Fourth XV 20 vs. Tydesley 3rds 7, 03/10/2014

The fourths recorded a fourth successive victory to stay level with Manchester on league points but slip to second in table by on scoring points difference (just by one point) . The away fixture at Bongs is always tight affair and the persistent morning rain promised an afternoon of dour forward grind but the heavens relented to present an almost perfect day albeit with stiff breeze which with an excellent pitch resulted in a game which still forward dominated allowed the three quarters scope to express themselves.

Truth be told the first half was a bit of a mishmash with play concentrated in the middle of field though the home side had much the better of  the scoring chances.Eccles were their own worst enemies rushing the play ,choosing the wrong options ,executing poorly and conceding two many penalties.It was the latter the opened the door for Tydesley a succession of four penalties (the first an outrageous feed at the scrum from Danny Rice probably distracted by the glare  from prop Billy Borret’s pure white boots) which saw them go from the halfway line back to near their own line and the home side capitalised scoring under the posts after a scrum down.Minutes from half time Eccles finally mounted some sustained pressure on the home line and it was Bongs who transgressed but the fourths ignored the chance of three points from the penalties to press for a try and were rewared when forward Andy Coop used his not inconsiderable mass to plunge over .To be 7-5 behind at the interval was probably more then Eccles deserved but it served a great morale booster as the second half transformation proved.

Moving the ball quicker from the breakdowns prevented the opposition from slowing down play allowing runners to come onto the ball punching holes in the home line  and with better back up fragmenting their defensive set up. Having good possession saw the forwards lay a platform for the backs to break down the left wing where the ball came to centre Mike Lewin who though seemingly hemmed in mazed his way through the defenders to score.Eccles added to this score with undoubted try of the match with a forward drive with all of the pack involved of at least 25 metres which their opponents were unable to resist and Declan O’Reagan was at the bottom of the heap to claim the try.Though now on top the fourths had to contend with the loss of Mike Lewin into the sin bin for “undiplomatically “questioning a refereeing decision obviously oblivious that “sir” is the sole arbiter of fact .Nonetheless though a man short Eccles bagged a fourth try a splendid try with
dizzing array of forward drives which evergreen forward was involved a least thrice and even full back James Bushby back from another long term injury joined in this forward move which ended with Craig Belsen striding through for the touchdown. Tydesley rallied seeking a way back but the fourths defence were holding firm though with couple of alarms and it was whilst on counter from one such attack that Andy Coop went ariel as he was lifted and speared( accidently we think) but the perpetrator was yellow carded for his sins and no doubt suffered a double hernia. Andy was heard to comment that he not been that high since his youth though did not venture if was some legal or not. A spendid win in the end even if took time for the team to get their act together with the forwards really working as unit in the second period so it was fitting one them had to claim man of the match now officially called the Jolly Roger pennant .O’Reagan, Colm Leith, Dore and
Andy Wareing were in the running but Belsen got the nod. The backs with winger Mike Jorday making his debut getting a studded hand for his pains were solid in defence especially Bushby at fullback with Lewin and Sam Delaney lively in attack. The Blind Pugh award (formerly the muffin of the match now consigned to the breadbin of history) went to the skipper  Paul Newton for a glaring fumble which no one could miss at an attempted quick line which must have a been the result of dodgy knee syndrome
attacking his mitts.