First XV 20-20 Keswick

Eccles failed to get their season off to the start they wanted after ill discipline and mistakes aplenty blew an early lead, resulting in them being lucky to claim a draw in the end.

The game started well enough with the home side looking dangerous in the set piece and with ball in hand. But their upper hand couldn’t be turned into points due to silly mistakes being made in the red zone. Regardless they continued to apply pressure and appeared to be in full control when James Wright touched down a nice handling move. There could and should have been more scores for Eccles but the penalties that plagued them all day were the next reason for the scoreboard to move as Keswick put on three points just before half time, 5-3 at the break.

Eccles started the second half similar to the start of the game and soon found themselves in the ascendancy. First James Wright nudged a penalty over from in front of the posts to extend the lead, then Joe Dale touched down from the back of the scrum to make it 13-3.

It was at this point that things started to go wrong. Nick Spooner was shown a yellow card for lashing out after being obstructed in a maul. With Eccles a man down Keswick were able to work an overlap out wide and touch the ball down close to the posts. With the conversion going over it was 13-10. Eccles were back up to a full complement for just a couple of minutes before Sam Vincent was harshly shown a yellow card for kicking at a ball that was clearly out of the ruck. Keswick kicked the penalty and the scores were level.

Eccles were struggling to maintain possession and every time they lost the ball it was soon followed by the concession of a penalty, allowing the ball to be moved up the field without much effort. Two missed tackles later Keswick were over and converted again to lead 20-13.

It seemed that Eccles had thrown it all away, but with time running out they remembered how to play rugby and mounted some pressure of their own. After what appeared to have been a penalty try was turned down Greg Wilson managed to force his way over to bring the scores back within two. James Wright slotted the pressure kick to tie things up again. Eccles even had the chance to pinch it at the death when Keswick conceded a last play penalty but Wright’s kick drifted agonizingly wide of the posts.

Two (or possibly three) points dropped for Eccles in a game they definitely should have won. They’ll hope to set things right on Saturday as they welcome newly promoted Hawcoat Park to Gorton Street for a 15.00 kick off.