A later than usual kick off, but it was nice to welcome back something like a full strength squad, albeit with the usual couple of absentees through injury and illness. It was good to see forwards in the forward line and backs in the backline, it makes all the difference, we could even call upon a couple of replacements today.
In Eccles’ first clash with Newcastle, the boys were 21-0 down before they woke up, and today Newcastle were again straight on the offensive, all too easily getting close to the Eccles line. However, today the lads defended manfully not allowing an inch of space for Newcastle to break through, eventually turning over the ball for wing Joel to make a tremendous break out of defence, running the length of the pitch, being stopped just short of the Newcastle line, No.8 Wes had backed up brilliantly allowing Joel to offload to him and finish off in the corner. 5-0.
Eccles were looking much better than they had done in the last few weeks, playing a much more confident brand of rugby, their dominance at every aspect of the game should have been even greater but the rising penalty count for technical offences kept pinning them back.
Another great move in the middle of the park saw newly converted forward Jack break free to go over for another try in the corner as Eccles managed to convert their dominance into points. 10-0. Newcastle were finding it increasingly difficult to put any plays together with every Eccles player tackling fantastically well. The forward play today was impressive with the ball being turned over on a number of occasions. 10-0 at HT.
With the boys looking confident in their own and their team mates abilities and also more relaxed to be playing in their own positions, Eccles began to put together some fantastic moves through the backs, Darragh at fly half was mixing up the game very well, playing through hands and also putting in some great kicks into the spaces turning the Newcastle defence. Cammy at full back was also in impressive form with his jinking runs putting Eccles in some great positions from which to launch an attack.
Another platform had been built by the forwards near the Newcastle line, the ball eventually coming out to the backs whose handling saw them go from one side of the pitch to the other to be finished off skilfully by Joel in the corner. 15-0.
Newcastle were certainly not giving up without a fight and continued to come forward, only to be met every time by a solid defence. In one good Newcastle move the ball was kicked through the middle with a Newcastle back seemingly through, only for Cammy to meet the ball full on with a volley clearing the ball way up field, wing Jack was away, himself kicking the ball forward across the try line and winning the race to ball to make it 20-0.
A penalty under the posts for Nathan made it 23-0. A clean sheet would have been nice but a late penalty was awarded to Newcastle who decided they wanted some points on the board to make it 23-3.
All in all it was a very good, high energy win for Eccles. All 17 players put in fine performances today from the hard working, tireless forwards to the skilful quick backs. A great afternoon’s entertainment.