendale failed to capitalize on.
The 2nd half started with Eccles gaining possession but fumbling the ball , leading to another scrum were Wes was quick off the mark with the ball again but despite his efforts he didn t quite make the line, so Rossendale decided to have a go at kicking to get out of the danger zone , but Danny Wilson had other ideas as he collected the ball and broke through the defence , straight down the middle of the pitch, making ground with a number of their defenders trying to take him down, he didn’t quite make the line this time but you could just tell he would be back later to have another go.
Goso won the ball at the next line out, handing over to Paddy onto Jack , then he went on a run himself , all the Eccles lads were looking to create breaks and dominating play , although Eccles were applying the pressure with a spell of attacking play from Danny Wilson, Cammie and Nathan running into the defence , they seemed to keep running straight into contact and failing to attack the space! However Calm Cammy using his head flung out a really long pass over a couple of players heads direct to Wes on the far side of the pitch who linked up with Paddy who steamed over by the flag for another try 24-6 however no conversion this time.
Eccles backs were on a roll and continued to create opportunities until the ref intervened to have a chat with Danny Wilson and one of his opponents, resulting in a scrum which Eccles won ,with the ball out to Joel and Jack who were troubling the defence . They couldn’t contain Jack who was bobbing and weaving around players as if it they weren’t there, generously off loading to Paddy for him to go over the line again, no conversion 29-6
Daniel Smithin who had been holding the defence with some demon tackles came off and Jordan was put on the wing for his first game of Rugby Union. A further spell of attacking play Eccles saw hold their nerve and had the ball passing down the line to Wes who ended up one on one on the wing to throw the most and I quote Danny & Matt” outrageous SBW dummy” leaving the defender literally flat on his face, zipping round him to go over in spectacular style for what was definitely the try of the match and additional bonus points for the loudest applause and laughs from the supporters all season. Jack converted nicely taking the score to 36 -6
Eccles were still looking keen and hungry for more points, Ivan was soon off on the far side wing looking for a try but was unfortunately yellow carded for handing off the defender with a hand off which was classed as being too high (however in a court of law it could be argued that with the guy he handed off only being 2’6 tall how could he have done anything else!) Play resumed with a scrum which Eccles won then started a scramble for the line with the forwards threatening and looking dangerous and everyone in the line looking for the break in defence. Then in an instant it was there! Danny Wilson switched on the after burners and after being stopped supported by his team mates drove over the line for the final try and conversion of the match 43- 6.
Mums view – good to see the lads back in winning form, the first half seemed closely contested and could have gone either way but once Eccles got themselves together they maintained their form and discipline despite incurring numerous penalties, the backs keeping an eye out for the chances and the forwards maintaining the momentum of a relentless attack finally wore Rossendale down which was reflected in the final score. Well done lads.