In the changing rooms before the game the talk was about starting strongly and not allowing their opponents in the door. Eccles decided to interpret that instruction quite liberally, as, due to mistakes in the scrum, line-out and kicking departments, they spent the first 20 minutes of the game defending their own line. But despite Blackburn throwing their entire playbook at the Eccles line all they had to show for it was three points from the penalty boot. This stand from the home team took a lot out of their guests and perhaps achieved what was wanted before the game, although I wouldn’t recommend trying it again.
Almost immediately from the restart Eccles looked more like their normal selves. Pressure was mounted on the Blackburn line, and when they decided to bring the scrum down (a scrum they were less than complimentary about a few moments earlier) a penalty try was awarded which Lee Robson converted. A few minutes later Eccles were back in similar position. This time it was the driving maul causing the visitors problems which allowed Sam Simpson to peel off the back and cross for his sixth of the season. The hosts looked to be taking control of the game now but a lack of discipline again proved costly and Blackburn added another penalty to make the half-time score 12-6.
With everything still to play for Blackburn were reinvigorated for the second half. They came out strongly and caused another penalty to be conceded which reduced the deficit to three. But as in the first half this poke served to awake the Eccles team from their half time slumber. There was time for Glen Cahill to do his weekly cock up while the rest of the pack pushed over (fifth time this season), before being rewarded with a second attempt which this time he touched down. Robson added the extras and Eccles were back in control.
A few minutes later, following some excellent expansive play, Cahill was able to dive over from a yard out for his second of the day, and to seal a well-earned bonus point. Once again the extras were added. Before the day was over special guest Adam Wilkinson managed to get his name on the score sheet by finishing off some good support play. Lee Robson added one more kick to make the final score 33-9.
With four wins out of five since Christmas, Eccles are now sitting pretty in second place in the league. With another home game next week, against Littleborough, Eccles will be looking to keep the momentum going in their pursuit of a promotion play-off spot.